Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday A.M. Lead Storyline:
Kevin Durant Turning Pro

For today's usual Quickie, see the next post down (or click here). Meanwhile, here is today's biggest storyline:

Kevin Durant turning pro
: Durant was the most talented college player last season.

He was the most dominant freshman ever, at least if you believe the awards (Carmelo Anthony fans from Syracuse might beg to differ). He inspired the hottest debate of the basketball season, college or pro, summed up in three words: "Oden or Durant?" He is a lock to be, at worst, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (No. 1 if Oden somehow decides to stay in school, which he won't).

Here's the question: Exactly what kind of NBA player will Durant be? I agree with those who think he is destined to be a perennial All-Star; I disagree with those who think he will somehow "redefine" the forward position in the NBA.

As far as I can tell, he possesses a game remarkably similar to Dirk Nowitzki. Given that Dirk arrived in the NBA a decade ago, I'd say that "redefining the position" thing goes to Dirk. At best, Durant can be "the next Nowitzki."

But Durant has to be the No. 1 guy on his team to be that All-Star. He'll need those 15-20 shots a game. That's why WHERE he plays will be as important as HOW he plays.

Consider his fate if he ends up in, say, Boston. Unless Danny Ainge is willing to trade Paul Pierce, do you think Pierce is going to be willing to step aside as the team's designated gunner for some rookie? (Let me answer that: Not bloody likely.)

In that case, Kevin Durant will simply be "the next" Rashard Lewis – a very skilled, very tall jump-shooter, but at best a complimentary player, stuck behind a lead scorer who is never going to concede his role as the team's star.

No matter who drafts Durant, I hope that they do what it takes – trading existing stars, if necessary – to ensure that Durant is The Man from Day One. (Yes, I know that Dirk was brought along slowly, but Durant is way beyond where Dirk was at this age.)

It's the only way Durant will even come close to fulfilling this potential that everyone agrees is worth oohing over.

-- D.S.

Update: I was just reading Henry Abbott's original coverage of the news from yesterday. Money aside (and there's really no other reason as compelling to turn pro), it sounds like Durant would rather stay in college another year, because he's enjoying it. I wonder if that would affect him during the NBA's grind next year? It's a downside of the NBA's draconian age-limit policy: "Force" a kid to go to college for a year, but then just when he starts to enjoy the experience, effectively force him to turn pro (using impossible-to-turn-down financial incentives). But the NBA got what it wanted from him last year -- a year of free exposure to hype him to fans.


Eric Chase said...

How bout on the low end...Tracy Mcgrady

Matt T said...

McGrady on the low end?

I'm sure every team on the NBA would take that.

jhawkjjm said...

How about Kevin Durant is the next Kevin Durant? I now that everyone loves comparing people, but I think its pretty dumb. How many "next Jordan's" have their been?

I think Durant and Pierce can coexist. Pierce and Walker were able to do it for the most part. It might be best for Durant to come in and have another superstar with him for a couple of years. That might take some of the pressure off him to be "the man" because he is going to have super high impossible expectations coming in. If he is alongside a Pierce maybe he won't try to live up to those expectations.

Mikepcfl said...

McGrady had to play second fiddle to Vince for a few seasons, then he was able to blossom when he went out on his own. Durant could do the same thing.

Unknown said...

I just can't help but think that he's going to get pushed around. The kid looks flimsier than tayshaun prince when he went to the NBA.

He may well end up being an all-star, but not because he's that much better of a talent...but because, if you notice, a lot of the great NBAers are..old. AI, Kobe, KG, Nash, Shaq...lots of others, could be outta here in 5 years. (or not)

Big Blog of Basketball Lists said...


I believe he has sneaky strength in that wire body.

But you're right, he does need to bulk up a little bit.

SAMO said...


I think you are right on with your assessment. Durant needs to get his shots. Otherwise he isn't quite nearly as effective without the ball. Because of this, I would expect the Celtics to take Oden.

Brian in Oxford said...

Would an Alcindor or Walton count as best freshman ever? I thought I read that their freshman (ineligible) teams could actually beat the varsity UCLA teams at practice. No?

Anonymous said...

he is not the next anything adn no one has redefined the foward position ever. Remmeber tim thomas, even though kg was grat he did not redefine the position because there is no one else like him. Durant will be a great player, but he is not going to redefine the position.

Patriots64 said...

Doesn't Memphis have the best chanceat the first pick and do they need a center?

Brian in Oxford said...

yeah, but after the Celtics got jobbed in '97, the commish had BETTER be rigging this lottery, if ya know what I mean....

Unknown said...

Hey Brian, I passed by Oxford this Friday when visiting some friends up in Connecticut.

CMFost said...

How about if he puts on some muscle a KG with better range?

CMFost said...

NFL suspends Pacman, Henry
Pacman Jones has been suspended for the 2007 season and Chris Henry will miss the first eight games, the NFL announced today.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

That destroys the Titans next year. They better hope that Ginn drops to them at 19 because their return game is going to be dreadful next year. It obviously also hurts the secondary because he was on his way to becoming a good cover corner. This is huge because the Titans did not make any huge splashes in free agency and the best corner in the draft is Leon Hall and he is a top 10 guy.

TP said...

Wow, he is going to completely blow Rashard Lewis out of the water. I almost don't even get the comparison. Is that serious?

Anonymous said...

The Celtics need Greg Oden, not Durant or anyone else for that matter.

Gerald Green and Paul Pierce should be fine at the 2 & 3 spots along with Delonte West,Tony Allen and let's not forget Wally Szczerbiak.

What this team needs is another big man in the Middle to Control the flow of the game inside and then you can move Al Jefferson(Stud player, nobody is talking about) to the 4 spot and have Kedrick Perkins and Ryan Gomes coming off the bench.

The point position is where I'd fill in with a Veteran besides having Rondo and Telfair (if he's not traded)

But we need a big man badly to level the pressure off Jefferson and that would help a big need with Jefferson and Oden at the 4 & 5.

danwise1856 said...

Why does everyone constantly say "the NBA forced" Durent to go to college for a year?

The NBA states that the player must be out of HS for one year. They DO NOT have to go to the NCAA. If they wanted, they could play in Europe or the CBA if they wanted to.

Heck, if it was stated the player only needed one year of college then if I was in HS, I would take post secondary classes starting my sophmore or junior year and jump to the NBA then.

Brian in Oxford said...

Cycledan, were you biking? Because otherwise there's not much to the town. But quiet.

Anonymous said...

danthemanwise: i think this happens eventaully: who would be shocked by mayo playing on the globtrotters or somehting like that for a season