I wanted to save this for the off-season, you know, the most exciting time in basketball, but I was up wracking my brain about who would I build my franchise around… Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony?
I have been a big KD fan since his one season at Texas. As a brilliant scorer with ridiculous intangibles and a tremendous upside to his game, Durant will remain a superstar in this league for years to come. A testament to his ability is Durant’s career average of 26.6 ppg and 28.6 ppg in the playoffs. No doubt a monumental talent, however, after the loss to the Grizzlies, I believe he was exposed as that player with huge talent that can’t get it done without help… A la Tracy McGrady.
You want to talk about amazing talent? Well look no further than this man. Color me a contrarian but I always felt that Carmelo had a better and more natural feel to score and create his own shot out of the whole 2003 draft class. Unlike Durant, the caveat in Melo’s game (albeit a well polished but jump shot heavy game), is that no matter who you put around him you have to feed him consistently. That is what what is holding Melo back from a title… Melo. Again, the star in NY has been exposed by having talent around him but not using it to its fullest extent. Somewhere George Karl is in his chair, laughing to himself.
Not much separates Durant and Melo in terms of age and scoring ability. Futures of coaches and franchises depend on their talent. But the question I pose is, who do you build around? That long list of unrestricted free agents is full of players that can contribute. But will Glen Grunwald and Sam Presti address their teams needs this off-season? For some reason, I highly doubt that. However it is fun to engage in conjecture and my answer is Durant all the way.
A few things to remember:
- There have been prior attempts to build around Carmelo Anthony, one of which that caused the apparent end of Allen Iverson’s career and the end of the Denver Nuggets that year
- Kevin Durant is not surrounded by ANY good players. After Westbrook went down, well there just isn’t a team.
- Let’s be honest, we can like and possibly love Mike Woodson and Scott Brooks, but in both situations the reality is that they aren’t good fits for either team.
My solution for the Thunder is to trust Russell Westbrook from this point forward, no matter the outcome. Obviously trying to use the Spurs formula for having a solitary star and a few players that can scarcely fill the stat sheet isn’t working. Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha aren’t your Manu Ginobili and Avery Johnson of days past. Scott Brooks isn’t going to be your Gregg Popovich just because he was a high-profile assistant to a Hall of Fame coach. Be young, be daring, get rid of Kendrick Perkins!
As for the Knicks, two words, one name… Brian Shaw! I don’t think the Knicks watched or even played in half the games against the Hawks because they were so terrible. Why (essentially) recreate that? The Mike-Woodson-ISO-every-possession won’t win that elusive ring and it definitely won’t calm Spike Lee down. Keep Felton, and Kenyon Martin though, Melo will get his, you just make sure you get pieces that will make that investment look sound as possible, Glen Grunwald.