Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Durant to Celts?

With the news that Texas freshman, Kevin Durant, will enter the upcoming NBA Draft...it should be noted that he will leave as the 2nd most prolific scorer, as a freshman, in college history. The best?? None other than former LSU guard, Chris Jackson -- whom now goes by the name of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

I have many thoughts and strong opinions on this coming draft class -- and I will make them known by week's end. But, for now...I would like to reflect upon Jackson's (nearly) unparalled potential:

At all times, Chris Jackson was the fastest player on the court. He could get to the rim at will --all while possessing unlimited range on his jumper. With the exception of very few (think the Tim Hardaway's of the world), he had the best handle -- and was a tremendous passer.

Per a piece on Temple3... Chris Jackson (aka, Abdul-Rauf) has been erased from the memory of most sports announcers because of his ill-fated professional decision to sit during the singing of the national anthem. There was no way for him to win by taking that position. His home was firebombed as a result of that decision. His NBA career did not end immediately, thanks to consideration from those Vegas gamblers: the Maloof brothers and owners of the Sacramento Kings. But, after his stint with the Kings ended, Abdul-Rauf played in Turkey, Russia, Italy and Greece.

Jackson suffered from Tourette's Syndrome. He became a Muslim over the course of his career and fasted during Ramadan (Olajuwon did the same thing during his career, but his frame and stature seemed to handle the weight loss much better).

When comparing Jackson's collegiate game to many other offensive superstars, his talent was certainly comparable to nearly all.

* Allen Iverson? Jackson was a much better shooter, a better ball handler, and equally as fast.
* Chris Paul? Not even close.
* Bobby Hurley? Different universe.
* Gary Payton? In college, Payton was still dominant on the box -- but his complete offensive game didn't start to take shape until later in the pro's.
* Tim Hardaway? Much, much slower -- and not as dominant from the line in clutch situations.
* Kevin Johnson? Explosive, great jump-shooter, tremendous wheels, and great free-throw shooter...but, all these attributes couldn't supersede Jackson's lightning quick release.
* Terrell Brandon? Close - all the tools, but 30 PPG (from a frosh) in the SEC is tough to match.
* Sam Cassell? All the old school tools any hoopster could ever ask for…not a speedster, but unnaturally clutch.
* Nash? Great player, but not comparable collegiately…apples and oranges.
* Pearl Washington? Aside from the speed, free throw shooting and jump shot range, they’re about even. Pearl could get streaky from outside, but that was not a reliable source of points for him.
* Sherman Douglas? Hell no.
* Stephon Marbury? Not from the outside.
* Kenny Anderson? Not from the outside.
* Mark Price? Everything - including the speed (if not the quickness in tight spaces and the hops) and free-throw shooting.

What it comes down to is...as a collegiate PG, only Isiah Thomas is/was comparable because "Zeke" could have scored at will for Bob Knight's Indiana teams. Isiah was an excellent free throw shooter, though not quite as good as Jackson. "Zeke" was a prolific passer. Both players had lightning quick hands and were terrors for opposing PG's to beat off the dribble - but, Isiah was the better defensive player.

LSU’s media guide refers to Chris Jackson as the “most celebrated freshman of all time.” It’s been almost 20 years...and counting.

1 comment:

Cary said...

a couple points---

his D sucked and that hurt him in the nba.

his range was not great, but he had the quickest release ever and a great crossover.

the Tourette's really affected him. living his whole life on the Gulf Coast then having to move to the Mile High City affected the medication he had to take for Tourette's. That's why he lost the weight.

Was a more explosive jumper early in college career. Had an ankle injury and rarely dunked after that. Before, alley-oops to him were not uncommon.

In all though, was still a good NBA scorer--averaged over 20 pts for more than one season.