The 2003 NBA Draft is one of the greatest draft class of all time. Theres many notable players such as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. All 4 of those players will most likely be HOF's but by the end of the 2003-2004 season there were two main candidates for ROY, Melo and LeBron.
Melo was drafted with the third pick to the Denver Nuggets out of Syracuse. As a rookie, he led his team to a 43-39 record placing 8th in the western conference. He put up great numbers scoring 21 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 42% shooting. He led the team in scoring as well.Andre Miller was the only other reliable player that could shoot the ball and facilitate (14.8 PPG and 6.1 APG). They had one major defensive presence in Marcus Camby who averaged 10.1 assits and 2.6 blocks. Melo took a 17-win 02-03 Nuggets to the playoffs as a rookie.
LeBron as most of us know went straight from Saint Vincent-Saint Mary HS. He was drafted 1st overall to the Cavs. LeBron had 3 other players averaging 15+ PPG but they still finished with a mere 39 wins. He averaged 20.9 PPG, 5.9 APG and 5.5 RPG shooting 41% from the field and lead the team in scoring as well.
LeBron had a similar team to Melo as well. Bron had Zyndrunas Ilgauskas to Carmelos Marcus Camby, and had the young up and coming Carlos Boozer to Melos Andre Miller. Yet, even with Big Z and Carlos Boozer putting up better numbers to their respectable nuggets comparison still didnt make the playoffs, in a very weak Eastern Conference.
To put it into perspective, the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference were the 9th seed with 42 wins. If they had played in the East, they would have been tied for the 4th seed.
When you compare Carmelo's stats to LeBron's in his rookie year, he bests him at about everything.
Melo beats him by 0.1 PPG, 0.6 RPG and 0.5 TOV. He shoots more efficiently from 3, and from the free throw line. He also led his team to the playoffs in a tough western conference.
The only real case for LeBron to win it would have been is 20/5/5 season that year. The only other players to average 20/5/5 as a rookie are HOF's Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan.
Both LeBron and Melo played great rookie seasons, but the stats in my eyes show who really deserved the ROY.