What would lottery teams do with the No. 1 pick?

Originally Published: March 5, 2007
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
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In July, I wrote that for the first time since 2003, there wouldn't be much debate about who would be the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft.

Greg Oden
AP Photo/Tom StrattmanOhio State's Greg Oden could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Ohio State center Greg Oden was head and shoulders above the crowd, an athletic, 7-foot center with an NBA body and a great work ethic.

In July, I also said a gangly recruit at Texas, Kevin Durant, was the second-best prospect for the 2007 draft. It wasn't a particularly popular position at the time, given that Florida big man Joakim Noah had decided to return for his junior year and many felt that Durant, although talented, wasn't ready for prime time.

Eight months later, things have gotten very interesting. Durant has been not only the best freshman in the country but the best player in college basketball, period. His amazing all-around game and gaudy stats have wowed even the most traditional college basketball purists.

Meanwhile, Oden has been good, but not dominant. A broken right wrist caused him to miss the first seven games of the season, and he has been forced to use his left hand on offense for much of the season.

Put Durant's dominance together with Oden's obstacles and the question about who should be No. 1 has turned into the best debate in sports.

We already discussed who should be No. 1 on several occasions, including blog responses to Bill Simmons and GMs and readers who have chimed in on the issue.

But the debate has left out one important factor. Despite the claim by many GMs that they take the best player available, team needs still matter to most teams.

If your team has a dominant center, will you really pass on Durant and take Oden?

If you're stacked at the 3 and have nothing in the middle, how can you pass on Oden?

The past few weeks, Insider talked to scouts and/or executives from every team projected to be in the draft lottery in an effort to determine what each would do with the No. 1 pick. Some teams were open; some refused to answer.

Based on what I'm hearing, here's my take on where each team stands in the debate to determine the answer to the big question: Who's No. 1?

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider