Blazers win draft lottery, No. 1 pick

Blazers win draft lottery, No. 1 pick

Blazers win draft lottery, No. 1 pick
May 22, 2007

Associated Press

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- The Portland Trail Blazers beat the odds and won the right to settle the Greg Oden-Kevin Durant debate.

With just a 5.3 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, the Blazers won the NBA's draft lottery Tuesday night, earning the right to draft a potential franchise player from what's considered to be a deep class.

Represented by Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, the Blazers got a head start on landing next year's top rookie. They will almost certainly choose between Oden, the Ohio State center, or Durant, Texas' high-scoring forward.

Both players are likely headed to the Northwest, as Seattle also moved up into second. Atlanta got the third pick -- and needed it. Falling out of the top three would have meant sending the pick to Phoenix.

Memphis and Boston, which had the worst records in the league and the best chance of landing in the top two, slipped to fourth and fifth, respectively.

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Re: Blazers win draft lottery, No. 1 pick

Winning lottery will have immediate impact on Portland
May 23rd, 2007

(Sports Network) - By securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers may have punched their ticket into the 2008 playoffs.

Portland will make the first choice in the draft for the first time since 1978. The Trail Blazers selected Minnesota big man Mychal Thompson with the top pick that year.

The prize for winning this year's lottery is Ohio State's Greg Oden, who has been compared to former San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson. The Trail Blazers, who finished with a 32-50 record in the 2006-07 campaign and missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year, had the sixth-best chance (5.3 percent) of winning the lottery.

Oden will have an immediate impact on the Trail Blazers, and should be able to help them get right back into the postseason. Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, who represented Portland at the lottery, and point guard Jarrett Jack make up a solid backcourt, while LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished his rookie campaign, Zach Randolph and Travis Outlaw are all young and talented frontcourt players.

Roy averaged 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 57 games during the 2006-07 campaign, while Jack, who completed his second season in the league, posted 12.0 points and a team-best 5.3 assists per game. The 25-year-old Randolph led the Trail Blazers in scoring (23.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg).

Add Oden to the mix, and Portland is ready to do some serious damage in the Western Conference. The seven-foot Oden already has a decent low-post game and will be dangerous defensively. He will block shots and help the Trail Blazers improve their transition game, which goes a long way against the competition out West.

The Trail Blazers will not and can not mess this up. There won't be deja vu here. Are you thinking about 1984 when they selected Kentucky center Sam Bowie at No. 2 instead of North Carolina's Michael Jordan, who was grabbed by Chicago with the next pick?

Northwest Division-rival Seattle owns the second pick, and has to be very happy at the prospect of adding multi-talented forward Kevin Durant to its squad. The Texas product may be the most talented offensive player in the draft, but he is not a dominant center like Oden.

Maybe there are some teams who would elect to pick Durant over Oden. After all, there are clubs who already have a solid starting center. But isn't Oden one of those players who comes along once in a blue moon?

The answer is yes. While Durant appears to have a very bright future in the NBA, Oden is a player who you make room for on your roster no matter what it takes. Unless it is Houston, which has Yao Ming, teams would either move their current center to power forward or investigate the possibility of a trade.

Oden is going to be that good from the start. He does not need to sit on Portland's bench and learn the NBA game by watching. The Ohio State product is ready to contribute in a big way right from the opening tip of the 2007-08 season.

Portland fans, don't worry. The front office is well aware that the best move is to simply pick Oden. The Trail Blazers will ignore all the trade talk and won't let any of the general managers in the league entice them with an offer for this year's prize.

The Trail Blazers really did win the lottery!

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