I saw a quote from Kevin Pritchard in one of the billions of articles I read yesterday (sorry I have no clue which one or I'd link it) which struck home with me. KP said (roughly), "This is not going to be a Michael Jordan pick where we win the championship next year."
My initial thought is not to worry. Michael Jordan himself didn't win a championship in his first year. Or his second...or his third...or his fourth...
The ESPN guys asked Casey and I what would happen if whoever we picked first got off to a rocky, or even a mediocre, start next year. Our responses were more or less the same: it really doesn't matter how they start, it's how they end up that counts. The success or failure of this draft isn't going to be apparent after one year. Pritchard is going to be judged on this pick four or five years down the road. If at that point we're contending for the finals it's all good. If we're stuck in the 8th seed, or worse right back where we started, then the criticism will be warranted.
If we draft Oden and he averages 12 and 8 his first year while Durant is scoring 22 per game don't sweat it. Come and talk to me in 2011. Similarly if we draft Durant and he only scores 14 per game his first year while allowing his opponent 16 that's the way the cookie crumbles. Again, come and talk to me in 2011. Neither case would present compelling evidence that we should have picked the other guy.
We got really spoiled with Brandon Roy making such a huge contribution in his first year. It might be hard to remember that not every rookie does that...especially if that rookie is the instant focal point of opponents' game plans. Obviously you expect greatness from a highly-touted #1 overall pick. But ultimate greatness isn't evidenced in individual statistics, rather team performance and wins. That takes time. With our youth, and considering the five year drought we experienced before getting to this point, time is something we have to give.
I believe this pick will change the world. I'm willing to be a little patient while we see how much. The ride is going to be plenty enjoyable in the meantime.