Saturday September 29, 2007 6:14 am
Dropping Dimes Mock Draft 2007: Round 4 Pick 11 - Kevin Durant
The Fig Cap: I’ve got 99 problems and the team colors are two.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rookies are risky. They need to prove themselves. The NBA game is different. They face men every night. The coach is going to be hard on them and playing time needs to be earned. There is no such thing as a sure thing. And so on.
His initials are the same as a cheap (or if that’s too harsh, economical) food substance ingested repeatedly by college kids. And it is well documented that he did not even complete one rep in the bench press segment of the pre-draft workout camp. At this point in the draft there are many skilled players at all positions that could provide solid production throughout the coming year. But I just cannot resist.
Because getting in on the next big thing on the ground floor is a payoff that only comes along so often.
Round 4, Pick 11: Kevin Durant, SG/SF, Seattle SuperSonics
So what kind of stats would a) make Durant a solid fourth round selection and b) even exceed those expectations? 47 picks in before hearing his name called here mean we roughly figure him to be outside the top 20 at a guard or forward position. Using my trusty spreadsheet that I have mentioned in this draft blog here and there, here are the top 30 averages for both guards and forwards. Three guards and forwards were selected from each NBA team based on playing time and their stats from last season were crunched and ranked roto-style.
Guards: 70 GP, 36.0 Min, 19.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.5 topg, 45.3 FG%, 82.0 FT%, 1.6 3pg
Forwards: 70 GP, 36.0 min, 17.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.2 topg, 47.2 FG%, 79.0 FT%, 1.1 3pg
Hmm…it’s a total coincidence that the number of games played and minutes per game were the same. It makes sense though, playing three quarters of the game is what makes a starter in the league. With no all-star veteran on the Seattle roster, everyone assumes (and rightfully so) that Durant will have lots of leeway to score. It could take 20 shots, but he is in the right situation and has the oodles of talent to score 20 points a night as a rookie. And even if he falls a bit short of that, he would still be decent draft value.
College stats do not directly translate to NBA competence. Nevertheless the potential revealed in those numbers tantalizes even the least hardcore stat cruncher. In his lone year with the Longhorns, KD averaged 11.1 boards, shot 40.4% from behind the college three-point line, and averaged 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks a game. He has the all-around game to be a one-one-one contributor right away in the fan fave stats of treys, steals and blocks.
Before Durant, the biggest freshman to jump to the pros was Carmelo Anthony. Here are Melo’s numbers from his rookie campaign.
82 GP, 36:30 Min, 21.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.5 bpg, 3.0 topg, 42.6 FG%, 77.7 FT%, 0.8 3pg
And for good measure, every young star is going to be compared to LeBron James from now on, so here are ‘Bron’s stats from his rookie year, 2003-04.
79 GP, 39:30 Min, 20.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.7 bpg, 3.5 topg, 41.7 FG%, 75.4 FT%, 0.8 3pg
No other rookie has scored 20 ppg since the era of LeBron began.
Durant is assured of the playing time, and should be able to score like ‘Melo and ‘Bron did during their league initiation. Also like those two superstars, Durant should be able to provide good production in the hustle stats. I see him checking in with less steals but more blocks comparatively, but just under one moneyball a game while adjusting to the farther three-point line sounds about right. The other statistic that should be very similar is the low field goal percentage. Durant’s learning curve will include taking lots of tough shots, so anything above 42% this year should trigger a new international holiday. Durant found his way to the line almost eight times a game in college and shot over 81% (209 for 256).
It is a bit ironic that Ray Allen and Durant land on the same team in this mock draft. Together with Kobe, those three make a tough trio to outscore for a head-to-head league. Marcus Camby still mans the frontline by himself, and that will have to be addressed. But this fantasy team is shaping up to succeed with a run and gun style.
Too bad the Oden vs. Durant debate was derailed before it even began. Durant cannot help where he was drafted. He can only try to outhype the hype machine around him. From what I have read about him, it sounds like he has the mentality and the drive to do just that.
Oh yeah, and by the way, the staff at Dropping Dimes were all recruited to be feature writers for a fantasy publication! Click here if you are jonesing for some Basketball Action. The hardcopy editions should be available on newstands soon.
Previous Picks this Round
4.1. Joe Johnson, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks
4.2. Kevin Martin, SG, Sacramento Kings
4.3. Brandon Roy, PG/SG, Portland Trailblazers
4.4. Jason Richardson, SG, Charlotte Bobcats
4.5. Mike Bibby, PG, Sacramento Kings
4.6. Ron Artest, SF, Sacramento Kings
4.7. Josh Howard, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks
4.8. Raymond Felton, PG/SG, Charlotte Bobcats
4.9. Emeka Okafor, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
4.10 Tyson Chandler, C, New Orleans Hornets
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