While sitting at my favorite eating establishment (The Broken Egg in Lakewood Ranch, Florida) recently, a fan came up to me and asked who I would take No. 1 in the NBA draft.
My friends, it is a hot topic of discussion between a pair of diaper dandies who really shined last season. Do you go for help up front in Michael Beasley of Kansas State, or do you look at point guard with Derrick Rose of Memphis? Certainly Rose impressed many with his performance in the NCAA tournament and he might have been voted Most Outstanding Player if the Tigers had won.
I would lean to Rose in a very close call. You really can't go wrong with either player and it may simply come down to the need of the team picking at No. 1. I will say this -- Rose is very rare. You don't get kids like Rose or Chris Paul when he came out of Wake Forest, very often.
A big guy inside like Beasley is a terrific talent. He can also step out and shoot the jumper, which makes him a bigger threat. There is no question that Beasley can be a star in the NBA. He is also a force on the boards after leading the nation at 12.4 per game last season. I really love his talent.
That said, I still think you go for a point guard like Rose first. If I was the New York Knicks, and I won the lottery and had the first choice, I would take the youngster out of Memphis.
In the NBA draft, if you can get that post player that is so, so special like Shaquille O'Neal was, then it is a different story. You have to go for a guy like that because offensively and defensively basketball efficiency starts in that three-second lane. Right now with what is available in this draft, I don't see anyone better than Rose.
He is a guy you can build around because he makes his teammates better. Not only can he score and penetrate, he plays unselfish basketball. I felt he got better with more experience at Memphis.
There is no doubt in my mind that Rose is ready to have a major impact at the next level right away. Beasley will contribute right as way as well, but in this argument, I go with Rose as numero uno on draft day in June.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.