Everyone here loves these, I personally do not find them very fun, and usually not very insightful except for certain cases, but I thought of one that not too many people had come up with. My hypothetical is, do you think Greg Oden would have been the first pick in the 2009 or 2010 drafts? I of course think he would have been for sure. Had Greg stayed in college, which I remember either SI or ESPN predicting he might have during his freshman year, than his microfracture surgery still would have gone down, which would have forced him to miss all of his potential sophomore season. Had he missed that, and not entered the 2008 draft, where I still think he might have had an outside chance at the first pick, he would have been granted a medical redshirt and had 3 more years of eligibility! This means he potentially could have played through his senior season until the 2011 draft. However, I will just go with him having been in college for 3 or 4 years rather than the even more unlikely 5th. Had Greg even been hurt in college this year, like he was in the NBA, would this have meant he would not be the first pick this year? I still feel he is a potential All-Star center and game changer, and I find he has much more potential than Hasheem Thabeet, and honestly, if Greg played in college last year, it would be difficult to see him not at least compete with Blake Griffin for the first pick. So even if Greg does not go #1 in '09, he would have easily landed in Memphis. I still think it would have been tough for the Clippers to pass Greg up. This coming year, even with John Wall playing as well as he has and being seen as a lock for the #1 pick in 2010, would it still not be likely that Greg could have been a lock for the top spot?
All that I am saying is that even with Greg's injuries and all of the people coming down on him and calling him a bust due to the tremendous success of Kevin Durant (because honestly, who else in 2007 would you take over Greg at this point? I still think he will be ranked right after Durant, and Durant still needs some help down low before even thinking about the Thunder contending, thus putting him up with the 3 best players in the league Bryant, James, Wade). If people look back to Sam Bowie, he missed two full seasons of college between his sophomore and junior seasons! When he played his sophomore season and averaged 17.5 and 9 (Slightly higher than Greg's freshman season, though Greg was a first team All-American and I am guessing a much better defender, not to mention leading his team to a fantastic record) Bowie was 19, his junior season, 22! This man was than picked second in the draft! Now, I know what some of you all were thinking, that we use precedent to know how to deal with situations like this in the future. But honestly, with big guys, injuries are a constant. Think of the amount of time Shaq has missed to injury. Those were some of the prime years of his career on the Lakers, years where if he had not been hurt, he could indeed have another 2-3 MVP awards. Yao Ming has missed significant time in the past 4 seasons, but no one is claiming that the Rockets made a mistake in drafting him, due to the fact that Amare Stoudemire has also missed a season due to microfracture, not to mention his eye injury last year which pretty much kept the Suns from the play-offs. I would also like to add that Kenyon Martin had an injury so serious that he was going to already miss time that next year when he was drafted #1 by the Nets in 2000. Kenyon has been injury ridden through a lot of his career, but no one has seemed to notice. I attribute this to the fact that he was in what could easily be considered the worst draft class of all-time. When the best players from the class are Michael Redd, Hedo Turkoglu, Morris Peterson and the Rookie of the Year Mike Miller, than I guess there is not that much to call you out on.
The bottom line is this, Kevin Durant to this point looks like a player who could fit well with possibly Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony to be the best 5 players in the league (with apologies to maybe Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, both of whom I would rank above Durant at this point, as well as most likely Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki, though Durant is hot on their heels. I think Brandon Roy is a fantastic player, but I would have a hard time not taking Durant over him. Just think that at this point, Portland is a better team and I would take LaMarcus Aldridge way over Jeff Green, which I am sure Kevin Durant would as well all things considered). This of course means that yes, on the what have you done for me lately scale, not to mention looking into the future, it appears to be Kevin Durant by a land slide. However, I do indeed believe that Oden would still to this point be a guy who scouts would covet with the top pick had he stayed in college. Even in the pros, I do not think people would hesitate to try and get a player like Greg Oden if they needed a center. I just do not see the Blazers giving up on him for less than some top flight prospects along with 2-3 first round draft picks for upcoming years. The best thing about Greg's situation, and their are not many good things with being labeled already as a bust or as someone who will never be healthy, which are labels that are handed out far too early in the modern age of sports media, is that he is at least on a young team with players still developing. Not to mention, this young team has a system of players so strong that they are contending for a mid play-off seed without use of their top 2 SF's from last year, their 2 headed center that make up one of the best low post duo's in the league and an electrifying wing player who gets big minutes. It is also good too see Jerryd Bayless finally getting some much needed PT, but that is for another post regarding this latest scenario I am sure some of you have heard regarding Andre Miller outplaying Steve Blake and still being far behind him in the minutes department. But, my final point is that Greg is lucky to have this scenario at hand and still have a strong future in the NBA despite all the negativity coming his way.
