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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.

1/18/2007

The Oden-Durant debate

Had a pretty interesting discussion with an Ohio State friend of mine the other day about who is the best freshman in America, OSU big man Greg Oden or Texas' Kevin Durant. He said Oden, a 7-foot-1 shot-blocking monster; I said Durant, who's averaging 25 a game for a top-25 team.

Really, there is no wrong answer. These are two of the best players to grace college basketball in decades. We're only seeing glimpses of what Oden can do. He missed the first month of the season with a right wrist injury and still doesn't have full flexibility there. He shoots his free throws left-handed and most of his field-goal attempts are dunks, but is so strong and intimidating he reminds many of a young Pat Ewing.

Durant, a 6-foot-10 wing, is a national player of the year candidate. He's putting up monster numbers (11.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks to go with his 25 points per game), hitting clutch shots, and looking like he could repeat Carmelo Anthony's feat and take Texas to the promised land as a freshman.

Either Oden or Durant will be the top pick in June's NBA draft. There's a small chance Oden could return for his sophomore season, but he's the best pure post player to come out of college since at least Tim Duncan, probably longer because of his paint presence. Durant, who's almost guaranteed to come out, is more the Kevin Garnett type, capable of doing anything and guarding almost anyone.

If I have the No. 1 pick, I think I'd take Durant. Fewer health questions for now, longer shelf life with his comparatively smaller body, and his game fits the up-tempo style that could mean marketing magic for him and his team. Either way, I'm looking forward to watching both men over the next two months and the impact they have on the college game.

2 Comments:

Blogger dt said...

The common thread in the NBA for championships, though not exclusive, still seems to be a dominant big man, which is why I'd take Oden over Durant. Durant reminds a bit more of Tracy McGrady than Kevin Garnett in that Durant seems to want to face the basket all the time, while Garnett plays both inside and outside.

Durant will need more complimentary players (a PG and a Center) to win big in the NBA than I think Oden will. You put Oden with a frist rate swing man and that team will automatically be able to make a run at an NBA title. I think the worst that Oden will become in the league is the next Ewing, with the potential to become a combination of Duncan and Moses Malone.

Keep up the great stuff in the blog here Dave.

DT

8:45 AM 
Anonymous Dave Birkett said...

Thanks for checking in DT. Like I said, you can't go wrong with either guy. Having watched Durant in New York earlier this year and talked to NBA people about him afterwards, it's my understanding that he has more of a post-up game than he's showing. He's doing what he has to do for Texas to succeed this year, and doing a fine job of that.

I think you're right about Oden, though. He is such a force around the basket, if he's surrounded with any talent whatsoever, he'll be contending for championships in a matter of years.

9:54 AM 

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