Dick Jerardi | Let's cut this draft down to size

Posted: June 29, 2007

The NBA draft is too long. Yeah, I know it's over before two NFL draft picks are made, but it is still too long.

Look, it's a television show, and none of us has attention spans beyond 2 hours (about how long it takes my man Stephen A. to finish his initial soliloquy).

So, here it is: the 2-hour NBA draft show - a 15-minute predraft buildup, a 90-minute first round (3 minutes per pick) and a 15-minute postdraft show.

So what happened to the second round? Gone, sort of.

In the new draft, teams will e-mail or text their second-round picks to nba.com. If they don't send a message, that means they are not interested. If more than one team selects the same player, the first team to send the pick in gets it. Fans will be able to see the messages arrive in real time.

Really, do you know anybody who watches the draft past the first round? Even David Stern leaves.

The Sixers

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt described Thaddeus Young as "a prototype NBA three man."

But don't the Sixers already have a prototype NBA three man in Andre Iguodala?

"You're not going to get a better kid," Hewitt said. There is something to be said for that.

Young was very highly touted out of high school (probably would have been drafted in the top 10 last year if he were eligible) and had his moments at Georgia Tech, especially later in the season when he scored 97 points in his last five Atlantic Coast Conference games.

One problem with the lefty Young is that he can't dribble with his right hand. Hey, you can't have everything. He also is not likely to be ready to be a major factor next season. Young had always played near the basket in high school before moving to the perimeter in college. So, there will be a learning curve.

One ACC coach told me Florida State's Al Thornton is NBA-ready now, athletically and in every other way. Thornton can score in a variety of ways from 18 feet and in. The Clippers selected Thornton with the 14th pick two spots after the Sixers took Young. Keep an eye on Thornton/Young down the road.

I didn't see enough of Colorado State's 7-foot Jason Smith to have a serious opinion. But I do know a large man with skill does fit with what the Sixers need.

I have always loved players from Finland. And Petteri Koponen is the best Finnish player I have ever seen. But the Sixers sent him to Portland for the rights to Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars.

Oden/Durant

There was some debate out there about No. 1. Not much, but some. There really should not have been any. Portland took Greg Oden, as it should have.

The only way you take Kevin Durant is if you think he's Michael Jordan. I think there is only one of those, and he's not coming back. And nobody is "the next."

Without getting into the center vs. forward debate, it all comes down to this: Oden's teams always win. This is no accident. He changes games just by being in the game. He affects everything and everybody.

As great as Durant was last season (and he was great), Texas lost 10 games and got blitzed by 19 points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by USC. A great scorer simply does not affect games in the same way as a top-class shot blocker/rebounder/low post scorer.

They will like this pair in Oklahoma City

Seattle will get a year of Durant and Jeff Green, two great players from suburban Maryland by way of Texas and Georgetown. By almost all accounts, the franchise, which is having major arena problems in Seattle, is headed to Oklahoma City for 2008-09. All those Texas fans will get to cross the border to see Durant again.

Well, the Ok. City Sonics (or whatever) will get two incredibly talented forwards whose skills really complement each other - Durant the scorer, Green the facilitator.

Loved Jay Bilas' line on ESPN when he called Durant "a scoring savant."

By the way, another player from suburban Maryland will join Durant and Green. St. Joe's Delonte West was part of the Boston-Seattle trade that sent Ray Allen east.

How many point guards is too many?

When Memphis took Mike Conley with the fourth overall pick, you wonder how that played with Kyle Lowry. It was only a year ago that Memphis took Villanova's Lowry to be its point guard of the future. Kyle got hurt, missed most of the season, and now there has been a regime change in Memphis.

It is not as if Lowry and Conley can play together. Both are pure point guards. Both are beat-you-off-the dribble penetrators who are very good on-the-ball defenders. Neither is a very good shooter, which is why you would not play them together.

Looking back

I was told to mention that the day before last year's draft, I touted Washington's Brandon Roy as the best player in it. He was the Rookie of the Year in Portland and, as his reward, will get to play with Oden.

They were all that

Florida became the first school to have three players taken in top 10, when Al Horford went third to Atlanta, Corey Brewer went seventh to Minnesota and Joakim Noah ninth to Chicago. Nice squad.

All the rebounds

With Ben Wallace and Noah, the Bulls might get every rebound. And Noah is the perfect replacement for "Big Ben" when he finally hits the wall. They are really the same player, except Noah has more basketball skill.

And furthermore

The whole college-coach-can't-win-in-the-NBA thing is ridiculous. How many of the failed college coaches had Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan or Shaq, the main players responsible for 16 of the last 17 NBA titles? The answer is: none.

Think Rick Pitino could have won with one of those players on his NBA team?

Rare insight

Bilas: "Greg Oden is a star."

Stephen A: "I concur."

Also Stephen A.: "You can't teach 7 feet."

He said what?

I was a big Mark Jackson fan when he played, because he always had great insights into the game and was willing to answer any question. Also like him as a color analyst for ESPN/ABC. But did he really say: "Dalembert has blossomed into a big-time center"?

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Send e-mail to jerardd@phillynews.com.

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