Down goes Durant

Kevin Durant and the Texas Longhorns lost to the mighty USC Trojans yesterday in tournament play. Durant, for those who don't know, is the presumed #2 pick in the draft, a power forward who combines Tracy McGrady's scoring touch with Kevin Garnett's intensity on defense. With the Celtics currently holding the second-worst record in the NBA, one would be forgiven for mentally picturing him in green on the floor of the TD Banknorth Garden next year alongside Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson. Danny Ainge apparently thinks so; he was fined for chatting up Durant's mother during the Big 12 tournament.

But, it's tough to bet on the lottery. Remember 1997 when the Celtics clearly tanked so they could get Tim Duncan? They ended up with Chauncey Billups, who did turn into an all-star caliber point guard ... four years later with the Minnesota Timberwolves. So here are some players you can watch who are still alive in the tournament who could still wind up hearing their name called by David Stern on draft day as the newest member of the Boston Celtics (for more on the draft, check out, a comprehensive site with a mock draft and scouting reports, also Chad Ford at has some good stuff):

  • Greg Oden, Ohio State - The dominant big man is projected to go #1 in the draft and barring anything extreme, he will go number one. He's drawing comparisons to all-world centers like Shaquille O'Neal and David Robinson. The Buckeyes play Tennessee this Thursday
  • Julian Wright, North Carolina - The freshman projects third on some boards, but much lower on others. He's another big man, but not as polished or consistent as Oden or Durant. The Tar Heels play the aforementioned Trojans of USC on Friday.
  • Joakim Noah and Al Horford, Florida - These two forwards both would have been top-ten picks last year had they decided to come out following the Gators' title run. By staying at school, their stock has probably fallen a little (down to the 4-6 range), like Matt Leinart's last year. Doesn't make much sense to us, but hey. Watch 'em in action on Friday against the Butler Bulldogs.
  • Julian Wright, Kansas - One of the big risers in recent weeks, Wright has impressed people with his size, athleticism, and passing ability. The Phoenix Suns get Atlanta's pick this year, which could mean Wright falling into their laps at #5, which would probably make them the favorites going into the '07-'08 season. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Wright and the Jayhawks play the Salukis of Southern Illinois this Friday.
  • Jeff Green, Georgetown - Our personal favorite right now, another guy whose stock has skyrocketed in the past few weeks, from virtual unknown to top-eight status. He's another forward who can do it all - score, play defense, and create opportunities for his teammates. The Hoyas get Vanderbilt next.
  • | More

     Friends' Activity   Popular 
    All Blogs
    Follow the Phoenix
    • newsletter
    • twitter
    • facebook
    • youtube
    • rss
    Latest Comments
    Search Blogs
    Phlog Archives