Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Durant Banks It

Well, it's official. Kevin Durant has declared to leave the University of Texas after one season and enter the NBA Draft. It ends much speculation as to what Kevin Durant would decide to do, and whether he was in fact a human. But in the end, Kevin proved that he is in one way just like us, and likes the idea of having lots and lots of money in his bank account.

While there will be much commentary in the coming weeks about the legacy of Kevin Durant, the void he leaves at Texas, and how to replace it, I thought we'd first take a look at where Kevin Durant may make his new home in the NBA.

I imagine that the announcement will cause NBA teams to enhance their efforts to tank their season, not that they needed much help. From the Celtics declaring Paul Pierce will be missing the rest of the season with various ailments a night after he played 40 plus minutes and scored 34 points and the Bucks announcing today that Michael Redd was playing far too well, and he will join Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, and bubble boy on the disabled list. Even the Grizzlies fearing that they were using too much talent decided to scour the D-League to find the newest Grizzly stars. However, with Kevin Durant now in the picture, every team not in the playoff race will be trying their best to lose games. Except the 76ers, they must not have gotten the memo, as they play solid basketball down the stretch for no apparent reason.

Memphis (19-59) has been tanking this season from 7 minutes into the season opener, because Jerry West knows a good opportunity when he sees it. Kevin Durant would give the Grizz a loaded front line with Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol already similar type players. But really, how many athletic, talented forwards is too many? I'd like to see a front line with Gay, Durant, and Gasol. Granted, sometimes you need a guard to win a basketball game, and Memphis doesn't have any. A year removed from the playoffs one has to wonder whether Memphis has been tanking the season from last year, but Jerry West can't be that good, can he?

Five games behind Memphis in the chase, is the Boston Celtics (23-53). Durant has to be terrified of the possibility of going to the Celtics. While they have a great city, great fans, great history, and the love of Bill Simmons, they obviously sold their soul for all those titles under Red Auerbach. Durant would be cursed if he went to the Celtics, and would have no chance to become a star. Len Bias, Reggie Lewis, and Rick Pitino come to mind immediately. But even players that have had success, seem to have some fatal flaw. Antoine Walker appeared to be cursed by the need to shoot 15 threes a game, and even Paul Pierce had to endure being stabbed before he could truly become a star. Durant would have to be a little uneasy about going to Boston. Perhaps he could use the Chauncey Billups strategy and convince Boston that he was a bust before succeeding elsewhere.

People say Durant's game is like Oscar Robinson's, so why not head to Milwaukee (26-51). With Bogut in the front court and Redd in the back court, the Bucks would become an absolute force. Actually, now that I think about it, with Mo Williams, and Charlie Villanueva, this team would go from a lottery pick to an immediate contender in the East. Durant would have to be excited to go to the Bucks, as they would have to be one of the best teams he could go to out of the lottery front runners.

The Atlanta Hawks (28-49) would be a terrible pick for the Hawks, and with their luck they would probably land in the two spot to take Durant. With Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Josh Childress, they really don't need another swing man. Though if Atlanta were smart they would get Durant, and trade Marvin Williams and Josh Childress for a point guard and a center and win lots of games with Joe Johnson, Durant, Josh Smith, and their newly serviceable center and point guard. But this is Atlanta, if they got Durant, they would attempt to be the first team in NBA History to play 5 forwards in the same role at the same time.

The Charlotte Bobcats (31-47) would love to get Durant, and he would be an upgrade over whoever they currently run out at the power forward or small forward. Because that Adam Morrison thing worked out great. I think Durant would like to go to Charlotte, but it just seems that they're so young and while extremely talented don't seem to be improving every year. I just don't think Okafor or Gerald Wallce will ever stay healthy, May seems to be a tweener, Morrison might have a Brent Barry ceiling, and Felton can't decide whether he's an elite point guard or a journeyman. Their roster just doesn't seem as loaded at second glance.

Seattle (31-47) has a roster that Durant would fit nicely into. With Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, Earl Watson, Luke Ridenour (if he figures out how to play basketball again), Nick Collison, Robert Swift, and Wilcox, Durant would make this team an instant contender for the 7 seed in the West. But then again, by the NBA draft half those players could be gone and the team could be in New Orleans. Someone should let Seattle know that they have a basketball team, even if the rest of the country doesn't know that they do.

Portland (31-46) would be extremely young and talented with Durant. He could fit in nicely with Aldridge, Zach Randolph, Brandon Roy, and Jarrett Jack. He also would fit into that whole don't domestically abuse your family, don't buy, sell, or use drugs, and don't have illegal dog fights thing that Portland seems to be striving for. So that's a plus!

Philadelphia (31-45) knows how to treat a star. With Charles Barkely and Allen Iverson before him, Kevin Durant would be celebrated by the City of Brotherly Love and appreciated every step of the way. He would also be given no discernible talent around him to the point that he would eventually be forced to demand a trade and move on to try and win a title.

I don't think Durant would want to end up in Sacramento (31-45). They seem to be getting older and assembling less talent every year. Really, I think the Maloofs are attempting to move the team to Las Vegas through losing in the basketball version of Major League. Though, I don't think enough National Guard could prepare us for Ron Artest in Las Vegas.

How would Kevin Durant fit into the New York Knicks (32-45) roster? How does anyone fit into the New York Knicks roster? But Isiah Thomas would be delighted to add another superstar in NYC. But would Durant get any touches with those pass first point guards of Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, and Nate Robinson?

I think Durant in Minnesota (32-45) could be the worst of all destinations for him. With Garnett already there, they would be playing very close to the same player. It would just seem to be like Durant going to an apprenticeship until he fills Garnett's role as a frustrated but extremely loyal player with no chance of winning.

Every team will be fitting these last two weeks to lose as many games as they can to get in the best position of landing Kevin Durant. Wherever he lands, he will make an immediate impact, and I for one will enjoy watching him take over the NBA. Though, I would've liked to see him take over the Sweet 16 first.

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