by Derrenmatts Here's the scenario. You are Danny Ainge and David Stern is at the podium in front of a wild Sacaucas, NY crowd for the 2007 Draft. You have been awarded the 1st overall pick, courtesy of the ping pong balls falling your way. The million dollar question is this: Will it be Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?
Both are going to be stars in the NBA for years to come. Both are franchise type players who will be among the NBA's premiere players. Either one you take, you will be assured of getting a high caliber player added to your team who will pay dividends in the very near future.
But take your time and weigh your options because this is a very crucial judgment pick. More than any other time in recent memory, these are two future heavy weights who will change the dynamics of your team and possibly set a new course of travel.
If I can slip into Danny's role in this scenario, I'm taking Oden without another thought. No doubt about it. No second guessing myself. No monday morning quarterbacking for me. I will make this pick and stick with it. This is not Joe Dumars taking Darko Milicic with the 2nd pick instead of going for Carmelo Anthony (though I still claim that Darko will turn heads, and possibly soon). This is taking a long awaited golden child who plays at premium position that is arguably the least star filled.
Kevin Durant is an incredible player and there's little doubt that he won't be a big star. He may actually attain a higher level of success faster than Oden because 6'9" SF's with his height and wingspan and shooting ability don't really exist. He may be a 20 ppg scorer right off the bat if he plays for a team that allows him the freedom to take shots at will. But offensive minded SF's aren't necessary ingredients to build a championship team around. Look at any championship team in the past 2 decades and you will see that the common denominator for nearly all of them is who they have playing in the trenches (the Bulls being the exception). High caliber big men are the X-factors in the equation--and for this reason alone, I would take Greg Oden.
But there are other reasons. Take a look at our team and you'll see that, when healthy, we don't need any more offense, and we especially don't need more offense from our wings. We have Pierce--one of the league's top scorers, Sczcerbiak--a solid midlevel scorer, Green--a potentially high powered scorer, Delonte--a solid role scorer, Gomes--a tweener who is expanding his range out to the 3pt arc, Allan Ray--a sleeper candidate for offense off the bench, and the dark horse player of them all; Tony Allen. If he can make a successful comeback from his dramatic knee injury and return to the form he was at before going down, we may have our starting SG already pegged (with either Pierce or Green starting at SF). We aren't desperate for more offense at the wings.
Another reason is that wing players are easier to find than big men. Generally, if wing players can knock down open jumpers, your team is in good shape. You don't need to have great offensive wing players taking 25 shots per game to have aspirations of a championship title. But having standout big men is important--maybe even vital.
Kendrick Perkins is currently our hope for our future Center position. He's strong, got a rugged body that likes to get rough, and he doesn't mind messing it up in the trenches. But he's not a complete Center--he leaves things to be desired. I am not bashing on him, but hoping for an upgrade at Center is not a bad thing. Greg Oden will open our eyes and show us what we've been missing. He's got potential on both ends of the court (of course, much more on the defensive end).
Jefferson gives us an advantage at PF versus most teams. Pierce gives us an advantage at SF/SG versus most teams. Rajon is emerging as a difficult PG to contain, and in time, he should give us an advantage as well. Our bench has a lot of quality parts and could become one of the league's best--if not the deepest. Our best bet to pencil in our next Dynasty will be to land Oden and let him dominate the Center position. That would be the final piece that collapses the scale in our favor.
I think Danny really likes Durant, but if Oden is on the board, you HAVE to take him. Durant will give you another "take-over-the-game" type scorer to put around Paul and Al, but it still would make us too "small-ballish" and a little soft.
With Oden added to our team, because of his game changing defense, toughness, and rebounding, we become instant Eastern Conference Title contenders, NEXT YEAR.
A future of: Oden Big Al Pierce Green/Allen Rondo/West