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
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,
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.