It’s weird how fate works…especially in the NBA Draft. Take most recently, where the Boston Celtics were all but certain to have a top 2 pick and nab Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, and naturally they ended up with the 5th pick, and neither of blue chip draft selections.
Of course Boston’s fate goes all the way back to the 1986 NBA Draft, where they were very fortunate to have made a trade prior to the announcement of a draft lottery for 1985 draft, a trade that would result in their a star-studded Celtics playoff team ending up with the first pick of the 1986 lottery. Unfortunately, their first pick, Len Bias, would die of a cocaine overdose only two days after being drafted. The team has not won a championship since.
But there are the good stories in the NBA. Take the San Antonio Spurs for example. First their fortunes were good enough to land them the number one pick in the 1987 NBA draft, where they would select the consensus number one pick in David Robinson. Fate would have it that Robinson had to complete his Naval commitment and he wouldn’t play for the team until 2 years later. However, with Robinson not in the lineup for the 1988-89 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs ended up with a high pick in the 1989 NBA Draft and they drafted Sean Elliot. And as if all that luck was not enough, David Robinson got injured for the entire 1996-97 season, and the Spurs won the NBA Draft again, and selected the greatest Power Forward ever in Tim Duncan. The franchise won a championship with those 3, and would build upon it to win 4 more championships.
So this raises the question of whether or not the injury to Greg Oden is a blessing in disguise for the Portland Trailblazers. Think about it. Had Greg Oden played this season, the Trailblazers were on track to match their win total from last season (35 games) if you figure that the additions Oden and Charlie Frye and the development of LaMarcus Aldridge would compensate for the loss of PF Zach Randolph. But now, without Oden and any type of defensive big man, the team is up for another high lottery pick.
Now, should they win the 2008 NBA Lottery, they would get potential college and pro-star, OJ Mayo, who has been deemed the next Kobe Bryant. That would result in the Blazers acquiring Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden and OJ Mayo in a span of 3 years. Now, none of these players are proven NBA All-Stars, but going off potential, this could be the upstart of dynasty.
Of course, having the Portland Trailblazers win 2 lotteries in row is a reach to say the least. But we’re talking about a blessing here.