Thursday, March 6, 2008

When choosing between ROY and future ROY, take Roy

I'm sure we all got our fill of the Oden vs. Durant debate last year. I know I did. But what about the debate between the reigning Rookie of the Year (for those of you living under rocks, that would be Brandon Roy) and the presumed 2008 Rookie of the Year (that would be Kevin Durant)? The folks at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram break down the competition.
They are each cornerstones of their respective Pacific Northwest franchises. Brandon Roy was the 2006-07 NBA Rookie of the Year for the Portland Trail Blazers; the Seattle SuperSonics' Kevin Durant will probably claim the honor this season. They are both fine talents just beginning their professional careers, but who would you rather have?

Brandon Roy

Pro: In his second season, Roy, 23, is already one of the best all-around players in the league. He has point-guard skills, is an elite defender and is the leader of a young team that has exceeded expectations. While he isn't a jaw-dropping athlete, Roy's balance and near-perfect footwork make him difficult to stop, and he is good at just about every facet of the game, averaging 19.3 points, 5.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

Con: Roy, 6-6, 229 pounds, missed 25 games his rookie season because of a heel injury and has missed seven games this season with a severely sprained ankle, so he hasn't proven to be the most durable player. Because he is such a well-rounded player, there isn't one specific skill in which he is better than anyone else. Can he get better, or has he maxed out as a player?

Kevin Durant

Pro: Durant, 19, is a tantalizing talent with a power forward's height, a shooting guard's skills and a center's wingspan. The 6-9, 215-pounder is a fearless shooter who is learning the NBA game on the fly, but still managing to average 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists. At this point in his career, Durant isn't close to being a finished product, and that may be his best quality.

Con: The flip side off all that potential? Durant has a lot to learn and a long way to go. He needs to get stronger, work on his passing and floor game, and improve his ball-handling. Heck, he needs to prove he has an actual position. And can his narrow frame take on more weight? Tough to say. But at this point no one can predict if he's going to be closer to Kevin Garnett or Glenn Robinson.

The verdict: We'll take Roy. Despite not being a big man or being blessed with special athleticism, he has the intangibles that can't be taught or developed. He is a winner who understands pace, flow and spacing. He is the player every coach wants, even if most GMs don't realize it. How else do you explain Adam Morrison and Shelden Williams being selected before him in the 2006 NBA Draft.

An interesting debate, though I'm not sure which player it says more about. Is Brandon Roy so good that he wouldn't be traded for a player considered one of the most can't miss prospects in the last 10 years? Is Durant now considered that bad?

It's a tough question to answer. Would you trade Roy for Durant? In the end, I think I would stick with Brandon Roy as well, though I'm obviously biased.

1 comment:

TheGreatBlaze11 said...

I would stick with Roy, too. Durant has sort of been a let-down for me. I realize he's only 19, but his all-around game has not been very impressive so far. His scoring is not all that great (considering the amount of shots he takes), but when you look at his other stats, that's where it gets ugly. Four rebounds for a 6-10 gazelle with a 7-5 wingspan is not good. And two assists a game leaves a lot to be desired. He's just not a very efficient player. I think he will go on to be a good player, but I think in the end he will just have all the bad qualities of Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson: a good individual player (great scorer for Durant, mostly) but not a "Winner", more of a highlight reel guy.

Maybe I'm being a bit unfair in my judgement towards him, but for now I'm glad we drafted Oden and I'd surely take Roy over him. Simply because Roy's demeaner is extremely unique in today's game. And the fact that players like TMac, Carter, Iverson, Durant...etc come by fairly often.