NEW YORK (AP) -Greg Oden is the 1.
The Portland Trail Blazers settled months of debate Thursday night when they chose Oden over fellow college freshman Kevin Durant with the No. 1 pick in a highly anticipated NBA draft.
Portland opted for the 7-footer who can dominate a game with his defense over the sensational scoring of Durant, who would have been the No. 1 pick in many other years after one of the most outstanding freshman seasons in NCAA history.
But franchise centers are hard to find, and most believe the Blazers got one.
As expected, Durant was quickly taken second by the Seattle SuperSonics, who found a replacement if they lose Rashard Lewis to free agency. The 6-9 forward, wearing an orange tie to match Texas' colors, averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds, ranking fourth nationally in both categories, and is considered the most talented player in the draft.
But that wasn't enough to beat out Oden, who led Ohio State to the national championship game despite never playing at full strength after surgery on his right wrist. Still, he averaged 15.7 points and shot nearly 62 percent while drawing comparisons to Bill Russell for his rebounding and shot blocking abilities.
The Pacific Northwest rivals got an immediate jump-start to their rebuilding plans by moving up in last month's lottery to grab the top two picks. Though this is considered the deepest draft in years, Oden and Durant are regarded as the only can't-miss players.
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