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Ewing had a superb career but a ring-less one. To the end, he was a dependent player whose fortunes could be subverted by John Starks shooting 2-for-18 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 1994.

If the Trail Blazers truly wanted what was potentially the biggest bang with their No. 1 pick, their choice should have been Durant.

The risk was that the Trail Blazers brain trust could have ended up looking mighty foolish years from now if Durant ends up being nothing more than Glenn Robinson.

The big/small quandary is forever a challenge to personnel gurus.

Big guys are always the safer picks. Who can fault those who come down on the side of size unless it is Sam Bowie being taken ahead of Jordan? Funny. No one thought it was a wrongheaded move at the time.

Yet highly skilled perimeter players with size offer the biggest pay-out to a franchise, especially in a league that has outlawed the bump-and-grind defenses of the ‘90s.

Even Shaquille O’Neal, as overpowering as he has been, had three exceptional perimeter players at his side in six trips to the NBA Finals: Anfernee Hardaway, Bryant and Dwyane Wade.

Jordan managed to win titles with severely limited Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley at center.

No top-level center could win a championship with severely limited guards.