Sorry for this long rant, but I want to end with my scenario and see some responses, which I do not care if they are agreeing with me or not, but hopefully are well thought out and come with strong explanations as to why it would not be a strong possibility in the hypothetical.
Would Greg Oden have been the top pick in the 2009 (Blake Griffin) or 2010 (most likely John Wall) draft? If not, why and where would he have been selected?
I have to admit, I didn't read your entire post, only the first and then the last 2 paragraphs. You never know because circumstances would be very different if various players stayed in school and how that would impact our analysis. However, based upon what we know today, here are my opinions.
Blake Griffin has super star written all over him and he would have been the top pick in the 2009 draft, even if Oden stayed in school. Furthermore, based upon what we now know, Oden would have experienced one or more serious knee injuries. But even without the injury scenario, Blake Griffin is such a unique and gifted player, he would have to go number one.
Moving to 2010, the philosophy of the NBA is changing. Most teams now realize that having a great PG is the key to building a championship team. With that in mind, I think John Wall would be the first player selected int the 2010 draft. I just cannot imagine any player being selected ahead of John Wall who is one of those elite players that can literally transform a franchise.
im sorry i like blake more then oden but oden woul dhave been the top draft pick then also. big guys liek that dont come along as often as power fowards like blake. blake may end up being better or maybe not but when a big guy like oden comes along who was talked about as being the top pick even if he came out as a jr because of potential then not too many teams will pass up on that
I don't think Blake would have went over Greg if he was healthy and they both came out at the same time.
Greg is a legit 7-0 and is very athletic for his size and has good footwork
I understand philosophy is changing, but it still takes big men to win. This has not changed. I just wonder where you think Greg would go otherwise. I too could see Griffin being taken over Oden, though I my opinion I do not know how much Griffin would have over Oden when it comes to their potential, since Blake has yet to play and game and due to Greg's injuries (can you imagine if they would have gone 1-2 in this past draft? It would have been havoc). As far as your philosophy of having a great PG being a key to a championship, I still say solid PG play and great big man play win a majority of the time. You take championship teams led by great PG's, and you see rebounding and defense all over them, with solid interior play. The best PG's in the league still need solid post players, with great examples being Chris Paul who is devoid of it, Steve Nash who other than Amare Stoudemire has no other solid bigs and Deron Williams/Tony Parker, who rely on the play of their big guys to maintain the success of their teams. With that being said, I do think John Wall could indeed have been drafted over Greg due to his injuries. But, would a guy like Derrick Favors or Donatas Motiejunas than overtake Greg with the #2 pick? Also, can you name players other than maybe Griffin and Wall who you see as being players who are potentially better for a team than Greg Oden? I mean, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans have been killing it, so those are two possibilities, but can you think of more than that? Also, upon further reading your response, what makes Blake Griffin so unique? He is a great athlete, do not get me wrong, but he seems to have deficiencies pretty common with PF's/C's.
This is extremely hypothetical lol.
I may be a little bit biased since I'm a Greg Oden fan, but I think he would've gotten plenty of consideration as the top pick (even with the knee injury) over Griffin in 2009 and Wall in 2010. I can't say for sure if he would've been picked #1, but I don't think he would've dropped below the 2nd pick.
IF healthy... I think Oden would've gotten picked over Griffin and Wall without question.
Let me start with John Wall. Last year I was very impressed by Tyreke Evans. Even though I didn't see him as a PG, I was confident he would be a star at the next level and he's exceeded my first year expectations. I said last spring that OK made a major mistake by taking Harden ahead of Evans.
