Wednesday, May 23

Alive

And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.”
John 12:43

I’m not a big believer in fate, at least not in a karmaic, “do one good turn” sort of way. Last night, though, got me to wondering.

I purposely avoided the 5:30 announcement of the lottery picks, afraid that the Sonics would draw the fifth, or even worse, slot. We had a couple of friends and their daughter over for dinner, and this being Canada, the topic of the NBA certainly didn’t come up.

By the time they left, it was time to put our daughter to bed. When she was born, a friend of mine gave me a Children’s Bible, and we read her a chapter out of it every night. Last night, fatefully, was the story of Lazarus. I’ll spare you the spiritual side of the story, because this is a basketball blog, not a Basketball for Jesus blog. But while I was reading the story – of a man raised from the dead to live again – I allowed myself to ponder the possibility of the Sonics grabbing a top two pick. Could it happen? Would we, the deadest basketball franchise in the NBA, be brought back from the brink?

Well, as they like to say in the Bible, it came to pass. The Seattle Supersonics, given up for dead by two ownership groups, a league, a city, a fanbase, have risen. Seattle, a city whose best-known music – grunge – is as inspirational as a funeral dirge, has joy. In one moment, the Sonics have passed the Mariners on the city’s radar and are within sight of the Seahawks.

Will Kevin Durant or Greg Oden bring a new stadium to Seattle? Who knows. Will either of those two men bring excitement to Seattle basketball? Without doubt.

And while many may despair in light of Portland’s winning ping pong ball, I say this: Isn’t it better to have both teams on the upswing? Yeah, I’ll admit to hating the Blazers, but it’s a helluva lot more fun to hate an equal than it is to hate an inferior opponent. The best part of the Sonic-Blazer rivalry has come when both teams were playoff contenders, and yesterday’s activity has put these two on that path again.

(Aside #1: As if yesterday’s news couldn’t get any better, don’t forget the Sonics own the Grizzlies’ 2nd-round pick, as well as their own. Which means the Sonics get the #2 pick, as well as the first (Brandon Rush?) and fifth picks of the 2nd round. Nice.)

(Aside #2: Kudos to the commenter who pointed out Bob Hill’s responsibility for both Tim Duncan and, now, Kevin Durant/Greg Oden. Unbelievable; the guy is like something out of a Woody Allen movie. Bob, thanks for the memories, and extra thanks for getting us Kevin Durant.)

As for the rest of the whining teams and fans complaining about their luck (or lack thereof): Tough. Boston fans, you seriously expect anyone to feel pity for you? Your NBA team has more banners than anyone, your NFL team routinely wins the Super Bowl, and your baseball team spends close to $200 million a year in payroll. Sorry you didn’t Greg Oden, but not that sorry. Memphis? Memphis? I’m supposed to feel sorry for a city with 10 minutes of NBA pain? People, Seattle has won one title in 40 years of professional sports. If you expect me to feel any sympathy for you, get in line. If you don’t like the way the lottery is set up, then you should thought about that before you tanked your seasons and extended your head coach (Boston) or let the best GM in NBA history walk away (Memphis).

For now, though, we’re feeling no pain. The sun is shining in the northwest, Seattle and Portland are back from the dead, and all is right with the world.

9 comments:

colin_hesse said...

What's amazing to me is how the Blazers/Sonics luck has "surprisingly" made ESPN take an entirely stupid campaign about whether or not the lottery needs to be changed. Outside the Lines' top story was flush with Bob Ley lamenting the fact that Oden/Durant were to be banished to the Western time zone, and our favorite Satanist Skip Bayless compared Seattle to Alaska. Could you imagine the same sort of backlash if the positions had been reversed? That is, if the Blazers had been jobbed out of the top pick in favor of the Celtics?

Sigh. East coast bias really sucks sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Bob Hill should be given season tickets for life. At least a hug from Squatch.

Anonymous said...

Im from the east coast..fan for 15 years.. the fans over here are goin crazy caue of our new found star..sayi they cant watch em, cause the games are too late...boo hoo.. i have nbaticket on directtv..so im always up watchin the games anyway..this jus adds to the excitement

Juanejo said...

what u think of Fazekas as the 31st pick? or even Marc Gasol can be a good option (7.1, big butt, soft hands...)

Anonymous said...

KJR talking about trading Collison to the Bulls for their #9 pick plus expiring contracts, so we can grab a PG prospect... as they pointed out though, no one knows who to call in the Sonics to see if they are interested!

Nuss said...

The only problem with trading Collison is that he's the only guy on the team who has proven that he can play center on a reasonably adequate basis. He's not a great center, or even a good one, but he's a decent one. I'd be nervous about handing the keys to Robert Swift, a 3rd-year player coming off major injury rehab who has never proven anything other than the ability to add tattoos.

Also, while I'd love to get the #9 pick, I don't know that Mike Conley is going to last that long. He could be gone by 6 or 7, and then we're forced to take Acie Law, who really is a #15 or #16 pick.

If the Sonics are going to make trades - which they obviously will - i think the best move is to pick up veteran players. I'd love to figure out a way to get Jason Kidd. The great thing about Durant, or yet another great thing about getting Durant, is that suddenly Seattle is a place where veterans would want to play.

chunks brother said...

i've heard rumors of packaging Rashard and Ridnour to the Magic for Milicic and Jamir Nelson. While i'm not sold on Milicic, Nelson would be a good fit. He distributes well and isn't afraid to shoot. I don't know if how concrete these rumors are though...

t dawg said...

c'mon. why would the Bulls want Collison for a number 9 in the deepest draft in years...

I love the idea-- but if you were the Bulls, would you?

More likely we deal 2 for 1 with one PG and one "big" for a teens/20's. I'm good with this and Stuckey or Affalo in that slot, then in the 2nd round, the BC trouble child and one foreign prospect (Gasol or the PG from Finland that is 19)...

I'm telling you, this year is so deep I'd trade next year's 2nd rounder for rights this year to a 2nd as well...

Anonymous said...

Blazer fan here...congrats on your lottery position. I love sticking it to the Celtics and Jerry West at the same time! Even though Blazers and Sonics are mortal enemies, it feels good for the NW to thumb our noses at the dumb-asses on the least coast. I'm looking forward to some great battles in the future, with Oden/Aldridge/small forward from Randolph trade/Roy/Jack vs. Collison/Durant/Lewis/Allen/Ridenour (or some variation thereof). We both win because those are going to be some awesome games to watch. You guys just need to keep your team in your city, dammit!