Michael Beasley vs. Greg Oden: Which Top Pick Is More Valuable?
Even after an atrocious 82 game season, an NBA team can turn themselves around in an instant, with a single ping pong ball.
Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers fans about the 2002-2003 campaign, in which the Cavaliers compounded only 17 wins and then landed the No. 1 overall pick. They were able to land the hometown kid, LeBron James and he was able to lead them to the NBA Finals in just his fourth season.
Similarly, the Blazers had the same in mind when they drafted the Bill Russell clone Greg Oden, who's enjoyed showing off his new mohawk, as opposed to the skills he posesses.
The Grizzlies and Heat have absolutely nothing to show for themselves thus far this year, but everything can turn around in a second. Each team is hoping to land the No. 1 pick in this year's draft; a draft which, at the top, may be the deepest since 2003.
After seeing the amount of trades at the deadline this year, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be a general manager. I decided to focus on the draft and starting looking deep into it. Owning the No. 1 pick in this upcoming draft would be a simple decision: draft Kansas State freshman phenom Michael Beasley.
Although there are many talented young prospects available, the choice would be made with no hesitiation. Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo and Eric Gordon all have superstar potential, but there's no way any team can pass up the five-star skill set that Beasley posesses.
The real decision would occur when choosing between Beasley and Oden. Although this decision will never have to be made by a general manager, it's an interesting argument.
The cliche goes, "never go small over big." In this instance, there is no small. Oden, even though he hasn't played in a game for the Blazers yet, is a true center. Beasley, on the other hand, possesses many different abilities that would classify him as a 'tweener'. With Beasley's 6'9" frame, his best bet is at PF.
Beasley is like an ultra-version of David West. He can score from everywhere on the floor inside-out and doesnt need to be feed by a good PG, unlike Oden who had fellow lottery pick, and good friend, Mike Conley Jr. In one of the biggest stages, Beasley had 39-11-3 against Kansas and it was an "off game" for him. Beasley has a 7'0" wing span and a 9'1" reach, allowing him to play even bigger than his height.
Teams have not only doubled him but they've changed their entire defensive schemes (i.e. what they usually run) to try to custom tailor it to stop him. He gets doubled, he'll get tripled, opposing teams have put in guys who's only real job is to push him and hit him and try to get him to commit technical fouls or otherwise get him flustere, as one of his knocks is his attitude.
There also seemed to be a lot of “going through the motions” defensively earlier in the season with Beasley, but his aggressiveness has been much better of late, with him getting into tougher defensive stances, contesting more outside shots, and fighting a little harder to hold position in the post.
Beasley, averaging 26.5 points and 12.5 rebounds a game, has the ability to stretcth the defense with his three-point shooting ability. Beasley connected on all four of his three-points attempts in a game earlier this year against Kansas, and with that, he was able to set up his ability to shoot off the dribble.
Beasley has all the offensive tools to make him a complete superstar on the next level, whereas Oden has the defensive presence liking him to Bill Russell. Oden was able to absolutely dominate inside with his ability to finish with both hands (if you recall, he shot left-handed free throws for most of the season while nursing a broken right hand).
Oden’s potential impact on the game due to his physical and athletic gifts alone is out of this world. Only Michael Beasley can control just how high of a ceiling he has. It is clear that the multi-talented forward is very much a high-risk, high-reward type of prospect.
Beasley has every tool you could ask for in a professional forward prospect and he is as NBA-ready as possible for a 19-year old fresh out of high scool.
When all is said and done, if I held the first pick in a draft with both of these two superstars sitting on top, the final card turned into the league office would display "Michael Beasley F/ Kansas State".
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