But this year I was blown away by John Wall. In addition to his obvious talent, he's displayed poise and maturity that is almost mind boggling for a freshman. That tells me he's smart and a leader. And let's not forget his ability to see the court and hit open teammates. I can only speak for myself, if I were an NBA GM, there's no doubt that he would be my first choice to start building a championship team.
Blake Griffin is one of those rare players who can both score and rebound at an elite level. When I watched him play last season, I always had the feeling there's nobody out there who can stop this guy. If you read many of my previous threads, you know I love guys who rebound and he does it big time. But when you combine his rebounding power and ability to score almost at will, he rises to the top. As for his flaws, there are very few players without flaws and I don't see his shortcoming as anything serious.
There is no way I would take Donatas Motiejunas over Greg Oden [if he was healthy]. I like Greg Oden, he's my kind of guy because he's very smart, a great teammate, and he does two things well that I love, he blocks shots and rebounds. Other than his injury problems, what's slowed him down was a loss of confidence. I think he started to regain that confidence and then suffered yet another injury. By the way, I repeatedly said I would have taken K. Durrant over Oden, but that doesn't lessen my admiration for Oden.
In sum, I think the following guys from the last three drafts were what I described as can't miss stars, Blake Griffn, Tyreke Evans, and Kevin Durrant. I think Greg Oden was slightly below them, but not too far away. In the upcoming draft, it's John Wall all the way.
I'll put it like this. If Oden is healthy, he's the first pick in every draft over the last 10 year barring Lebron's year. He was that dominant in high school. He'll he's that dominant when he's not on the bench. He averaged 16 pts, almost 10 rebounds and 3+ blocks his freshman year, playing primarily with his left hand for the first half of the season. I have no doubt had he stayed a second, he would have averaged 19 pts 13 reb 4+ rebounds and the leader for the player of the year in college.
Mkadoza, as I mentioned in my previous post, I like Greg Oden as a person, I respect his game on the defensive end of the court, but I would still take the 4 players ahead of him that I talked about in the post above entitled, "mikeyvthedon, My Response.
No way... IF healthy... You pick Oden hands down. I don't think any GM in the NBA would pass up Oden IF he's healthy. Unless it's the 2003 or MAYBE the 2004 NBA Draft Oden goes number one.
Tezo83, I would take:
ahead of Greg Oden. You can build a championship team around any one of those 4 guys.
I think Oden's clearly a very tempting choice at number one, but I think the other 4 guys are sure fire super stars in the NBA. Greg Oden is a smart guy, an excellent shot blocker and rebounder, but he never impressed me on the offensive end of the court. In other words, his offensive flaws force me to rate him just slightly behind those other 4 players.
its easy to say in hind site. but some of ya'll are fatoring in blake playing 2 years in college. in 2009 he would have only had played one so aftert that one yea you would have taken him over oden after his one year?..i doubt it. some of ya'll decisions are flawed because of it. how would oden have been if he stayed for another year?..he already lead his team to a title in year one and was first team all american while missing 7 or more games so how do you think he would have done in year 2?. so its easy to say you would pick blake over him because youre comparing blakes year two to odens year one but a more fair comparisions would be blake year one and oden year one. would you really have picked him over oden then because after his year one he wasnt even gonna get picked over rose, beasley, westbrook, and maybe not even kevin love. just something to think about
None of those players have had a winning season in the nba. How do you know you can build a championship team around them. Durant, maybe, Griffin maybe. Maybe if you combine two of the players you have a shot at a chip, but Oden was a better prospect then all of them throughout his entire career. The proof is in the draft results, because you dont use nba stats to determine draft position. Evans was selected after Griffin. Durant was selected after Oden. Wall is an unknown, but most NBA teams would draft a big time center prospect over a big time PG prospect, especially with the depth at guard and dearth of big men.
Mkadoza wrote, "None of those players have had a winning season in the nba. How do you know you can build a championship team around them".
I think that was a great question. My answer is a simple one, none of them have the supporting cast as of yet. Obviously two of them, Griffin and Wall haven't yet played their first game in the league.
