Friday, June 01, 2007


The comparison/versus-talk has begun with the upcoming draft already. Jeff Green or Corey Brewer? Joakim Noah or Al Horford? Greg Oden or Kevin Duant? And on and on it goes…

But there are more off-season questions of importance than those pertaining to the draft.

So let’s have some fun and pretend that you’re the GM of an up-and-coming franchise. You have to make key decisions that will affect your organization from top to bottom. Playmakers aren’t easy to find, especially with the amount of money you’ll be expected to doll out.

Do you have the stones to make the tough decisions?

Let’s find out.

Point Guard – Chris Paul OR Deron Williams
A year ago, this was a no-brainer for nearly unanimous rookie of the year Paul (ironically, Williams snagged the only non-Paul 1st-place vote). However, Williams may have swayed public opinion 180 degrees during these playoffs. While Paul may not see playoff exposure like this in New Orleans anytime soon, his amazing vision and affinity for stealing the ball still slightly tip the scale to his side for me.
Pick: Paul.

Shooting Guard – Brandon Roy OR Ben Gordon
Both top picks from proven collegiate programs, Roy (this season’s rookie of the year) proved he is as effective as any young player at slashing to the hoop and finishing effectively. Gordon, perhaps a little rusty in the clutch-department this season, can shoot from anywhere on the court and demands constant attention. While Gordon’s game is nearly impossible to stop, on offense, I’ll take the more rounded and physically imposing Roy as a big 2-guard.
Pick: Roy.

Small Forward – Josh Howard OR Loul Deng
Deng has improved mightily each season. But Howard is clearly a more complete talent. Some have made the comparison, perhaps a little too early still, to a young, maturing Scottie Pippen. While both need to assert themselves more, despite other options on their teams, the edge has to go to the defensively-minded Howard.
Pick: Howard.

Power Forward – Al Harrington OR Al Jefferson
When focused, Harrington poses an incredibly taxing inside-and-outside matchup. While some are skeptical that Jefferson’s improvements have come during junk-time, the back-down post-up player always earns my vote. Especially considering Harrington has fallen in love with an already inconsistent perimeter-based game.
Pick: Jefferson.

Center – Greg Oden or Dwight Howard
Howard is a physically-imposing freak. Yet, he still hasn’t developed a lot of Oden’s post moves. Remember that the Buckeye played with his off-hand the majority of the season and was still a legit 1st-team All-American. Everyone wins in this argument, but I’ve been drinking the Oden Kool-Aid for three years now. There’s no stopping me now from taking his side, despite everything amazing that Howard (who I clearly tabbed a better pick back in ’02 over Okafor) brings to the table.
Pick: Oden.

Now that you’ve seen my personal dissections, and perhaps interjected a few of your own thoughts, let’s see what you would do with this special Title-Makers & Breakers questions. A dozen of ‘em in fact.

Different stipulations here, as many of the matchups involve players at vastly different positions and points of the career.

If you have one-year to win a championship, of these pick-six pairings: which guy are you choosing to lead you to an NBA title?

1) LeBron James OR Kobe Bryant
2) Carmelo Anthony OR Gilbert Arenas
3) Steve Nash OR Dwayne Wade
4) Carlos Boozer OR Elton Brand
5) Amare Stoudemire OR
Yao Ming
6) Tim Duncan OR Shaquille O’Neal

…and for the last shot, as the seconds wind-down…
Robert "Big Shot Rob" Horry OR "Mr. Big Shot" Chauncey Billups

While such a column obviously demands viewer feedback, I’d also be interested to see what questions you might pose for us. What matchups would you want us to decide from? Which players, seemingly filling similar roles or under similar pressure, would the smart money be placed upon, as opposed to others.

I’ll post my selections on the aforementioned duos in the comments section in 48 hours.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Until next time…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't agree.

PG: Deron Williams
-My thing is, I think Chris Paul, right now, hasn't accomplished as much as Williams has. I don't think the Utah team is that much greater than the Hornets. Deron is leading better. Paul can't shoot either. He is a big liability shooting the ball. Deron can shoot lights out and distribute the ball. But down the road, Paul could be better. But right now, Deron is showing a lot more.

SG: Ben Gordon.
Hands down. Roy is a big guard, but Gordon is so clutch. He knows so many more ways to score and change a game.

SF: Deng.
I really do believe it, he is a more of an accomplished all-around player. Howard has holes in his offensive game. While not as good as a defender, Deng is plenty capable. Imagine if Deng gets a back-down game. He could be a superstar averaging over 20 and 7. Howard is a secondary guy, Deng can be a #1 option.

PF: Al Jefferson
Jefferson is a polished low-post score. Harrington is a skilled utility-big men with a decent all-around game. Players like Jefferson are hard to come by. You can't argue against a guy who can go 20 pts, 11 rebs, and 2 blks. Harrington is just a prototype, inconsistent perimeter big man.

C: Dwight Howard
-Howard's body is superrior, of course, and offensively the gap isn't very large. It's very tough though. Howard has come along faster than I think Greg Oden will.

As for the quick-shots:
-With LeBron's 48 tonight, it'd be a no-brainer. Kobe is so clutch and knows what to do in crunch-time. Until tonight, LeBron always passed off. Gun to my head: Kobe.

-Carmelo and Gilbert is stupid. Gilbert, for his position, is more elite for his position. Carmelo needs to find other things to do than score. Gilbert can score at will and get fouled at will. I suppose Arenas.

-Tough comparison, but Wade has a title and did it, for the most part, without Shaq. Nash has ridiculous talent, a great system, and can't find a way to win. Wade did.

-Brand had an off season, but he is more of a skilled player. Boozer doesn't have a mid-range game like Elton and Brand's experience, if I am trying to win a title, I take him. His defense is two or three steps more. And he has zero depth. Zero.

-I've had this argument so many times. Amare is tantalizing, but Yao is what you want: a dominant big-man. Amare is a super-athletic, freak of a player, who depends on other to get him to score. Yao doesn't need that pick-and-roll to score. His ability, Yao that is, is too good to pass up. Amare has to continue to develop more than an athletic game.

-Duncan, of course. Shaq needs another player. Right now in his career, he can't win a title any other way. He can't carry the load in a 7-game series. Duncan is Duncan. You give him the ball, and he can carry a team. He is younger, which is a big factor. If ages the same, Shaq...hands down.

...whoops, last one...
-Last shot, with the's obviously Horry. If there's plenty of time, Chauncey, of course. I say, in the end, Chauncey, because he can get fouled so easily (and we know what he does there). Horry, is always as the right place at the right time. Not to discount the shot, but he needs a lot more help and a lot more timing to hit shot after shot. Except, the dunk against Phoenix two years ago. What a sky-jam!

Alright, I did this for Clement. [I'm his roomate.]