clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ring Theory

As JM has pointed out in a diary Brian Hendrickson has published a very nice article in the Columbian about Pritchard and his outlook.  I will admit again that I need to start paying a lot more attention to Mr. Hendrickson and his work.  Everything he does is really, really good.

In any case part of the article had to do with risk-taking, which has become a common theme in the Oden/Durant debate.  Hendrickson's general question was, "Do you take the guy that history says should give you one or two rings (in the mold of Duncan et al) or do you gamble on the guy who might give you 3-6 times that much (a la Jordan)?"  It's a fascinating question, mostly because for me it causes a 180-degree turn in my usual mode of thinking.

I'm generally a risk-taker and I want rings.  If you present me two guys, one that is going to be very good but probably won't bring championships and the other who is much more of a risk but might bring a title, I'll go for the second guy nearly every time.  That's what you're in the business for, right?

However if you say to me, "Here's a guy who will probably bring you a title but here's another guy who could leave you short but could bring you six" I will reverse course and want the guy who brings the bankable run.  To me the gap between zero championships and one is far bigger than that between two and six.  History shows us that there are so many, many, MANY things that can derail you even when you're good enough to be a contender.  Basically the way I see it if you leave any gap of uncertainty you're not going to win it all. Dallas and Phoenix are prime examples today and our own history is colored with such stories.  To me it would be far worse to make the wrong choice and get no rings than it would be to make the wrong choice and get only some instead of all you could have.

Now obviously in HINDSIGHT you'd make the perfect decision.  Don't come at me with the "So you'd rather have Houston's two championships than Chicago's six?" argument.  Of course not.  But we only know about that because it's already passed.  If we knew 100% about Durant right now and he was the six championship guy of course you'd take him without a second thought.  But if you take me back to 1984 without the benefit of knowing and ask me whether I'd take Jordan or Olajuwon I'd pick (H)akeem every time.  And if the argument as set up in Hendrickson's article is true and the Blazers are guessing Oden is a sure ring or two while Durant may be none or may be more, then I'm going with Oden.

--Dave (