Time For Rhetoric To Be Replaced With Results
This week has certainly provided more roller-coaster excitement and more over-the-top conjecture than the NBA Finals. Remember that? You know, the San Antonio Spurs. . .they won their fourth title. . .Tim Duncan. . .Eva. . .ah, forget about it.
Superstar talents are coming in (Greg Oden and Kevin Durant), and others could be on the move (Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O'Neal). Following what arguably can be referred to as one of the worst NBA seasons in recent memory, the prospects for the 2007-08 couldn't be any better. Right?
When people around the league are debating which Dr. Frankenstein laboratory creation should go No. 1 - the Bill Russell/Shaquille O'Neal amalgamation (Oden) or the Tracy McGrady/Garnett concoction (Durant), it trumps any Tony Parker driving layup or LeBron James off-target mid-range jump shot we were forced to watch (or ignore) when the month began. And, when the Minnesota Timberwolves refuse to hide their intentions to trade a future Hall of Famer like Garnett after 12 seasons, and the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns get involved in the discussions, you can't help but get lost in the possibilities.
Maybe it's just me, but the hyperbole could be a bit too much. I'll admit, I'm really keyed up about what could happen tonight - the potential trades, the potential of Oden and Durant - but it would be nice to just let things play themselves out - then go overboard. So much is being bantered about that my head is already spinning.
I mean, there was seriously a concern that Durant couldn't bench press 185 pounds? Are the Seattle SuperSonics or the Seahawks expected to select him No. 2 in this draft?
Oden supposedly had "health concerns" over his broken right wrist and a sub-par workout for the Portland Trail Blazers. Are we supposed to now forget that he never lost a home game in high school or at Ohio State?
Oden is expected to be the top pick today, but I find it funny that Oden's agent, Mike Conley Sr., and Portland rookie general manager Kevin Pritchard had to refute an ESPN report that the choice had been made.
I really believe that Oden is going to be great in the NBA. You cannot discount the impact of centers; despite the league's de-emphasis on prototypical big men and the proliferation of high-scoring wing players, Tim Duncan and O'Neal have won eight of the last nine NBA championships - but isn't it unfair to Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, O'Neal, Duncan and Yao Ming to refer to Oden as a once-in-a-generation-type center. In the past 25 years, there have been at least six (and no matter what position he has been masquerading as the past 10 years, Duncan is really a center).
As for the Garnett trade speculation, it's been downright ridiculous. First Boston and Minnesota discuss a deal and Garnett's agent quickly shuts it down (Although I agree with ESPN's Chris Broussard here).
Then, Minnesota and the Lakers begin talking a deal that could force Kobe Bryant to back off from his threat to do everything short of kicking and screaming. But Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale and general manager Mitch Kupchak begin to resemble two miserable participants on "Blind Date" who realize there isn't anything there, but they invite some friends (Indiana and Boston), make it double-date and all four teams go home without making a match.
And most recently, there was a supposed deal between Minnesota, Phoenix and Atlanta that would've put Garnett in Phoenix, Stoudemire in Atlanta (huh?) and the Hawks' lottery picks (No. 3 and No. 11) in Minnesota - until it was later reported that Phoenix and Atlanta never talked.
I feel like that '80s R&B group, Timex Social Club, "I just need some time/ some time to get away from/ from all these rumors/I can't take it no more. . ." But that's what this time of year is about. Teams talk about trades and a few get done. Remember last season, a record 16 deals took place on draft night. Portland was involved in six of them.
But I'm tired of the talk. I need results. I'm hoping for a few tonight.
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