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The Key Ingredient

Sorry to leave you with questions the last couple days instead of well thought-out, impeccably-constructed hoo-hah, but I've been on some very long road trips which have left my energy supply almost dry.  The hoo-hah will have to wait for the weekend.

HOWEVER, fear not!  As I was driving today I was thinking that the key ingredient to any championship team, let alone repeat championship team, is defense.  Good "D" is one of the hardest things to quantify statistically.  Like pornography, you just know it when you see it.  A lot of it depends on team effort and commitment, which gives us an immediate leg up as this team has been constructed to feature those exact qualities.  You still have to have some ability/talent however, and therein lies today's discussion.

A fool with cataracts in one eye and a pickle stuck in the other could look at this team and tell that our strongest defensive position is center.  Joel Przybilla is a good defender.  Greg Oden has the potential to be a great one.  As we said a couple days ago, one excellent big-man defender can bolster your entire lineup.  But that doesn't change the fact that outside of the center position, our defensive credentials are...somewhat spotty.

Given that, here are the questions at hand:

1.  After the two big men, who's the best defender on this team?  If you prefer to pick one frontcourt and one backcourt defender to highlight that's fine too.

2.  Which player currently on the squad has the best chance to develop into a good defender and why?

3.  Outside of the center position, which position is going to be the most critical to our defensive success in the coming years?  Where do we need a great defender to balance the pivot men?

4.  How good do you see us being defensively as we inch into our prime years?

I am curious to hear your responses.