Friday night, for the first time in their professional careers, No. 1 and No. 2 finally go head-to-head. Well, not really since they play different positions, but you know what I mean. Back in 2006 the two met at the McDonald’s All-American game where KD dropped 25 points and grabbed five boards en route to game MVP. (Oden had 10 points, five rebounds.) Other than that, the most competitive game they played was their pre-draft workout in Portland two years ago.
But during the spring of 2007, the debate was fierce – Oden or Durant? Durant or Oden? Old Face or Baby Face? Plastic Man or Fred Sanford? Sam Bowie or Michael Jordan? (OK, that’s a little too much.)
So let’s have a look back at some of those arguments:
- In 2007, 10 reasons for each guy: “Durant’s averaging more rebounds — playing small forward — than is Oden, who rarely strays more than eight feet from the basket. Even though Durant plays more minutes than Oden and Oden’s playing without his good hand, that’s a telling stat … Oden is poised to be a franchise center, someone you can build a team around. Franchise centers usually win championships. His name’s already being mentioned in the company of Russell, Robinson, Olajuwon, and Shaq. Lot of rings on those fingers. Durant is most often compared to Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett. Some people project him as a combination of the two. That’s pretty darn good – but I don’t see any rings on their fingers.”
- Bill Simmons: “I see Durant’s worst case as a lankier, more benign Glenn Robinson. But I can’t picture his best case or most plausible scenario, because there has never been anyone like him before. A 6’9″ shooting guard with a 7’5″ wingspan? And he’s still growing? I see pieces of different players — KG’s body, Bob McAdoo’s scoring, MJ’s competitiveness, T-Mac’s ability to attack the rim with either hand, Hakeem’s fallaway, C-Webb’s passing. But add it up and you get an original. Durant is the first iPod, or the plane the Wright brothers built … No GM has the testicular fortitude to pass up a potential superstar center, not even for someone as potentially game-changing as Durant. If you want to compete from now until 2020, take Oden. Simple. But as soon as the Blazers pass on Durant, he will instantly be more dangerous. Because from that moment on, he’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder. As Karl Malone, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer and others have taught us, a draft slight is a scary thing: It’s a contract-year push that never ends. Each season, you want to stick it to everyone who didn’t believe in you all over again. (Note: The term for this phenomenon is “anti-Darkoism.”) So the Sonics might one day look as if they were the ones who caught the break on May 22. I just don’t know. ” Keep Reading…