In a perverse way, tonight's game is pretty important towards the (on-court) future of the Sonics. Seattle has managed to go 3-0 against the Wolves this year, a 3-0 mark that has catapaulted Minnesota to the cellar of the Western Conference.
Looked at from another perspective, turn those three wins around, and the Sonics are staring at a 13-52 record and a seeming lock on one of the top two picks in this June's draft (and, yes, I am aware that the team with the worst record doesn't always get the top pick; I'm just going by probability here).
So, if the Sonics were to blow yet another game tonight at the Key, Minnesota and Seattle would be essentially locked up in a three-way tie for second-worst in the league (hello, Memphis!), giving each of them an equal shot at getting the rights to Derrick Rose (assuming the #1 spot goes to Michael Beasley).
In a normal situation, getting the #2 or #3 pick wouldn't be that big of a deal, but for the Sonics, getting Derrick Rose would be a dream scenario. True Earl Watson has played better as this season has progressed, but what do you lend more credence to: his 44% shooting in 535 shots this year, or the 41% he shot in the first 3,400 shots of his career? Yeah, me, too.
Rose, while a poor foul shooter, is generally considered to be the premier point guard in this year's draft, and some even have him going first overall. But, if the Sonics were lucky enough to the #2 slot, man, a 6'4" point guard with blazing speed and a commitment to playing POINT guard not combo guard is just what they need.
So, Al Jefferson, feel free to go off for another 30-12 night like you did the last time. We're counting on you.