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kriD
06-29-2006, 02:53 AM
Next 'Dirk' goes No. 1 as deals rule draft night

[By David Moore / The Dallas Morning News]

The player who made it possible for Andrea Bargnani to be taken No. 1 doesn't know the Italian forward, hadn't really heard his name until several months ago.

Now, their games are linked.

Bargnani is the latest reminder of Dirk Nowitzki's rising status in the league. When scouts and general managers describe his game, when Toronto sells his potential to an unsuspecting public, the sharpshooter is compared to Nowitzki.

Wednesday's draft was notable for its wheeling-dealing and Portland's extreme makeover, led by the addition of UT's LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Overall, there were 15 trades involving half the teams in the league.

It didn't stop there. Before the names started flying, the NBA announced it would no longer use a leather ball. Composite material is now in.

On a more subtle note – if it's possible to be more subtle than a ball change – this draft also spoke to Nowitzki's improvement and to how much the sport has changed since he entered the league eight years ago.

A power forward with 3-point range and an offensive mind-set was an oddity in 1998. Look at the top of that draft. Center Michael Olowokandi went first. Point guard Mike Bibby went second. Very traditional.

Nowitzki went ninth, sparking a public debate as to how the Mavericks could skip a quality small forward in Paul Pierce to take an unconventional power forward. Pierce is a wonderful player, but I don't think anyone is debating the merits of taking Nowitzki ahead of Pierce today.

Compare that to what transpired Wednesday.

Four of the first five players selected were power forwards. For the second time in four years, the No. 1 pick didn't play high school or college ball in the United States.

The game has moved to the perimeter. Fewer and fewer forwards play with their backs to the basket. Teams want power forwards who can slash to the basket or hit the outside jumper.

These players are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity. They are the key to teams being able to go with a big lineup or a small one. Power forwards are the nightmare match-up in the league today. That wasn't the case when the Mavericks acquired Nowitzki in '98.

They were ahead of the curve.

Miami's Shaquille O'Neal said during the Finals that Nowitzki is the future of the NBA at the power forward position. He wasn't blowing smoke. A position once populated by physical, yet offensively challenged athletes is now one of the most diverse and talented positions in the league.

Aldridge fits in with this new wave of power forward. The Seagoville High School star needs to polish his offensive game. But he's athletic, runs the floor like a small forward and is versatile.

"I'm real excited for the opportunity to play in Portland," Aldridge said. "Playing in the NBA has been my goal since I was in high school. Portland is in the process of trying to rebuild and trying to start something new, and I feel privileged to be a part of that process."

The ability to play two or three positions is almost a prerequisite for the position. The days of power forwards setting screens and getting out of the way of the offense are long gone.

Nowitzki had a lot to do with the evolution. How did he celebrate his status Wednesday evening?

A few minutes before Toronto selected Bargnani, Nowitzki sat in the Old No. 7 club at American Airlines Center, eating fajitas and joking with the Mavericks staff and media.

"He's a very good person and player," Bargnani told reporters about the Mavericks forward before the draft. "It's an honor to be compared to him. But of course, he is another level of player.

"I will work hard to be the best player I can be."

Work hard enough, and six or seven years from now, general managers may say some future draft pick reminds them of Andrea Bargnani.

dude1394
06-29-2006, 09:05 AM
[B]
A few minutes before Toronto selected Bargnani, Nowitzki sat in the Old No. 7 club at American Airlines Center, eating fajitas and joking with the Mavericks staff and media.


Dang it...Was dirk hanging around the AAC and I missed it? Was ther a watching party?

mqywaaah
06-29-2006, 09:27 AM
Next Dirk? dont think so... not even close. maybe, but not as good

nashtymavsfan13
06-29-2006, 02:26 PM
This guy is the next Vlad Radmonovic, not the next Dirk.

Five-ofan
06-29-2006, 08:52 PM
Detlef Shrimp my friends, Detlef shrimp.

jayC
06-29-2006, 10:36 PM
The next Dirk. . right. Lampe was supposed to be the next .. Dirk. The next European player to play well in the NBA.

some-dude
06-30-2006, 02:32 AM
The next Dirk. . right. Lampe was supposed to be the next .. Dirk. The next European player to play well in the NBA.

I think this guy, unlike Lampe, can be pretty good. He can shoot three's well and I believe he blocked around 2-3 shots per game playing in europe. The Raptors scouted him real hard and Colangelo is a fine GM. He won't be Dirk, but certainly no bust.

birdsanctuary
06-30-2006, 12:13 PM
There will only be one Bird...
There will only be one Dirk...

Thanks for the comparison but he'll be no Dirk... maybe Gasol... but not Dirk...

Scoobay
06-30-2006, 12:34 PM
There will only be one Bird...
There will only be one Dirk...

Thanks for the comparison but he'll be no Dirk... maybe Gasol... but not Dirk...

sorry off topic...
birdsanctuary - please check your PM - can you help me out with suggestions on travel?

Tokey41
07-01-2006, 12:16 AM
I dont know if any of you have actually seen this kid play but... he will be good, not a bust Which for some reason is ALWAYS the case whenever a Euro is drafted and no one knows a damn thing about them (even with Dirk). But as I recall Dirk sucked his rookie year, was not bad but simply sucked. This guy will instantly contribute in TOR but obviously not as a number one option. He wont be Dirk just like Dirk wont be Bird. But he could be as good a player overall if hes taught some defense quickly and consistently.

nashtymavsfan13
07-01-2006, 12:54 AM
I don't think he'll be a bust, but he's not the next Dirk. There is only one Dirk.