Saturday, June 23, 2007

You Take Greg Oden

Bill Simmons tallies up a score for the Oden-Durant debate and (unsurprisingly) Durant comes out on top. This isn't that big of a deal and I'm not really harping on Simmons as much as people like him.

He loves Durant. It's pretty obvious that he thinks Durant should be the top pick. That's fine. But here's the thing, Simmons ends the column with this gem:
Face it: No GM has the testicular fortitude to pass up a potential superstar center, not even for someone as potentially game-changing as Durant. If you want to compete from now until 2020, take Oden. Simple. But as soon as the Blazers pass on Durant, he will instantly be more dangerous. Because from that moment on, he'll be playing with a chip on his shoulder. As Karl Malone, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer and others have taught us, a draft slight is a scary thing: It's a contract-year push that never ends. Each season, you want to stick it to everyone who didn't believe in you all over again. (Note: The term for this phenomenon is "anti-Darkoism.") So the Sonics might one day look as if they were the ones who caught the break on May 22. I just don't know.
So lemme get this straight, if you're drafting first and you want to be competitive for the next 10+ years, you take Oden. But Durant is more dangerous?

Look, everyone tells us that the league is getting faster, the Suns and Warriors are the future and blah blah blah blah. But I'd just like to point out that, since 1999, the NBA Champion has looked like this: Duncan-Shaq-Shaq-Shaq-Duncan-Detroit (against Shaq)-Duncan-Shaq-Duncan.

Durant may be the next Jordan (as Kobe and LeBron before him). That is wonderful. He may very well dominate the league and be a Hall of Fame player. But the league is full of players 'like Jordan'; long athletic swing men are littered across the NBA map (we got guys in Atlanta, LA, Cleveland, Houston etc).

Meanwhile, Oden compares favorably to exactly two NBA players (and by 'compare' I simply mean being projected as a dominant center) and those guys happen to each own four rings each and at least one of them has appeared in every NBA Finals since 1999.

So ya. Pass on Greg Oden.


Erik said...

This is the exact reason why I want to see the Cavs land a Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion or Elton Brand this summer.

LeBron is great enough that he might not need a dominant, athletic big man to win a title, but there is a reason why the presence of an athletic big man separates the sheep from the goats in the NBA. The teams that don't have one have to try that much harder to knock off the teams that do have one.

Even the Pistons, the lone team to break the Shaq-Duncan stranglehold on titles in the past decade, had the Wallaces playing at their best in the 2004 playoffs, so you can lump them in there, too.

The Suns and Warriors are NOT the future of the NBA. If they were, the Spurs would have been exposed as inferior by now.

Great big men dominate basketball for the same reason that great pitchers dominate baseball: The game is designed for them. The pitcher starts every play with the ball, and the big man is the closest to the basket.

So that's my verdict: Oden, Oden, Oden. It's not even a question.

Drew said...

What are the odds Simmons is only saying that in some deluded, homeristic hopes that Oden somehow pulls a Brady Quinn and falls to the Celtics at #5?

The Other Ben said...

Ben, could you do us all a favor and send us that post to our friend Bill Simmons. Much like when basketbawful's post about Bill's obsession with Steve Nash, you should give some of your own smackdown because the guy is a joke when it comes to sports analysis. He is slighty entertaining, but I feel we would be better served if Bill's rants would win Mike and Mike's just shut up award.