Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Millions of Dollars and Free Coffee

With the second pick in the NBA Draft the Seattle/Oklahoma City SuperSonics select Kevin Durant. The NBA lottery is in the books, and with the second pick, Kevin Durant's fate is determined, and he will now reside in Seattle. The biggest question will be whether Durant will be able to generate enough excitement in the Pacific Northwest to prevent the team from moving to Oklahoma City.

Since it seems that Greg Oden is a guarantee for the #1 pick and the Portland TrailBlazers, Kevin Durant will be happily welcomed by the Sonics. His presence should first allow the Sonics to finally deal disgruntled small forward, Rashard Lewis. Seattle wouldn't miss a beat replacing Lewis with Durant.

Seattle would feature a team with point guards, Earl Watson and Luke Ridenour combining powers to form something resembling a competent point guard. Seattle would have to hope Ridenour rebounds from an abysmal year where he lost his starting job to Watson, who would be a great point guard, if he could shoot a basketball. If Ridenour can bounce back and reach his potential or can combine with Watson to stabilize the position, it should be serviceable.

The shooting guard position is locked up by perennial all-star Ray Allen, who at 31 is still a star in the league. He would be a good role model for Durant and would get a more durable superstar next to him than Rashard Lewis. Also, Durant's youthful attitude would probably do some good to add a few more years onto Ray Allen's career, in what has become a horrible situation for him the last 5 years.

At power forward and center the Sonics would field Chris Wilcox and Nick Collison. Wilcox is a high energy and athletic player, while Collison showed signs of being the star he's capable of being late last season. While Collison isn't a true center, he has filled the position solidly since the Sonics plan of drafting project centers has failed miserably, I wonder why? Off the bench, the Sonics would have shooting guard Damien Wilkins, small forward Mickael Gelabale, and the three headed train wreck that is Johan Petro, Robert Swift, and Mouhamed Sene.

The addition of Durant would instantly improve the outlook of this team, but in the Western Conference they would need another scorer to be able to compete. If they decided to keep Rashard Lewis they would have plenty of scoring options and would be able to play a fast up pace tempo and play a style similar to the Denver Nuggets. However, they lack the quality point guard play you need to make that style a success and would struggle greatly against the top teams with interior size like San Antonio, Houston, and Utah. If they were able to move Rashard Lewis for an upgrade at point guard or a solid center this could be a team that could compete in the Western Conference. But that's counting on an awful lot of competence out of a front office that has drafted Johan Petro, Robert Swift, and Mouhamed Sene in the last three years.

The most intriguing part of this year's lottery is the fact that Kevin Durant would be a perfect fit with the Portland TrailBlazers who own the #1 pick, and Greg Oden would be a great fit for the Sonics. Durant would make Portland instant contenders with a lineup of Jarrett Jack/Sergio Rodriguez, Brandon Roy, Durant, Zack Randolph, and LaMarcus Aldridge. However, Portland won't pass the opportunity to draft Oden with the #1 pick, because Oden is a big time center. And NBA types dream for franchise centers, regardless of how he fits into their team.

It would be interesting to see Portland draft Durant outright and actually give off the impression that they're drafting while keeping their current roster in mind, or even more so, deal the #1 pick to Seattle and another piece and move down so both teams get what they want. But let's face it, a trade that fills a need for both teams? This is the NBA, come on. So look for Durant to make his home in Seattle, and when the Sonics are unable to fill the holes around him, look for Durant to be the newest star of the Oklahoma City Sonics.

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