At least we know with Oden, Portland wasn't going to win the NBA championship with a very solid nucleus surrounding him. Look, I don't want to sound like I'm anti-Oden when I'm not. I repeatedly said he's smart, a great teammate, an excellent shot blocker and rebounder, but he seems very limited on the offensive end of the court. If I have the top choice in the draft, I'm going to select someone I think can do it all.
"Oden wasn't going to win the NBA championship with a very solid nucleus surrounding him"... How do you figure that?
Look at Dwight Howard. He came into the NBA with limited offensive ability and still doesn't have an advanced offensive skill set. Howard has the ability to dominate the paint at both ends, even with a limited offensive game. That's why the Magic went to the Finals last season.
This is hypothetical, but IF Oden was healthy... A team built around him would win a championship before a team built around Durant, Griffin, Evans or Wall...
Tezo83, I should have clarified my statement and said they haven't yet won with him and they weren't going to win this season. I can't see them getting out of the Western Conference finals ahead of the Lakers the way both teams are currently constructed.
but youre basing youre picks on what they have done now. arent we suppossed to decide who we would pick with the thought that none of the players have plaed in the nba yet?..its easy to say who you would pick now. personally i said it then an dill say it now i would have picked and built my team around durant. said that even before they played in the nba. and i would pick durant over blake even if both havent playe din the nba as well
One of the arguments about taking Oden first is that you need a dominant big man to win the NBA championship. Check this out, the last 4 league championships were won by Miami, San Antonio, Boston, and the Lakers. I don't see any dominant big men on those 4 teams bringing a championship to their city. The closest you might come with any of those 4 teams is Tim Duncan.
Maybe the old, long term belief that you need a dominant big man to win the title isn't one of those truisms we were led to believe? With that in mind, part of the reason for selecting Oden first is somewhat diminished.
Tim Duncan is the definition of a dominant big man. Shaq was absolutely vital to their championship, as well as the play of Alonzo Mourning off the bench. Boston had the best defensive front court with Perkins and Garnett. And Pau is as good a low post player as the NBA has. Thats 4 Hall of Famers, a great post defender in Perkins, and a top 5 post player in the NBA. You need to be able to defend the post in order to win. The Lakers really turned the corner when Gasol started playing tougher in the post.
closest thing?..duncan was a dominate big man. the same with miami and the lakes and boston. kg overall is a dominate big man, shaq was although wade was the reason they won and shaq again with the lakers. it wasnt just the guards who got them there or won the title. and gasol was a second team all nba big man
I don't agree with you man. All those teams had All-Star caliber big men... Duncan was dominant in every sense of the word.
you replace those big men with other big men and none of those teams win the title so it wasnt just the guards nor was it just the big men
There isn't a team that's won a NBA Championship without an All-Star caliber big man since Michael Jordan. Look it up. Michael Jordan is the only superstar wing player to win a title without an All-Star caliber big man.
you need a allstar big man and allstar guard or wing from what ive seen other then mj. or a team that has allstars at almost all positions like the pistons. every title team other then those from what i remeber had both. you dont win with a great big men and average everything else and you dont with a great guard and average everything else
Lenny [Quincey] wrote, "you replace those big men with other big men and none of those teams win the title".
I would say, if you replaced those guards, such as Wade, Allen, and Kobe, with other guards and they wouldn't have won. Who's to say the big men were more important than the guards?
I'm not taking anything away from Duncan, Garnett, and Gasol, but where would those teams be without the outstanding play they got from their back courts?
And the term I used was "dominant" big man. All of the big men mentioned in this thread were outstanding, high quality players. But when I think of a dominant big man, I think of Shaq when he was younger. I will also agree that Duncan was dominant but where would his team be without Gnoblli and Parker?
i also said you need both.wade allen kobe doesnt win without allstar big men and vice versa nd why you keep saying len and quincey. ive made it be known i changed my name to len.
Hakeem Olajuwon won back to back titles with average wing players. He had Drexler, but he was way past his prime.
Duncan won it in 1999 without an all-star wing player.
Garnett is a forward, and although Gasol is a great player, he's not what I envision when I think of a dominant big men down low. I love Tim Duncan, but I've never been able to figure out if he's a PF or a Center.
