Oden & Durant: Like the Plot of an Eighties Movie

February 24th, 2007

The 2007 NBA Draft could be mistaken for a chick flick from 20 years ago...

NBA general managers don’t see college superstars the way most people do. GM’s see them as potential soul mates. Or, more aptly, potential soul team-mates.

They watch elite prospects and melt. After memorizing their every move, the affair moves to the courting stage. Wining and dining. And over dinner and drinks, the general managers fall smitten.

And this basketball study in John Hughes relationships is exactly what makes this year’s draft so interesting.

There are just two choices for the first overall selection in the upcoming draft – Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. No more and certainly no less. Wayne Pratt, Durant’s father, recently said his uniquely talented son might stay in school longer than one season. Don’t believe the hype. After the NCAA Tournament, agents will swoop in and sneaker companies will place million dollar endorsement deals under a “Please Take Some” neon sign.

Durant won’t sniff his sophomore season and neither will Oden. Turning down the NBA in mid-season is easy. Saying no at season’s end is practically impossible.

Come June, with the two aforementioned sweethearts to choose from, some NBA personnel rep will be in the difficult – yet certainly enviable – position of deciding between love and lust. Or, as Teen Wolf fans might remember, picking Boof or Pamela Wells.

Oden is a jaw dropper. A seven-footer with bursting muscles and arms stretching out like telephone wires. The hoops equivalent of a blonde bombshell in a short skirt and stiletto heels. For years NBA people have been infatuated with the idea of Oden manning the middle for their franchise.

Great centers come around once a generation and the Ohio State sensation should be the next in line. He’ll be hailed as a savior, as will the lucky executive that selects him. He will be the theatrically symbolic trophy wife in that he will be counted on to push his team one step towards the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Durant is not a classically chiseled center, but to basketball purists, the spaghetti-limbed gym rat is beautiful in his own right. Athletic small forwards have infested the NBA, yet Durant is different. His brilliance is unmistakable. His potential is immeasurable. And, while members of the media can’t stop comparing him to every superstar in the league, he is unlike anyone in the league.

He’s an original and, just like all originals before him, he is an amalgamation of the ghosts of yesteryear. Just throw George Gervin, Danny Manning, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Larry Bird, David Thompson, and James Worthy in a Texas jersey and stir. Oh, and he won’t be 19 until September.

Understand now why teams are falling deeply in love?

Which brings us right back to the original point. On June 28, 2007, some non-playoff team (or the Bulls) will have a choice to make about their future. Will they select the hulking center they’ve been lusting over for years or the distinctive basketball beauty they’ve slowly grown to love? It sure sounds like a plot question from one of those Hughes films.

Just remember what Mary Stuart Masterson’s character Watts said in the 1987 movie Some Kind of Wonderful…

“Don’t go mistaking paradise for a pair of long legs.”