I was on my way home from work at about 6 o'clock last night when I remembered that the draft lottery had taken place about 15 minutes before. I turned off the iPod and flipped over to KJR, only to hear the host and Seattle SuperSonics broadcaster Kevin Callabro talking about Kevin Durant.
As a Seattle sports fan used to disappointment, doubt washed over me until they came right out and said what I had until that point refused to believe actually could be true: That the Sonics had won the right to select one of the two bona fide superstars in this draft.
I can't remember when the last time was I truly was excited about the Sonics -- probably 1996 -- but I can tell you this.
Today, I am excited.
Really, really, really excited.
When people talk about the 2007 draft lottery as a seminal point in the Sonics franchise, they are not overestimating the value of what happened last night. Jerry West, one of the foremost talent evaluators in NBA history, put it this way:
"There have been a lot of picks in the lottery that have [failed]. There are two in the lottery this year that are not going to fail. There are two superstars in the draft. I think for the teams fortunate enough to get them, the fortunes of their franchises have changed forever."This, my friends, comes from a man not prone to overstatement. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are that good, and one of them will be playing for the Sonics next season -- probably Durant. Although it wouldn't shock me completely if Portland took Durant, and they will consider it, I think they'd be crazy to pass on a superstar big man. (Besides, it would be just like Portland, the redheaded stepchild of the Northwest, to take the 19-year-old who looks like he's 48. Just look at that mug. They're both 19. Really.)
Either way, there's no second guessing the pick and no screwing it up: The Sonics will get a player who figures to be a star for years to come. Callabro even said he believes it makes the Sonics instant playoff contenders, given the talent already on the roster and the injuries that sabotaged them last year.
But beyond what Durant will do for the team on the court, it's possible the Sonics finally got a little bit of that same fairy dust that kept the Mariners here after 1995. The lament of our legislature was that there just wasn't a buzz about the Sonics, no groundswell of support from the constituency.
Well, there's a buzz now.
I'll have a couple of more posts up later today: What you can do to get on board with keeping the Sonics here, and what this means for the team on the court. In the meantime, revel away at the thought of Kevin Durant in a Sonics uniform.
Anyone handy with Photoshop?
Here's what local columnists are saying:
- "Durant could be the player who saves Sonics," by Art Theil, Seattle P-I (The best column of the lot from the best writer in Seattle, in my opinion)
- "Beleaguered franchise finally catches a break," by Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times
- "Envelope opens door to Durant, Sonics staying put," by John McGrath, The (Tacoma) News Tribune