And writers and editors are certain that readers love predictions, too. They are provocative, are made in the spirit of good fun, and they certainly get conversations going among avid basketball fans.
And so what if they turn out to be absolute folly? Who gets hurt? Nobody.
I can remember being at the 1996 NBA Finals doing feverish mathematical tables projecting how quickly Shawn Kemp, then only 26, would eclipse 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. Well, it's 10 years later and I can't remember what I came up with, but Kemp has been out of the league for three years and he never reached either milestone.
2006 is also about the time when most people (including me) felt Grant Hill would be putting the finishing touches on a certain Hall of Fame career. Now, we just root for him to get through a full season. So any prediction is eminently fallible.
The 2003 NBA Draft delivered some spectacular talents to the NBA in the persons of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Their amazing accomplishments over the first three seasons and their tantalizing potential have all of us who live and die with the NBA falling all over ourselves asking questions and making predictions about these guys. Is LeBron the next Michael Jordan? How many championships can D-Wade win? Can Carmelo win an NBA scoring title? Will Bosh eventually be even better than KG?
But the 2003 draft was special in other ways, too. It was so deep, that the 29th and last player chosen in the first round, Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks, has already become a star on one of the best teams in the NBA. And another lightly-regarded player chosen 21st overall that year, Boris Diaw, now with the Phoenix Suns, has shown signs that he has arrived as one of the most versatile and intriguing players in the NBA.
Tony Gutierrez / AP
Boris Diaw tallied 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists for the Suns, and became an even bigger offensive factor in the playoffs, averaging 18.7 ppg.
Howard averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds last season playing for the Mavericks on the NBA's deepest roster. Diaw tallied 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists for the Suns, and became an even bigger offensive factor in the playoffs, averaging 18.7 ppg.
The achievements of Howard and Diaw have already surpassed most of the players chosen after the first seven picks of the 2003 draft. They are each key performers for teams with realistic NBA championship hopes.
Which of these two fine young players, then, will turn out to be better? Let's examine the evidence and see if we can make an educated guess, a prediction, about who will achieve more in his NBA career.
At 6-foot-6, Howard is two inches shorter than the 6-8 Diaw. He is the superior perimeter shooter and has a greater ability to take defenders off the dribble. He is a fiery player who rises to the challenge defensively and can defend guards as well as small forwards.
Diaw, on the other hand, is a player who can comfortably play in any area of the court. His terrific court vision means he's a threat to get an assist whether he is facing the basket at the top of the key, playing with his back to the basket in the post, or feeding an interior player from a spot on the wing. As a youngster playing for Pau Orthez in France, it wasn't unusual for Diaw to finish a game with more assists than points. But as he proved in the playoffs, Diaw can score plenty of points when his team needs him to do so.
Y! Sports: For Roy Hibbert, a sense of ownership means knowing he should have fought to get in the game with two seconds remaining in overtime, when his absence allowed LeBron James to hit the winning lay-up.
PBT: After it looked like Paul George's heroics would sink the Heat in Game 1, LeBron James stunned Indiana with a layup as time expired to lift Miami in OT.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
LeBron: 'I just made a layup'
LeBron James hit the game-winning shot as time expired in overtime to beat the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, but he says, "I just made a layup."
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