*Poof* What do you need? *Poof* What do you need? *Poof* What do you need?
Let’s assume you’ve just found a genie. Don’t ask how. You just like rubbing things, and got lucky one time. So, genie. And let’s say you’ve already used your first two wishes. Who wouldn’t spend a couple of wishes to get rhythm and music? That’s all a man really needs in life. But for your third wish, you’re a little perplexed. You want to spend it on the Kentucky Wildcats’ recruiting class, but don’t know which star recruit to pick. Well, let’s open it up for debate and try to answer that for you. IF you only got to pick one, and doing so guaranteed that the other wouldn’t come, who would you choose between Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammed?
Rashawn Franklin, Stuart Hammer, and I had a conversation on Twitter (Twittersation? No, that’s stupid. Forget it.) yesterday to this very same effect. Rashawn clearly falls on one side, having seen some of the players in action in Chicago.
If it comes down to one or the other y’all know who I got. #Bazz
– Rashawn Franklin (@RFranklinKSR) April 10, 2012
There’s no doubt that Shabazz’s offensive package is pretty complete. He can score in literally every way possible, and attacks the rim with a ferocity we haven’t seen in… well, just a few days, I guess. MKG did that pretty well. But throw in a smooth jumpshot with that driving ability, add great size (seriously… GREAT size), and you’ve got a not-annoying, even better Austin Rivers. Seriously, I think Shabazz makes that guy look like a chump. Put Shabazz on the wings with Archie Goodwin, let Ryan Harrow do his thing, and you’ve got one of the best backcourts in the country. It’s clear why Rashawn would want Shabazz, and that’s certainly not a wrong answer.
Stuart and I, however, respectfully disagreed. At this point, I’m operating under the assumption that the talent levels are a push. These are both tremendous players, and both have been ranked #1 in this year’s recruiting class at some time or another. That’s no easy feat. I couldn’t even break the top 100, and I was solid in high school. (I’m sorry for lying, I’m terrible at basketball. I just wanted to impress you so we could be friends.) But Stu and I were of the opinion that the need for Nerlens is just too strong.
@RFranklinKSR he may be a better player, i just see a gaping hole in the frontcourt. goodwin’s got SG, so we won’t be lacking there.
– Corey Nichols (@coreynicholsKSR) April 10, 2012
– Stu Hammer (@StuartHammerKSR) April 10, 2012
Let me say this: There’s no replacement for Anthony Davis. He’s a once-in-a-generation player, and to expect another like him the year after may be asking too much. However, if somebody could hope to do that, Nerlens is that man. Touted as one of the best shot-blockers coming out of high school, he would certainly allow our defensive presence to be as, if not more intimidating than last year, especially around the rim. However, should we miss on Noel, there are other great frontcourt players out there, like Anthony Bennett and Alex Oriakhi. Shabazz may be the best guy at his spot by a mile.
So what do you think? Clearly, both of these guys are special. We’ve known that for a while. So there’s no wrong, or right, answer here. The idea that both could wear Kentucky blue next season has me salivating like Pavlov’s pitbull in the Notre Dame bell tower. Thankfully, for the next 10 and a half hours or so, there’s a chance that we could land them both. That would take this team from being potentially good, to being a legitimate contender. But, say you could only get one of those wishes granted; which would it be?