That brings me back to the subject of taking Oden number one. My point was a simple one, the old truism that you needed a dominant CENTER isn't necessarily true. I don't have anything against taking a dominant big man, it's just that my philosophy is take the BEST player available, regardless of position. And in the examples I gave, I think those guys were better players.
And I happen to believe the NBA game has evolved to the point where a dominant back court is a requirement. Everybody mentioned Garnett, Gasol, and Duncan, but I focus on Kobe, Wade, Gnoblli, Parker, and the Boston back court. So I ask Tezo83, how many teams have won NBA championships in recent years without an All Star caliber guard?
ummm no.. clyde was a allstar both year sand averaged 19ppg then the next title 22 ppg. allstar guard. you replace him with a average guard and they dont win that title. im not sure on this one but i think he made 3rd team or second team all nba as well
no wait i was wrong he put up 21 and 21
he never really had muh of a down side. his last year he was putting up 18ppg
The 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons won it without an All-Star guard. Ben Wallace, their starting center, was their only All-Star.
The 2002-2003 San Antonio Spurs won it without an All-Star guard. Tim Duncan, their starting power forward, was their only All-Star.
The 1998-1999 San Antonio Spurs won it without an All-Star guard.
The 1999 Spurs were a good example of a team that won without a great back court. But the question was "recent" years because the game has changed.
The 2003 Spurs had Parker and Gnobolli, in my book they're all stars.
The 2004 Pistons had an all star caliber back court in Chauncey Billups and R. Hamilton
I truly believe you cannot win an NBA championship today without an all star caliber back court, but you can win it without an all star center.
More importantly, this is a personal philosophy question. I happen to believe that you take the BEST player available in the draft, regardless of position. Last year I thought the best player was Blake Griffin by far. The year before the best player was Derrick Rose, and the year before that it was Kevin Durrant.
And this year it's a no brainer, the best player is John Wall.
Drexler wasn't an All-Star in 1995 with Houston... He averaged less than 17 a game that season...
Now rtbt... Name ONE All-Star guard/wing player, other than Jordan, that has EVER in the history of NBA basketball won a title without an All-Star caliber power forward OR center?
i said or a team like detriot in another post who has a well balanced team. parker and ginobli may not have made the all star team but they were allstar talent players. like i said before you dont when a title with out allstar guards wings or allstar big men. either by getting selected to the allstar game or have the allstar talent. if uath would have won a couple of seasons ago they would have won with a allstar guard in d.will. he didnt make the all star team but he is obvious a all star player. same with parker and ginobli. no big man wins it without those. you dont win a title with a average or just pretty good guard or big man other then detroit with there whole good team or the bulls
1994-95 Houston 35 34 37.1 .506 .357 .809 1.9 5.1 7.0 4.4 1.8 0.7 2.54 2.50 21.4
1994-95 - 76 75 35.9 .461 .360 .824 2.0 4.3 6.3 4.8 1.8 0.6 2.45 2.70 21.8
1995-96 Houston 52 51 38.4 .433 .332 .784 1.9 5.3 7.2 5.8 2.0 0.5 2.58 2.90 19.3
1996-97 Houston 62 62 36.6 .442 .355 .750 1.9 4.1 6.0 5.7 1.9 0.6 2.52 2.40 18.0
1997-98 Houston 70 70 35.3 .427 .317 .801 1.5 3.4 4.9 5.5 1.8 0.6 2.70 2.80 18.4
I disagree... Look at the Spurs in 1999. Who was their All-Star talented guard or wing player? Avery Johnson or Mario Ellie?
Drexler wasn't an all-star in 1995 and I meant he averaged less than 17 points in the playoffs.
Dwight Howard wasn't the best player available in 2004. Omeka Okafor was. You would've drafted Omeka Okafor over Dwight Howard?
Howard was drafted because he had more upside, not because he was a better player than Omeka Okafor at that moment.
And I don't think the game has changed since 1999 as much as you're claiming it has.
Tezo83, I never said Omeka Okafor was the best player available, those were your words. As for Okafor, I didn't think much of his game back then and nothing I've seen over the past 5 years has changed my opinion.
