Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Portland & Seattle win Oden & Durant

  • The Pacific Northwest hit the jackpot Tuesday evening, as the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Sonics surprisingly won the draft lottery for the top two picks.
  • Ohio State 7-foot 280-pound beast Greg Oden will go first to Portland while Texas phenom (6'9" 220) Kevin Durant is coming to Seattle baby!
  • Portland last had the No.2 pick in 1984, selecting center Sam Bowie, a bust in comparison to the fellow who Chicago took next by the name of Michael Jordan. Deja vu anyone?
  • Seattle last had the No.2 pick in 1990, selecting living legend Gary Payton. A decade of winning seasons and playoff runs followed.
  • Oden was bothered with a broken wrist last year, but still managed to be an effective force in the Buckeye's run to the Final Four. Scouts compare Oden to Shaq, Duncan, and Dwight Howard, all number one picks who have completely turned around NBA franchises.
  • Durant just won the John Wooden Award after averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds. Durant has often been compared to Carmelo Anthony, while some believe he has the marketability of a Jordan or Lebron. Look for Durant to make more of an immediate impact than the more raw Oden.
  • The I-5 rivalry between the Blazers and Sonics will certainly heat up next year on a national scale. Portland's Nate McMillian is the former Sonic guard and coach and Blazers owner Paul Allen has strong ties to Seattle as the co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
  • Both Portland and Seattle are currently in the midst of arena problems. The Blazers are locked into a financially draining lease at the Rose Garden while the Sonics were recently sold to Clay Bennett, a businessman who is expected to move the team to Oklahoma City if the Washington government does not pay up for a new arena. Hopefully this new excitement and publicity will generate enough attention and revenue to keep basketball in these two great hotbed cities.
  • Look for Seattle's Rashard Lewis to leave as a free agent this summer. The franchise's uncertainty was already going to be the driving force, but with Durant coming in with a similar game at the same position, Lewis may be better off going to, say, Orlando with Dwight Howard and company.
  • Sonics President Lenny Wilkens will now turn his attention to hiring a general manager and head coach, even though he may have been the best candidate for either job. But seriously, all the GM has to do is sign Lewis and the coach just has to say, "Kevin, screen for Ray" every timeout.
  • Any sudden climate changes that occurred Tuesday can be attributed to the loud cheers from the caffeinated Northwest and collective groans in Boston, where after a season of tanking, the Celtics ended up with their worst possible scenario, the fifth pick in the draft. Remember that Boston was favored to get Tim Duncan in 1997 before being similarly screwed by the ping pong balls.
  • Thanks to the bounce of those balls though, the Northwest Division may suddenly be a strong one next year as the already superior Western Conference continues to add firepower. The Utah Jazz are still playing and have a bright future with Williams and Boozer while Denver has yet to play a full season with the Iverson/Carmelo combination. A nod goes to Kevin Garnett and a No.7 pick in Minnesota as Portland fans are dreaming of championships with Oden and rookie of the year Brandon Roy while Seattle's potential Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, Rashard Lewis can easily form the league's highest scoring trio...