I definitely learned one thing after writing the Kevin Durant “piece”. It is so easy to just have an opinion these days. Allow me to explain because I am sure that does not make sense at all. My apologies. With the days of talk radio and shows like Around The Horn and PTI, sports is about as opinionated as ever. And there are opinions on everything. What I noticed after writing about Kevin Durant is that you can talk yourself into believing just about anything. All during the Tournament I was utterly convinced that Texas would fall in either the first or second round. I would have laughed in your face if you tried to tell me they were going to the Sweet 16. They didn’t have enough weapons in my opinion and a bad coach and bad point guard. I was right there.
Then I went ahead and said that there was no way Durant was leaving. I was so convinced, the more I thought about it the more I talked myself into supporting my argument. “He can’t leave…he needs another year to get stronger, he lost in the 2nd round, he’s going to be hungry for more” and all that kind of stuff. Like I literally knew what he was thinking. And that kind of scares me. That’s stuff the media does. And I do not like that at all. That is why I finally said to myself “Hold on buddy…think about both sides.” And thus was this mornings writing spectacle (aka I tried).
Now there is news that Arron Afflalo is forgoing his senior season to go to the Draft. This one I am not so supporting of. He has a big stigma of not showing up for big games. Back-to-back years against Florida he disappeared. Especially disappointing this year, he took a major hit in my eyes after that. But it was truely before this years National Semifinal that Afflalo took a hit. March 8th, in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament, Afflalo was outplayed by Ayinde Ubaka. Afflalo had 3 points (1/7 shooting) in 38 minutes and fouled out. UCLA lost. The interesting thing is Afflalo is consistent with his statistics, so to the naked eye if you were to look at every game it would look like he played well all the time. Very wrong. He disappeared in their late season loss at Washington.
Granted he was the Pac-10 Player of the Year and a 1st Team All-American, those are great credentials. But in the league…does anyone else see some comparisons to Adam Morrison. Afflalo only averaged 3.5 free throw attempts a game this year. To contrast that he average 6.4 three point attempts a game, nearly twice as many threes attempted than free throws. He is a shooter, a streaky one at that. The question is in the NBA will he be able to impose his will and take over like he was in college? I think not. I would love for him to prove me wrong, but I see him struggling like Morrison did.
The main reason I disagree with him leaving is this; UCLA is only going to get better. They have zero, I repeat zero seniors. This isn’t four players coming back, this isn’t a “nucleus” this is the entire team returning. The same team that went 30-6 this year, won the Pac-10 and went to the Final Four. Not only that but they are adding Kevin Love in the post. Love adds an element to UCLA; an actual postman. Mata, Mbah a Moute and the rest are very good at what they do (set screens and rebound) but there is not a team in the World who would ever ever think about doubling them in the post. Matter of fact, most let them catch it in the post. With Love, you throw it in, he’ll (should be able to) be able to score it and his passing is excellent. Now why would you want to leave a potential National Championship to either play for a shitty team or to be on the bench for a good team.
This is the ultimate case of ‘the pros could wait’. It’s going to be sad next March when he’s watching UCLA in the Tournament while (insert NBA team) is on a 7-game losing streak.
Also, good to see Tyler Hansbrough is staying. As much of a bulldog and a beast he is…he needs to develop some post moves ASAP. You can only back down so many people before they end up being bigger and better than you. If he can get some reliable post moves and use his brain a little better I think he could end up being a lot better than most think. He needs to get on some Jack Sikma tapes though.