I've been enjoying my holiday down-time binging on Blazer info and having a blast, but all the extra time is making me see things that might not be there. I'm getting concerned with the team that Seattle/OKC could field right when we're ready to make our move.
If Seattle continues to lose at its current pace, they'll be lucky to win 20 games this year. That will put them in prime shape to get a top 3 pick in the lottery again. It's obvious they'll be looking for a dominating PF or a stellar PG, and this draft will likely provide high quality in both positions.
Although I believe Oden will be our trump card when the playoffs roll around in the not-to-distant future, a Seattle lineup that includes Derrick Rose, Durant, and Wilkins seems like it would be extremely pesky. Combine that with a Utah team that looks like it will be hitting its peak when we enter our playoff window, and my aspirations of crashing through the league for the next ten years just got doused with a bucket of cold water.
I realize that high draft picks don't guarantee success (looking at you Atlanta), but I've got to believe that any Spurs prodigy (Sam Presti) can evaluate talent at least as well as KP. If you give KP the top picks in consecutive years, what do you think would happen? Oh...it did, and we've got Oden, Aldridge, and Roy. It may be that I'm jumping at shadows, but it might also be that there is something out there to worry about.
Paranoid or not, perimeter defense will be needed at the next level, and we don't have it now. How well our players learn to defend will determine our personnel moves in the off-season and the '09 free agency period. Whether they concisously admit it or not, anyone not named Roy, Alrdidge, or Oden is playing for their future here. Webster and Przybilla are making a strong case so far, but that's it. Next year, our Twin Tower tandem should allow soild perimeter defenders more flexability to be aggressive in certain situations, increasing their effectiveness. It shouldn't be used to cover for lack of ability. IMO, none of our guards have shown enough defensive ability to stick.
All is not lost yet, however. There is still 7/8 of a season to play and learn. Intelligence and intensity are key components to defense, and those are traits our players posses. I believe Nate and his assistants will bring out the potential in our players.
Which teams do you fear when we begin our championship window in three-ish years?
On a side note, I think we should all chip in and get Greg Oden some Incredible Hulk(tm) apparel for Christmas. I was thinking a pair of tight purple pants and some small shirts would be nice. He could do his shirt-ripping flex move, and post the pictures.