Thabeet and Harden are both Top 5 prospects, They also are the best fits for our team out of the lottery prospects in this draft. Both will add needed attributes to this team, but which one will have the greater impact?
Thabeet is a defensive force, He blocks and changes countless shots. He also runs the floor very well for his size. His improvement from his freshman year to the end of this past season has been impressive and he still has a high ceiling for future growth. At 7'3'' and 265 lbs i think he still has room to put 15 to 20 more lbs on his frame, which would help him against more stout players. Offensively is where he draws criticism but his offense has improved every year and it is no reason to believe with NBA coaching that it won't continue to improve. He may never be a go to post player, but if he can be a dominant rebounder, shot blocker and on offense just finish strong in the paint then he is worth the pick. I personally think he can be more. He has a soft touch around the basket and he is a underrated free throw shooter. Another asset is the fact that we have Nenad Krstic. We don't have to put Thabeet under immediate pressure, whether he starts or not he can share the Center position initially with Krstic, allowing him to grow as a player under less pressure to pay instant dividends. Thabeet is a guy who can instantly shave points off our points per game allowed average and bring us closer to consistently competing for championships, He is a special defensive presence.
Harden has the highest basketball IQ of any player in this draft. He plays like a seasoned vet. He would be a great fit on this team. He can be a knock down spot up shooter, he is strong and gets to the free throw line, he is unselfish and humble which fits perfectly with the make up of this team. He never forces the action on the court, he lets the game come to him and he knows how to get open whether its off of screens or off the dribble. He is not a great one on one player but he knows how to use his strength and angles to get where he wants on the floor. With the attenton Durant will command, the penetration Westbrook makes, and the matchup problems Green creates, Harden would have alot of opportunities to make spot up jumpers. He also adept at making the extra pass or pump faking and getting a even better shot. The knock on Harden is that his ceiling isnt very high and he lacks great athleticism. While he is not a great athlete i think with NBA training that will improve. They will teach him how to take care of his body which will improve his conditioning. There have been reports that he has already took some weight off and looks more explosive in work outs. The question i have in regards to our team is the fact that we have Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Weaver already on the roster. Sefolosha is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, he is also a very good slasher and finisher. Weaver is also a good perimeter defender, is underrated off the dribble and is very smart and fundamentally sound. The only real knock on these two is their ability to consistently hit spot up jumpers, something both have gone on record to say they will work extremely hard in the offseason to improve. If they come back better shooters then drafting Harden is less of a need.
Both players are great fits for this team, but if i had to pick it would have to be Thabeet because i think he can have a greater impact on the game. There are plenty of young teams that could score but with Thabeet on the back line, Westbrook, Sefolosha and Weaver jumping in passing lanes we have a chance to make a real jump as a defensive team in just one year. And in the end defense wins championships.