I've had three e-mails in the past two days asking why the Blazers don't just come out and say who their guy is. Here are the answers in brief:
- The simplest answer is they might not know yet. Kevin Pritchard is a consensus-builder and part of that M.O. is plenty of discussion. He's also a detail guy who believes in fine-toothed combs. My hunch is even if they're 99% sure who they want they're going to leave that 1% window open until every last word has been uttered and every last detail parsed.
- There's no advantage to them with the other teams if they declare ahead of time. Granted odds are small that the ripples would go any farther than pick #2 but in general trades flourish in an atmosphere of uncertainty and transition. Who knows what the fallout will be? Who knows what players might or might not be made available even just in Portland and Seattle based on the first two picks?
- Even if they were dead sure of their selection they wouldn't announce because they LOVE the conversation about the team. The catch phrase is "One honk or two", not "One honk or give the sign the finger cuz you're mad now". Three hours after they announce all the speculation dies. They'd much rather have you and me talking about the team right up until 4 p.m. Thursday.
- It's entirely possible that the league has called and asked the Blazers not to reveal their leanings--and maybe even to stir the pot a little--for the same reasons. They want everybody across the country tuning in to ESPN with excitement. That doesn't happen the same way if the pick is a fait accompli. Maybe this is one of those things where the entire league already knows who the Blazers are going to pick. That doesn't mean we'd know early.
A couple of other thoughts:
--If you're at all like me the issue of what other first round picks we'll try to get (and what we'll give up to do it) is just as exciting as the actual first pick. Obviously the first pick is far more important to the future of the franchise but the trading issue has so many possibilities. Blazer fans aren't going to be able to leave their couches until the draft is completely over.
--I was thinking there may be a small intangible bonus if we do end up picking Durant. If Oden gets picked #1 he'll expect it...no big deal there. But if Durant gets picked that's a huge vote of confidence in the guy. In an ideal world that would spur him to become the franchise player and also engender a certain amount of loyalty to the club. That would be nice.