As a bitter Celtics fan today, I will try to keep this brief. The NBA draft lottery results show that tanking is undoubtedly wrong because even when you debase your franchise by throwing the season on purpose, you just get more ping pong balls, which is no guarantee of later success (one would’ve thought the Celtics had learned this lesson a decade ago, but I digress…). The bad karma kept Memphis, Boston, and Milwaukee from reaping the reward for their disgusting display during the 2006-07 campaign, and I think there is some amount of justice in that.
Congratulations to Portland fans, who will team a franchise center with their other good young players to make a run at the playoffs next year and probably for a decade to come. The interesting question for the Blazers is whether they now choose to deal the troubled Zach Randolph and move LaMarcus Aldridge to PF with Oden at center. That team could use a veteran mentor-type, even if they have to trade Randolph for a lot less than his scoring and rebounding would suggest he’s worth.
Seattle also won last night, with Durant likely heading to that franchise, wherever it ends up playing. Bill Simmons indicated this might save NBA basketball in that city in his column yesterday (I await his depressing column this afternoon on the results), and the major question for the Sonics will now be whether Rashard Lewis becomes expendable in free agency. Durant could project as a 3 or 4 in the pros, and if the Sonics keep Lewis, the trio of Lewis, Durant, and Ray Allen could be an exceedingly entertaining, prolific offensive group.
I know there are other guys in the draft who could end up being pretty good too, and the Celtics could get a nice player at #5, but this is all pretty hard to take right now. When your team blows the season on purpose, you feel like there damn well better be some reward for enduring the taunts of your friends about an 18-game losing streak.