It is my hope to continue a small tradition of the blog and provide some kind of commentary on tonight’s NBA draft. Conveniently, S. is working, so I’ll have the TV to myself. Inconveniently, we have two kids, so I’ll be DVRing and watching after bedtime, hoping I don’t get interruptions from upstairs. A quick preview seems in order, though.
Oden vs. Durant. It’s not even a question in my mind. Since the Jordan/Bulls era ended, only the 2004 Detroit Pistons have won a championship without a dominating big man, as Shaq and Tim Duncan have split the other eight titles. For all of the talk about the NBA moving away from the power low-post game towards a more run-and-gun style based on versatile wingmen, the best step towards building a contender is still a strong low-post presence. Shaq is about toast. Duncan is at best at his peak, but probably already entering a slow decline. Greg Oden will be THE man in the NBA for the next decade, baring injuries, even if Durant becomes the more exciting player. I think Durant will do fine. But even if Durant becomes a perennial scoring leader and adds 10 boards a night, he’s more Kevin Garnett than Michael Jordan.
Mike Conley will be the big winner in the draft. And I mean Mike Conley Sr, who represents both his son and Oden.
For all the talk of how deep this draft is, and it is very deep, I don’t see superstars after the top two. Perhaps that is from looking at too many charts in the last couple weeks that show the top five or ten picks in recent drafts. Other than 2003, which was insanely deep, most draft lotteries seem to produce only a couple stars, then a bunch of washouts and role players. It almost seems worth it to trade down and go for the more experienced players instead of drafting the over-hyped freshmen and sophomores.
I hope my man Julian Wright doesn’t turn into Brady Quinn, but he sure seems to be dropping in a lot of mock drafts. We’ll see if the GMs agree.
Check back for more tomorrow.