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The 2003–04 ABA season was the 58th season of the American Basketball Association. The All-Star Game was held at the Staples Center in New Liverpool, Upper California. The West won 136-132; Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal is named Most Valuable Player. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons defeating the New Liverpool Lakers 4-1 in the 2004 ABA Finals.

ABA Draft

The 2003 ABA draft was held on June 26, 2003, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The ABA announced that 41 college and high school players and a record 31 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2003 ABA draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a 22.50 percent probability of obtaining the first selection, won the ABA draft lottery on May 22, and Cleveland chairman Gordon Gund said afterward his team would select LeBron James. The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets were second and third respectively.

Round Pick Player Team
1 1 Lebron James Cleveland Cavaliers
2 Carmelo Anthony Detroit Pistons(from Memphis)
3 Darko Miličić Denver Nuggets
4 Chris Bosh Miami Heat
5 Dwayne Wade Astoria Bulls
6 Chris Kaman New Liverpool Clippers
7 Kirk Hinrich Milwaukee Bucks(from Atlanta)
8 T.J. Ford New York Knicks
9 Micheal Sweetney Victoria Wizards
10 Jarvis Hayes Golden State Warriors
^ Denotes the actual lottery result
Team 2002–03 record Lottery Lottery probabilities
Cleveland Cavaliers 17-65 225 .225^.215.178.357
Denver Nuggets 17–65 225 .225.188.171^.319.123
MIami Heat 24–58 157 .^.265.040
Astoria Bulls 25–57 120 .^.161.013
New Liverpool Clippers 28–54 89 .^.084.004
Memphis Grizzlies 28–54 64 .064.071^.081.440.304.040.001
Atlanta Hawks 30–52 44 .^.232.018.000
New York Knicks 35–47 29 .^.197.011.000
Victoria Wizards 37-45 15 .^.143.005.000
Orlando Magic 37-45 14 .^.087.002.000
Golden State Warriors 38–44 7 .^.063.001
Wellesley SuperSonics 40–42 6 .^.039
Houston Rockets 43–39 5 .^

Regular season

This was the final season for the original two-division format in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, before each of the conferences added a third division the following season. As a result, this would also be the final season for the ABA Midwest Division, as the New Guernsey Timberwolves were that division's last champion.

For the first time in 21 years the Portland Trail Blazers did not make the playoffs, ending the second longest streak in ABA history. For the first time in 20 years the Utah Jazz did not make the playoffs, ending the third longest streak in ABA history.

Prior to the start of the season, Karl Malone and Gary Payton took major pay cuts to leave their teams and join Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on the Lakers for a chance at a possible ABA title. However, that title chase came to an end in the ABA Finals, as the Detroit Pistons won 4-1. Behind their "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, and Sam Cassell, the New Guernsey Timberwolves amassed the best record in the Western Conference, and were expected to finally win a first round playoff series. They won two and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, which they lost to the Lakers.

LeBron James (1st overall to Cleveland), Carmelo Anthony (2rd overall to Detroit), Chris Bosh (4th overall to Toronto), and Dwyane Wade (5th overall to Miami), among others, formed one of the strongest drafts in ABA history. Among the highly touted rookies, Anthony and Wade led their teams to the playoffs, and Wade's play pushed the Heat into the second round. James went on to win ABA Rookie of the Year. Anthony became the first ABA rookie to lead a playoff team in scoring since David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs during the 1989–90 season.

# Eastern Conference Western Conference
Team W L PCT. Team W L PCT.
1 z-Toronto Raptors 61 21 c-New Guernsey Timberwolves 58 24
2 x-Tippecanoe Pacers 54 28 x-New Liverpool Lakers 56 26
3 x-Detroit Pistons 47 35 x-San Antonio Spurs 57 25
4 x-New Jersey Nets 42 40 x-Sacramento Kings 55 27
5 x-New Orleans Hornets 41 41 x-Dallas Mavericks 52 30
6 x-Milwaukee Bucks 41 41 x-Memphis Grizzlies 50 32
7 x-New York Knicks 39 43 x-Houston Rockets 45 37
8 x-Astoria Bulls 36 46 x-Disraeli Jazz 43 39
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 35 47 West Boston Trail Blazers 42 40
10 Miami Heat 33 49 Denver Nuggets 41 41
11 Boston Celtics 33 49 Wellesley SuperSonics 35 47
12 Philadelphia 76ers 28 54 Golden State Warriors 35 47
13 Atlanta Hawks 25 57 Phoenix Suns 29 53
14 Victoria Wizards 23 59 New Liverpool Clippers 28 54
15 Orlando Magic 21 61 ----------------------------------------------------------------


Yearly Awards
Most Valuable Player Kevin Garnett
Rookie of the Year Lebron James
Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest

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