Sunday Click is a weekly trip around the country in search of the best of the NBA columnists the web has to offer.

SECAUCUS, NJ, June 24, 2007 -- The 2006-07 season finished just last week, and we're already four days away from the beginning of the new year. The 2007 NBA Draft takes place at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Oden or Durant? Draft for need or best player available? Sure thing or potential star? There are a lot of questions to be answered, and the columnists try to do just that.

The New Class

David Aldridge of the Philadelphia Inquirer previews the draft, starting with the Big Two ...

They have the kind of talent that makes grown men swoon - and conspire quietly to tank basketball games.

But all that is over now, leaving Ohio State center Greg Oden and Texas forward Kevin Durant where they've been for the last six months - projected to go first and second overall in Thursday's NBA draft in New York, the linchpins of one of the best classes in recent history. -- Read More

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News does the same ...

Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard showed up for work the other day on two hours of sleep. He spent the night watching tape of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, trying to unearth any information that would lead the Blazers to take one over the other. As Pritchard said, "I don't want to make a mistake."

He won't. -- Read More

As Ivan Carter of the Washington Post writes, landing a big man is a big deal ...

Ernie Grunfeld knows what kind of impact a great center can have on a franchise, a city and a league. Currently the president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards, Grunfeld was winding down his playing career with the New York Knicks in 1985 when the Knicks won the first NBA draft lottery, and with it the right to select Georgetown's Patrick Ewing.

"Getting Patrick changed everything," Grunfeld said.
-- Read More

Dave D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger addresses the biggest questions going into Thursday ...

The process still has a whimsical quality to it. Why they feel the need to discuss the same players every hour for a month is a bit odd, because it's really no different from the time you chose sides for pick-up games as a kid. No one gave you scouting reports. You just watched some kid dribble, pass and shoot and decided you wanted him on your team because he could play, or you wanted him on the other team because he couldn't.

Of course, the price of failure is a little different now. Make the wrong choice as a kid, and you just wait a half-hour to get back on the court. Make the wrong choice now, and your owner is out $4 million to $15 million over the next three years, and you're out of a job. -- Read More

Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the choices the Bucks may be looking at when their pick comes up at No. 6 ...

The Milwaukee Bucks still have plenty to do as they head into the final days leading to the NBA draft Thursday.

There are still players to be worked out and evaluated. There is the seemingly never-ending task of trying to figure out what the teams drafting ahead of them will do before the Bucks use their No. 6 pick. There just might be a trade or two to ponder. And, there will be any number of other questions to answer.
-- Read More

Scott Howard-Cooper of the Sacramento Bee takes a closer look at the Hawks and Clippers, two teams in need of a floor general ...

The Hawks are still in a tough spot. They choose third and need a point guard and have a clear path to Mike Conley Jr. but also have signaled an interest to trade the pick.

It might be because they have tired of waiting for kids to develop every year and prefer to add a veteran, or it might be because they think Conley at No. 3 is a reach. Either way, Atlanta finding a way not to take another forward could last all the way into Thursday evening, with the option of going point guard at No. 11 with Acie Law or hometown product Javaris Crittenton. -- Read More

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says that the rule keeping high-schoolers from entering the draft has had nothing but positive results ...

A year ago, the perspective was that it was a dream interrupted.

Had the NBA not invoked its ban on high school eligibility starting with the 2006 draft, it is possible Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Thaddeus Young, Javaris Crittenton, Brandan Wright and Spencer Hawes already would be in the league.

Instead, the NBA demanded patience. -- Read More

And Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times examines the rule that allows potential draftees to test the waters and go back to school if they're not ready for the NBA ...

Georgetown center Roy Hibbert stuck his toe in, and pulled it back almost immediately.

Marquette guard Dominic James sat on the edge with both feet in, but before long he was gone. Nevada's starting backcourt, point guard Ramon Sessions and shooting guard Marcelus Kemp, jumped in together and swam for a while. Sessions wound up staying while Kemp got out. -- Read More

Loyalty

Kevin Garnett will not publicly ask for a trade, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want one, as Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News writes ...
As Kobe Bryant has finally managed to crawl back under his rock, at least for the time being, Kevin Garnett won't go public with a trade demand. He'd never lower himself to Kobe's classless tactics and is ultra-loyal to Minnesota owner Glen Taylor.

But according to a teammate who spoke with Garnett last week, Minnesota's franchise talent was angered by the team's recent trade talks with Boston. The Celtics never had a shot at landing Garnett - who wanted no part of a reunion with ex-teammate Wally Szczerbiak - because they didn't have the pieces. -- Read More

But as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes, Celtics fans don't want to trade Al Jefferson and the No. 5 pick for Garnett ...

The possibility of bringing Kevin Garnett to Boston and sending Al Jefferson [stats] and the No. 5 pick in Thursday's draft to Minnesota may not be as dead as some people think.

And amazingly enough, Celtics [team stats] Nation is not breaking down the door in an attempt to see it through.

As of Friday afternoon, in response to a question on bostonherald.com asking whether the Celtics should trade Jefferson and the pick, the answer was an emphatic no.
-- Read More

But Peter May of the Boston Globe believes that Danny Ainge's willingness to deal the pick for veteran help is a good thing ...

Anyway, the encouraging development to come out of the Garnett Diss is that the Celtics are actively shopping the fifth pick. They need to keep at it (but not for someone like Sebastian Telfair). If Danny Ainge drafts Yi Jianlian Thursday night, Paul Pierce's head is going to explode and he will turn into the Eastern Conference's Kobe Bryant Friday.
-- Read More

The Most Celebrated Winner in Sports

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post recounts a NBA meeting in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago where we had a special guest speaker ...
Some things you never forget, no matter how cluttered the compartments of your mind become over the years...
-- Read More