As we watched the NBA Draft Lottery last night, we wondered if the ultimate settling and selection of the envelopes in the hopper represented another cruel fait accompli to long-suffering NBA fans in cities like Boston and Atlanta; or whether it would manifest as the final piece to the puzzle in renaissance projects ongoing in cities like Chicago or Phoenix. Chalk one up for the French.
The shot on ESPN of Celtic fans in that pub that looked like a place Sam Malone would frequent, heads in hands with despair, was one that will not soon be forgotten – missing on Duncan a decade ago; and Oden/Durant now. Bill Simmons is probably just stirring awake from the Southie gutter where he chose to rest last night. (update: he crawled out of the gutter to post this article by 3pm EDT) Instead, the clean and green cities of the Pacific Northwest should enjoy a basketball rebirth, not unlike that of the area in the past several years of college basketball (Gonzaga, UW, Wazzu, Oregon). Oh, and the Varsity Conference just got that much tougher.
Sign us up for Xi Xianlian!!
It’s not always the case that a #1 pick from the draft lottery guarantees success. In the lottery era, only Ewing (85), David Robinson (87), Shaq (92), Duncan (97), and Lebron (03) were considered no-brainer dominant picks who could carry a franchise from day one. Shaq and Duncan have had the most success, whereas Ewing and Robinson were somewhat constricted by the pure brilliance of the MJ era. Lebron is TBD. Oden is expected to follow the career arc of these players, considering his skills and athleticism as a
19 yr old 33 yrs old. As long as the Blazers go for the big man over the guard this time, just as they did in 1984 (that one didn’t work out so well), they should be fine. Will Oden lead Portland to championships? Nobody knows for certain, but Portland fans are ready to take that gamble after a long period of “jail blazer” sucktitude, crashing the team website twice last night amidst all the giddiness over their good fortune.
What about Durant going to Seattle? Will he become the next T-Mac or KG, or someone who can actually win something once in a while? He is undoubtedly a spectacular talent, someone who has a presence about him (even at such a young age) that makes you ashamed to avert your eyes. He also may be the golden cow that inspires Seattle voters into approving a new arena so as to keep the Sonics from eventually moving to Oklahoma. And as much as the Oklahoma City fans were supportive during the Hornets’ exile there after Katrina, the NBA needs to keep its presence in an internationally-focused and culturally important city such as Seattle.
Draft News: Roy Hibbert has announced he is returning to Georgetown for his senior campaign. His frontcourt mate Jeff Green is entering the draft.