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The Jump – Watching Greatness

Tuesday night is a chance for Phoenix Suns fans to watch greatness in the making. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant- at the ripe age of 21- is sending shockwaves through the National Basketball Association.

To truly understand how good Durant can be you have to go back to his one year at the University of Texas. In his short time there he was the most dominant college freshman I have ever seen (remember I’m 25 years old). Carmelo Anthony was excellent at Syracuse, but he had a tremendous supporting cast. Michael Beasley at Kansas State put up similar numbers, but it never seemed like he took over games like Durant did, and Derrick Rose at Memphis was not as mesmerizing.

Fast forward four years to the 2009-10 NBA season and Durant makes the game look just as easy for him as he did that one incredible year at UT.

Here is the question I pose to everyone: If you are going to clear every single NBA roster and re-create the league with a NBA Live 2010 style dynasty draft, who goes after LeBron?

This is not a short-term decision; you are trying to build a team that can win championships for the next 5-7 years.

Kobe Bryant is out, too many miles; he only has three years left of playing at the highest level.

Dwayne Wade’s body has taken more of a beating by the age 28 than any of the prostitutes from the HBO documentary Hookers at the Point.

You have to be a little bit worried about Chris Paul’s knee injury, so that drops him out of the top five.

Carmelo Anthony has played at the elite level for only three quarters of one season. Think about it, Anthony wasn’t even a candidate to go in the first round of fantasy basketball drafts this season.

There are only two logical options: Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard.

Here is why I go with Durant:

• When you are down one with less than two minutes in the game, Durant has the ball in his hands and it is not even a question. Because of Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting he is not even an option. To build your team around Howard you would need to draft someone in the second round that could be your go to guy at the end of games.

• Both are good teammates and seem like really nice guys, but you get the feeling that Dwight Howard is almost too nice. He has not yet developed that killer instinct. Howard is content to average his 19 points, 14 boards and 3 blocks. The man should be beasting on the NBA right now; he is the most physically imposing player in the league, and there is no reason for him not to be averaging 17-19 rebounds per game. Durant brings it every night, as shown by his ridiculous streak of 28 consecutive games scoring over 25 points.

• The NBA game has changed to favor perimeter players. When Howard has the ball in the post he can be grabbed, pushed, and physically beaten up. If a defender lays one finger on Durant it is a foul. This is a huge advantage for KD.

A couple quick notes on Tuesday’s Suns game:

* As much as they are going to miss Steve Nash, Goran Dragic is a better match-up to help the Suns defend Russell Westbrook. In the past two Thunder games Westbrook manhandled smaller guards- Sergio Rodriguez, Eddie House and Jonny Flynn. Dragic is a bigger body to throw at the dynamic point guard.

* As the multimedia mogul Dave Burns discussed in his podcast, Tuesday is a huge opportunity for Amar’e Stoudemire, a chance for him to show his true worth as a franchise caliber player. Right now Amar’e is behind Durant in the player of the month race for February. If he can impose his will on Tuesday’s game and lead the Suns to a victory that might give him a chance. We all know how much STAT likes those individual awards.

Please leave your comments or questions and you can follow me on twitter at Bgibbs10