Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Draft Musings: The Big Choice; 2007 vs 2003

I've really thought that this was an easy decision all the way: Oden, Oden, Oden. Go with the big guy who can control the lane - Shaq and Timmy have won eight of the last nine, after all.

As we move further into this era of smallball, it seems as if guys like Duncan and Horry are proving that some of the most valuable players to have are bigs who are agile enough to get out and cover on the floor. And Oden's biggest strength, of course, is the superlative athleticism he brings to the defensive end of the floor. I can imagine him swallowing up pick-and-rolls on the perimeter as easily I can picture him defending the goal inside.

So Oden, on a certain level, is a constant. Durant, meanwhile, is the X-factor. The guy's going to be a serious star, for sure, but the question is how high will he fly? If he's going to be a Jordan or a LeBron or a Kobe, then you want him No. 1, if he's going to be a McGrady or a Carmelo or a Penny Hardaway (if you're scoffing at Penny, then you're forgetting how good he was back in the day), then you want to stick with Oden.

I've thought all along that Durant is not a Jordan/LeBron-level talent, but I dunno, something in the back of my head is making me reconsider... just the way he carries himself and talks about his game - he seems so determined to truly become a franchise player....

Still, in the end, I can't do it. Oden just has too much going for him at 7-1 with exceptional length and athleticism for me to pass him up. Greg Oden is the pick I'd make if I were Kevin Pritchard. But Kevin Durant is making me thinking harder than I ever thought I'd have to.

2007 VS. 2003
Lots of people are talking about in historic terms, as one of the best drafts in years. Certainly, I think it's going to be a splendid draft - it's really overloaded b/c of so many guys who seemed to be coming out in 2006 but didn't, either because of the increase in the age limit or the Florida guys deciding to stay in school.

That said, I still don't think 2007 will ultimately match up with the 2003 draft. I've listed this whole baby below for your perusal. Here are my notes:
- Right off the top, I think that both LeBron and D-Wade will have better careers than Oden and Durant.
- I guess I'm just not sold on some of the second tier of this year's draft - I don't see guys like Noah and Yi and Hawes and B. Wright turning into stars. I don't see a potential 30 ppg scorer like Melo or I don't think there's a perennial All-Star 20/10 guy like Bosh, although I do think Big Al Horford has a chance to be one, and I really like Julian Wright's game if he can be consistent.
- I will say that, while Kirk Hinrich and T.J. Ford are a solid PG duo from '03, I think I like Conley and Acie Law better.
- Say what you want about Chris Kaman, but he's an agile, skilled guy who can be a 10/10 player - I think he's a better pro than either Noah or Hawes will be.
- 2003 does get a little ugly with that Gaines-Bell-Carbakapa run from 15-17, but man does it pick up from 18-29 - true studs like Josh Howard and Barbosa, plus solid guys like West, Diaw and Pavlovic, and I still think Outlaw, Perkins and Delfino could blossom. I give 2003 an extra edge b/c of that bottom-of-the-1st-round depth, though I do think guys like Thaddeus Young, Rudy Fernandez, and Josh McRoberts - among others - have a lot of potential.
- 2003 delivered a really nice 2nd round, too, with this list of contributors: Walton, Korver, Kapono, Mo Williams, James Jones, Pachulia, Blake.
- Subtract points from 2003 for one word: Darko.

    1. Cleveland - LeBron James, F, St. Vincent-St. Mary's HS
    2. Detroit - Darko Milicic, F/C, Serbia and Montenegro
    3. Denver - Carmelo Anthony, F, Syracuse
    4. Toronto - Chris Bosh, F, Georgia Tech
    5. Miami - Dwyane Wade, G, Marquette
    6. L.A. Clippers - Chris Kaman, C, Central Michigan
    7. Chicago - Kirk Hinrich, G, Kansas
    8. Milwaukee - T.J. Ford, G, Texas
    9. New York - Mike Sweetney, F, Georgetown
    10. Washington - Jarvis Hayes, G/F, Georgia
    11. Golden State - Mickael Pietrus, G/F, France
    12. Seattle - Nick Collison, F, Kansas
    13. Memphis - Marcus Banks, G, UNLV (traded to Boston)
    14. Seattle - Luke Ridnour, G, Oregon
    15. Orlando - Reece Gaines, G, Louisville
    16. Boston - Troy Bell, G, Boston College (traded to Memphis)
    17. Phoenix - Zarko Cabarkapa, F/C, Serbia and Montenegro
    18. New Orleans - David West, F, Xavier
    19. Utah - Sasha Pavlovic, F, Serbia and Montenegro
    20. Boston - Dahntay Jones, G/F, Duke (traded to Memphis)
    21. Atlanta - Boris Diaw, G/F, France
    22. New Jersey - Zoran Planinic, G/F, Croatia
    23. Portland - Travis Outlaw, F, Starkville HS
    24. L.A. Lakers - Brian Cook, F, Illinois
    25. Detroit - Carlos Delfino, G/F, Italy
    26. Minnesota - Ndudi Ebi, F, Westbury Christian HS
    27. Memphis - Kendrick Perkins, C, Clifton J. Ozen HS (traded to Boston)
    28. San Antonio Spurs - Leandrinho Barbosa, G, Brazil (traded to Phoenix)
    29. Dallas - Josh Howard, F, Wake Forest

    ROUND 2
    30. New York - Maciej Lampe, F, Spain
    31. Cleveland - Jason Kapono , F, UCLA
    32. L.A. Lakers - Luke Walton, F, Arizona
    33. Miami - Jerome Beasley, F, North Dakota
    34. L.A. Clippers - Sofoklis Schortsanitis, F/C, Greece
    35. Milwaukee - Szymon Szewczyk , F, Poland
    36. Chicago - Mario Austin , F, Mississippi State
    37. Atlanta - Travis Hansen, G/F, Brigham Young
    38. Washington - Steve Blake, G, Maryland
    39. New York - Slavko Vranes, C, Serbia & Montenegro
    40. Golden State - Derrick Zimmerman, G, Mississippi State
    41. Seattle - Willie Green, G, Detroit Mercy (traded to Philadelphia)
    42. Orlando - Zaur Pachulia , F/C, Turkey
    43. Milwaukee - Keith Bogans, G, Kentucky (traded to Orlando)
    44. Houston - Malick Badiane, F/C, Langen
    45. Chicago - Matt Bonner , F, Florida (traded to Toronto)
    46. Denver - Sani Becirovic, G, Virtus Bologna
    47. Utah - Maurice Williams , G, Alabama
    48. New Orleans - James Lang , C, Central Park Christian School
    49. Indiana - James Jones , F, Miami
    50. Philadelphia - Paccelis Morlende, G, France (traded to Seattle)
    51. New Jersey - Kyle Korver , F, Creighton (traded to Philadelphia)
    52. Toronto - Remon Van de Hare, C, Spain
    53. Chicago - Tommy Smith, F, Arizona State
    54. Portland - Nedzad Sinanovic, C, Bosnia
    55. Minnesota - Rick Rickert , F, Minnesota
    56. Boston - Brandon Hunter, F, Ohio
    57. Dallas - Xue Yuyang, F, China (traded to Denver)
    58. Detroit - Andreas Glyniadakis, C, Greece
I can't wait - I love draft night in general, and this should be a fun one.