Welcome to draft day. It's finally here! After this evening we will have a shiny, new franchise player and billboard construction guys all over town will be papering over Durant and Oden with "Honk Once to Keep Zach, Honk Twice to Trade Him" signs.
It seemed appropriate this morning to stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on where we are.
There's a big choice to be made tonight. Even if the ESPN reports are correct and Oden is the guy, it's still not a done deal until that name is read, flash bulbs pop, and Commissioner Stern gets dwarfed by a huge handshake. I'm excited for that choice to me made. I'm excited for our future. I'm ready for it to happen.
If the pick is Oden I think we're in for a wonderful ride. Maybe I'm old-school. Maybe I'm dumb. But the idea of what an Oden-Aldridge-Roy core could do on the floor defensively makes my toes tingle. I love defense. I love cold-blooded, efficient winning. I also love the speed that lineup brings. Stopping people and then running like heck is not a bad way to conduct yourself on the basketball court. I could see Oden taking a while to develop. Guys like Amare, KG, and Shaq are going to see a big old bullseye right in the middle of his sternum and they're going to give him an education about what being a big man in this league means. But once he comes through that, hardened and refined, I'd stack our chances against anybody's.
Then again if the pick is Durant I'm not going to be disappointed in the least. Let's face it...Oden has had the inside track from the very beginning. For Durant to be the pick he would not have to be as good as Oden, he'd have to be demonstrably, unequivocally BETTER than Oden, leaving no doubt in anybody's mind. (Anybody with power in the organization at least.) If you hear Durant's name tonight that's exactly what happened. At that point you've got to know that we've got something very, very special on our hands, perhaps more special than we can imagine. The Blazers won't take a frivolous risk with this pick. They will take the future.
My gut told me it was going to be Oden even before the ESPN leak last night. (Which may or may not be accurate.) To me this whole process was like the two week media frenzy before the Superbowl. Coming out of the conference playoffs there's always a favorite and an underdog. The day after the conference games everybody's saying how the favorite is going to win handily. During the hiatus the constant chatter elevates the underdog in people's minds. It goes from "Could they have a chance?" to "Maybe they have a chance..." to "They have a chance." to "They're gonna win!" More often than not five minutes into the game you get slapped back to reality and you understand that the favorite was the favorite all along.
I think Oden was the favorite in this race and Durant the underdog. I'm not comparing their talent or impact, just their relative chances of actually being selected first by the Blazers. It's no accident that, just as with the underdog Superbowl contender, the Durant hype gained momentum both after his visit and as the actual moment of decision approached. My guess is tonight the favorite is going to score three touchdowns in four minutes and never look back, jolting us all back into reality. Still, no matter who we pick the main points are these:
- Either way we can't lose.
- Either way we should be really, really happy.
Thanks for the passion. Now let's party like we just got the first pick in a franchise year...cuz news flash...WE DID!!!