The results of last night’s NBA Draft Lottery (dubbed by the Fanhouse’s Bethlehem Shoals, “the televised basketball event of the week”) have predictably provoked wild speculation about Blazers and Sonics’ intentions. The Tacoma News Tribune’s Frank Hughes is the first to suggest Seattle garnering the 2nd pick might be “part of a larger power play by David Stern to keep the Sonics in Seattle.” The Oregonian’s Jason Quick quotes Portlant GM Kevin Pritchard raving, “This is bigger than the Rose Garden, bigger than the organization, bigger than the city of Portland. The whole state and the whole area revolves around the Portland Trail Blazers. . . . As we go, so does the city. This has a chance to change the organization and the city. Rip City again, here we come.”
And then Jason has to remind everyone about Sam Bowie. Nice work.
For the long suffering Celtics fans, however, all resting of vets was for naught, writes the Boston Globe’s Eric Wilbur.
The NBA in Boston, an afterthought for many already tired of a game built on luck and gimmicks like the lottery system, died a little more last night with the revelation that the Celtics will not land Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. The ping-pong balls of destiny bounced the wrong way, yet again, œawarding Boston the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the worst-case scenario for the beleaguered former powerhouse.
Why should anyone have expected any different? As if luck hadn™t growled at the Celtics for the better part of two decades, Doc Rivers and company went and angered the basketball gods by tanking down the stretch of the season to solidify their chances at having a better chance in the NBA Draft. If you realize how stupid that sentence sounds, well, I™ll try and dig up David Stern™s office line for you.
“I feel bad for our fans, Memphis™ Jerry West told Bob Ryan. His Grizzlies had the best chance of landing the top pick, but also ended up with their worst-case scenario, at No. 4. œBut I didn’t come here expecting to go 1 or 2. This is not sour grapes. I have never liked this system. No other league in sports does it this way. It’s not right when the two worst teams in the league do not get a shot at 1 or 2. It’s a terrible system.”
The more Stern tries to defend it, the more of a fool he sounds. After Philadelphia chairman Ed Snider suggested that each of the 14 teams in the lottery should get one ball instead of the team with the worst record having the greatest chance of winning, Stern replied, œYou could have a 45-win team in a particular year be in the lottery and get the first pick. I’m not sure that’s what drafts were meant to achieve.
Has this man been with us the past 20 years?