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Joe "The Next Big Thing" Freeman has another article at O-Live.  This one's about Kevin Pritchard's assessment of the trade climate.  I like it because it echoes some of the things we said the other day.  It's always fun when that happens.

The AP's Rachel Cohen has an analysis of NBA draft success.  The Clippers are supposedly the least successful drafting team in recent years but the Blazers and Sonics are up there too.  No surprise there.

Finally John Canzano makes what seems to me a ridiculous argument that waiting to announce our selection is somehow de-valuing Greg Oden.  To me he didn't touch on the only valid point to be made about this waiting and fan interaction, which is that pretending to solicit the fans' advice (and keeping a straight face while doing it) is kind of patronizing.  I like the "one honk or two" ad campaign.  It's a funny throw-away line encapsulating how people feel.  But that's all it is.  It's smart for the Blazers to wait to announce their decision and to let the conversation continue but it does feel like they're kind of over-selling the tension in an attempt to encourage or orchestrate the conversation.  Just relax and make space and the conversation will happen on its own.  You don't have to sell Blazermania...it's already here.  But that aside, other than being assaulted with "Durant...or Oden? Durant...or Oden? Durant...or Oden?" (OK, we GET IT!) every time you click on their website there's no tangible harm to the process.  As we said the other day they'd be foolish to announce early and kill the buzz even if they know exactly who they're going to pick.  There's no way that impacts Greg Oden's career or image (if indeed he is the choice).  All of that...even the fact that he was picked #1 overall...will be erased the first time he steps on the court.  THAT will determine his image and success, not anything that happens this summer.

Does anyone think Kwame Brown is carrying any goodwill anymore for being the #1 overall pick?  (In some ways being selected first overall can only work against you, not for you.  It's a long ways down from those expectations.)  Did it hurt Jordan that he wasn't?  It all disappears once the ball goes up.  You live or die by what you contribute on the court, not whether you're annointed as the first pick on a Tuesday or a Thursday.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)