The 2004 draft was an extremely weak one but I have to acknowledge I didn't know anything about Dwight Howard because I never saw him play. Besides, how much can you tell against high school competition?
I think the philosophy of the coaches has changed. 10,15, and 20 years ago, coaches were intent on getting the ball down low to the big men, if possible, on every trip. Now coaches allow their guards to dominate and control the ball on offense.
You don't see Phil Jackson, the Cleveland, or Miami coach trying to take the ball out of the hands of Kobe, LeBron, and Wade.
And you have point guards with the entire offense running through them in Utah, Phoenix, and New Orleans. There are probably other teams with PG's who control the game, but I can't think of them right now. That is a new trend that started only a few years ago.
I didn't say you said he was. I'M saying he was. Omeka Okafor was the best player available, however Howard had more upside. That's why he was chosen. Orlando took the player who had more upside.
My point is you can't always go off of the best player availabe. When the time calls for it, you have to go with who you think will be the better player down the line. Oden projected as a center who'd be able to dominate both ends of the floor. He wasn't a slow footed slow jumping center. He could run the floor like a zeebra, jump and all of the above. Truth is, IF (this whole post is hypothetical) he was healthy and improving/growing, etc... I have no question in my mind nobody would be questioning the pick.
I'd take a center who can dominate the paint at both ends of the floor for the next decade over a scorer any day of the week.
its this simple cuz we are gonna go in circles. some of ya'll are over or understateing a player. dunca doesnt win it without parker/mau and they dont win without duncan. dream doesnt win without clyde and vice versa. each team wins it because of a mixture of things and guards to. not just because they are great( thats only part of the reason) but because of the other players around them. no player has ever won a title on there own reguardless of there postion.. you can agree or disagree but its the truth.
Phil emphasizes getting the ball into the post. If you didn't know, the triangle actually works best around a post player!
Nobody wins it by himself, but The Dream got Clyde his titles, not the other way around. The Dream was the man on that team. Even during all of those Laker titles, Shaq was the man... Not Kobe. Shaq won MVP every series.
dream won the first title without clyde. Clyde didn't come until the second title.
As for this subject, Had Oden stayed healthy he goes number one. But had he stayed at college longer then 2 years, who knows? Maybe his offensive game doesn't develop and his stock slips a little where a john Wall could pass him up.
I didn't say the best player was a static situation in that you only looked at who is best today. To me, the best player is determined by what you think he will accomplish over his entire NBA career. All of the guys I mentioned, Durrant, Rose, and Griffin, are guys I envision as being elite players for many years to come.
As for Oden, other than his offensive skills, I never once said anything bad about the guy. I said he is smart, a great teammate, and he's a terrific shot blocker and rebounder. I just prefer guys who have a more well rounded game than he's shown me. I don't think this is an easy decision, but if you go with my philosophy, the other guys get the edge. It isn't a huge difference but I'm comfortable with those choices.
Even Phil Jackson himself said he'd choose Dwight Howard over LeBron and Kobe if he was building a team from scratch. I think that's pretty valuable coming from a man that has two hands full of rings and has coached two of the greatest wing players ever...
I think the philosophy of the coaches has changed. 10,15, and 20 years ago, coaches were intent on getting the ball down low to the big men, if possible, on every trip. Now coaches allow their guards to control the ball on offense. That is a new trend that started only a few years ago.
You don't see Phil Jackson, the Cleveland or Miami coach trying to take the ball out of the hands of Kobe, LeBron, and Wade and throw it down low to the big man.
In Utah, Phoenix, Chicago, and New Orleans, you have point guards who run the entire offense through themselves. There are probably other teams with PG's who control the offense, but I can't think of them right now.
If I were going to choose a young player today it would be a very difficult choice. If they were all the same age, would I choose Kobe, LeBron, or Dwight Howard? I really can't make that decision because I could easily justify choosing any one of them and feel good about that choice.
Let's not forget that Dwight Howard is the most dominate big man in the game, he's in a class by himself. Even though he's very good, I don't think your guy in Portland is even close to Dwight.