Uninanimous Decision- It's Oden.
UPDATE: Apparently it's not offical, and the Blazers never told the Oden camp, they are taking him #1. Now the only question is...
How STUPID would the Blazers be if they did?
I mean, seriously, why would you tip your hand the day before the draft? Why not make the Sonics sweat out #2? Not that they are anxious or nervous to get Portland's "sloppy seconds" in this draft, but maybe the Sonics really see more (a lot more) in Oden than Durant and would lay down a deal for the #1. I doubt it, but, why close the door?
More likely though is that maybe one of the other teams lower on the board (say a snake bitten Celtics team who was hoping for #1 or #2 at the Lottery a month ago and got stuck in pergatory with #5) gets an itchy trigger finger because the GM (Ainge) knows his team needs a spark or the fans will be hanging Rivers effigies in the streets of Boston right next to Ainge's tipped over car.
Even more, that simply makes the Draft Day phone calls solely about the #2 slot (Durant) by other teams. Bottom line is it alleviates any wrinkles the Blazers could have made in every other team's plans. The pure enjoyment wreaking havoc on others' draft boards, for me as an NBA GM, would be worth the price of admission alone!
With all the drama surrounding Kobe, KG, Marion, et al. by the trade mongers leading up to today, this draft is begging for some drama, some impact news, something to make the NBA relevant again- basically a trade for the ages. The Oden V. Durant debate has gotten very stale this week (only this week?), but the Blazers could have made this foregone conclusion very sexy to all insiders and passive observers alike. Hell, just seeing cuts to GM Kevin Pritchard on the phone every 20 seconds until the pick is made would be much needed fodder for a league that is, in my estimation, against the ropes from a fan/television revenue perspective.
There are probably about 5 scenarios I can think of for a plausible trade into the Top 2 by another team- however unlikely the Blazers or Sonics are to accept. But the Blazers broke a cardinal rule here: never never NEVER close the door before the (draft) clock strikes 00:00. They just lost out on their biggest PR opportunity up until they make their pick.
But hey, isn't being a loser why the Blazers are in the Lottery and picking 1st anyway?
Posted by Jingoist at 9:59 AM