Dreams will come true, and hopes will turn into lies. Eyes will be damp, for joy will permeate the soul as sorrow curses under its own breath. Welcome to the annual NBA-Draft. Ever since the LeBron James lottery of 2003, the NBA-Draft has never really hyped up as it should; the draft of the decade did not literally mean a decade, but a long time nonetheless. Four years later, in what is supposed to be another draft of the decade, or rather the Greg Oden lottery, the basketball world faces yet one of the strongest classes of the NBA Draft ever; one which might be talented and skillful enough to be put under the same line as the draft class of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and many more from the 2003 class. The draft which was once known as the Greg Oden lottery, has now turned into an unpredictable contest for the top overall pick; with much regards to the rising Kevin Durant whose value as player sky-rocketed beyond limits during the recently concluded NCAA Tournament. The Greg Oden lottery has evolved into the 'Greg Oden and Kevin Durant lottery'. Once the draft lottery concluded with the last syllables of the number one pick on June 28, Port-land Trail-blazers; millions of suggestions and theories started flooding in all around the world as to whether who was going to be the pick of the decade for the Portland Trailblazers. So who was it going to be, Kevin Durant or Greg Oden?
I'm going to pull a Kobe Bryant here. I for one, suddenly jumped into the conclusion that Greg Oden was a no-brainer. Minutes after the conclusion of the draft lottery, I was notified of the Irish luck that seemingly slipped from the Boston Celtics' fingertips and into the hands of the Trailblazers. Five seconds later, I knew it was Greg Oden. Why not Oden? About 60% of the world also shared the same sentiments as I do. It was only a few days later that I realized of the huge faulting in that certain decision. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop and I had an exchange of e-mails (a message or two) regarding Portland's pick; and with Henry presumably having a part of his heart set in Oregon, he was the perfect person to ask. It was then that I came into a surging revelation: Kevin Durant is the better pick.
What's wrong with getting Greg Oden?
Think about it. If the Portland Trailblazers went with the building momentum of drafting Greg Oden stemming for as long as half a decade of hype, he would just hamper the current line-up too much. With Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge already thriving from their post game, adding Greg Oden into the mix will only clog up the post area. Too many cooks spoil the broth. If all three took the floor at the same time and ran a post-up through one of them, the other two big men will be rendered almost useless aside from the chance that they might grab an offensive board if a shot is missed or score an easy basket if the defense falls asleep on the cut. If they decide not to play all three at the same time, it would just be such a terrible waste of talent. The situation may be deemed similar to the Marbury-Francis dilemma in the Knicks; and it is quite evident as to how well that duo turned out. The three would-be-should-be all-star caliber players will be hampering each other and decrease the team's overall efficiency on the basketball court. There is a big possibility that Zach Randolph might finally be shipped out, but it might be better to keep him until mid-season to see how the team gels together before tossing him off the boat before the trade deadline. Sure, big men rule in the post-season and are almost mandated for winning championships, with regards to the past 9 years of NBA basketball; but Kevin Durant is just the better fit and player for the Trailblazers.
What's so good about Kevin Durant?
What is really good about Kevin Durant is that he is extremely versatile. He can spot himself on top of the key or dwell anywhere around the perimeter. That way, Aldridge (or Randolph if he is not shipped out) can happily post up with the knowledge that his exit strategy, named Durant, is standing somewhere around the perimeter waiting for a kick-out for a wide-open jump-shot or making a powerful cut to the basket for the easy lay-up; as Kevin Durant can definitely hit the long-range shots and is quick and long enough to be a terror on the cut once he gains momentum. Given the case, Kevin Durant, joining the deadly perimeter clique of Roy and Jack, will definitely open the lanes up for Aldridge (or Randolph) which means flourish in their post game. The only problem this poses for the team is the lack of a big and powerful center to contend with the West's juggernauts, namely Tim Duncan and Carlos Boozer. Kevin Durant is a toothpick and will probably match-up with small forwards for this moment; he can still rebound like he used to in college but will have to rely solely on his length and quickness. The most probably solution for this predicament would be to ship out "Mr. Un-coachable" Zach Randolph for a legitimate center. A legitimate center who can not score as much as Randolph does, but rebounds, blocks shots, defends the post well, and score some easy baskets on cuts, put-backs, and wide-open 15-footers; a solid almost-double-double player. Given the scenario: LaMarcus Aldridge can be the team's main post player; Brandon Roy will still be the perennial point guard slash shooting guard; Kevin Durant can thrive from all over the floor given his versatility and skill; Jarrett Jack or someone else for that matter who can be a solid defender, whether 1-on-1 or team defense, as well as hit wide-open three-pointers; and a the solid almost-double-double big man to secure the center position, somebody like a lesser (but harder) Nenad Kristic.
Agree, or disagree? Kevin Pritchard, who still remains secretive says he is still uncertain about his pick for June 28 and refuses to give all but subtle hints about the outcome of draft day, will hold the fruits to one of the biggest decisions of the Portland Trailblazers in over 20 years. Draft day will answer all questions; but for now, my mind is changed: draft Kevin Durant.