Wednesday , Apr , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Wrap-up For April 11

Breaking down the days top NBA stories. Find out why some believe Durant should go first overall, read Mike Conley Sr.’s quotes about Oden likely declaring, and weigh in on Detroit winning home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs

Top Three Stories

1) Examining Chad Ford’s argument for Durant going ahead of Oden
2) ….Hold on, Oden hasn’t officially declared-or has he?
3) Pistons lock up home-court advantage

1) Chad Ford, ESPN’s insider, lists several reasons why Kevin Durant should go first overall

What happened:
This week, officially declared for the NBA draft, killing all the speculation and gossip. He’s in, heading straight for the NBA.

This renewed speculation and gossip of a different kind: should Durant be the first overall pick? Let’s take a closer look at Chad Ford’s argument for taking Durant first overall?

Chad Ford believes:

  • Durant’s a better basketball player.
  • Durant has the ability to be a lock-down defender.
  • Durant has superstar intangibles.
  • not every team needs a center.
  • Durant could be the next Jordan. 

My Take:
"I think Ford deserves credit. He’s doing more than challenging the conservative pick of Oden at first overall. Ford’s challenging the concept that franchises have to build around the center spot and automatically draft big. "

"Ford’s proposing a new and different way of thinking. But I think there are several examples reinforcing his argument. First off, in the 1984 draft, Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie both went ahead of Michael Jordan because NBA GMs played it safe and went big. Who won that draft? "

"Second, last July, the Raptors traded power forward Charlie Villanueva to Milwaukee for point guard T.J. Ford. Again, analysts thought the Bucks won the deal because they got the bigger player. Right now, I think Toronto wins that deal, hands down."

"Ford’s argument has merit. Instead of going the conventional route of building through the 5-spot, he’s encouraging us to think outside-the-box and consider building through other positions. "

2) It looks like Oden will declare for the draft?

 What happened: There are rumors and signs that Ohio State center will also officially declare for the draft.

Oden will reportedly hire Mike Conley Sr., a family friend and the father of teammate Mike Conley Jr., as his interim representative for the draft, so he can take his time and select an agent.

Reaction of Mike Conley Sr.
on the process Oden will face:
“I anticipate them (Oden and Conley Jr.) putting their name in, but not signing. Believe it or not, the boys are naive to the process and they need to be educated to all of it. There are different dynamics with both of them. In Michael’s case, he came on rapidly at the end and didn’t have a lot of planning on this. People have been talking to Greg for a year or two on this, but it took Michael by storm.” (ESPN Insider Andy Katz)

 Reaction of Mike Conley Sr. on when Oden will officially declare:
“Conley Sr. said he doesn’t think his son or Oden, whom he coached during the summer circuit while Oden was in high school, will wait until the April 29 deadline. An Ohio State spokesperson said Tuesday that Oden hasn’t set any kind of timetable for a decision.” (ESPN Insider Andy Katz)

My Take:

"Okay, Oden is in. He may not announce it for a while. He may take a more cautious approach than Durant and avoid officially hiring an agent, but he’s in. I can’t see him leaving all that money on the table."

"So prepare for more of the Durant or Oden debate. I still, even after giving credit to Ford’s argument, think Oden will go first overall. Who’s the better player? Only time will tell."

3) Detroit wins home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs

What Happened: The secured home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs by beating the 104-99 on Wednesday night.

The reaction of Flip Saunders
on securing home-court advantage:
“I don’t think we ever anticipated we weren’t going to have (the top seed). “It’s an opportunity now to play our bench a little more." (

Reaction of Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince
on securing home-court advantage:
“What Joe (Dumars) has brought here, the players he’s brought here and the things we’ve done since we’ve been here, this is pretty much not what we came to play for. You guys know from what you see around here that we’re not going to celebrate even if we get to the Finals. Everybody knows what we’re trying to do.” (

Detroit guard Chauncey Billups on what his team needs to work on for the playoffs:
"That’s been a problem for us all year. We get teams down and then we let off the pedal a little bit and they get back in the game. Most of the time we end up on top but it’s a scary situation to be in. Hopefully when we know that games mean a lot more in the playoffs we won’t let that happen. It’s something that we need to keep our finger on." (

My Take:
"I see home-court giving Detroit three distinct advantages. First, they can rest their starting unit, giving certain players time off for the last four games. The Pistons play a grinding sort of game that takes a toll on players. All of their starters could use the rest."

"Second, the bench will receive extra minutes and need to use this time to get in rhythm. I really feel this is important. In 2004, Detroit’s second unit consisted of Mike James, Chucky Atkins, Mehmet Okur, Corliss Williamson, Eldon Campbell, and Lindsey Hunter. With such a talented bench, it’s no surprise they won the NBA Title that year. To win again, the Pistons must get contributions from their second unit."

"Finally, home-court advantage obviously means four of every seven playoff games go through The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan."

Come back tomorrow morning for another edition of the NBA Wrap-up, featuring Oly Sandor’s cutting-edge analysis. Got a comment or question? Use the comment box or email Oly at [email protected]