Good times each year to see how useless media consensus really is in the sports world include the two drafts that count (NFL and NBA) and the playoffs of various sports. We’ve got the NBA Draft up tonight, and there appears to be two great players. Which one should go first to the Portland Trailblazers?
Greg Oden. Even though Kevin Durant looked better his freshman season than Oden, and has an NBA-ready game, you don’t get a chance for the combination of size and athleticism Oden supplies very often, particularly when it’s already proven on the highest level of college basketball. (This ain’t Kwame Brown or Andrew Bynum. Who both play for the Lakers. That makes me smile.) Durant’s likely to be a great player, but there might be someone like him available next year. That isn’t likely for Oden.
So, what’s happening? For a while, I kept seeing commentary after commentary about Oden as the presumptive #1 pick. Then I started to see sportswriters switching over to Durant…after all, he was a great player in college, can make an impact right now, and the Blazers need a small forward. C’mon, in most cases those recommendations have nothing to do with Durant’s qualifications; they have a lot to do with wanting to write something new and different from everyone else. Here’s a lesson: It’s almost impossible to be contrarian nowadays. Too many blogs and too many other writers specialize in it. Just write what you think.
Anyway, it’s not like it’s the worst choice in the world. You’re not looking at Sam Bowie getting picked before Michael Jordan; at worst, you’re likely to be looking at Akeem Olajuwon being picked before Jordan.
By the way, check out the NBA Draft tonight. For one thing, you might actually know who some of the players are, thanks to the new age limit. For another thing, there will likely be more talented drafts, but none more talented by design. The age limit pushed two entire classes of players together for one draft. And yet, somehow, Josh McRoberts is still going to go in the first round. 😉
Update: Oden went number 1. Stuart Scott just asked him “Who looks older: You or LeBron James?”