May 22, 2007, will be a day remembered for generations in Portland, Oregon. Not only because we now have the beautiful choice between Mr. O and Tweedle D, not only because we beat 1-in-20 odds in landing the No. 1 pick, not only was it one of, if not the most, heart-stopping moment I have ever been a part of, not only because this is a new era in Blazer basketball, but because, ladies and gentleman, the City of Portland is back on the map.
The national media is now forced to talk about us. The Blazer logo will be a mainstay in the foreground of NBA Shootaround. ESPN and TNT will broadcast Portland on NATIONAL television. Bill Simmons will stop using “Jail Blazer” rips (if he hasn’t swallowed his own tongue yet). And Stephen freaking A. Smith will be fired if he deems the Blazers unworthy of his time and words as he did in 2006.
Not only was this a best-possible scenario for Portland, but for the entire Northwest. As I wrote yesterday, this was my ideal situation because Seattle will most surely be staying put and better yet, the I-5 meaning actually means something again.
It is difficult to convey the significance of this moment in history with simple words, but I will point to my not-so-dear pal John Canzano over at the Oregonian, who I have surely disagreed with 90% of the time in recent years, but who I must give credit to for his column today, which is, to put it plainly, quite good. I’d like to highlight this sentence:
"“Which is why when it was revealed at 5:54 p.m. that Portland owned the pick ofthe college litter, I immediately didn’t think of Paul Allen or ZachRandolph, but about all the suffering and carnage in the recent franchisepast, and in turn, all the deserving fans who finally got a wonderful momentto call their own.”"
Yes, we can finally call one of these watershed moments our own. Unfortunately, some in the media maintain a certain stance on this team, like Mr. Mike DeCourcy over at the Sporting News, who’s headline reads “The Blazers get lucky, even if they don’t deserve it,” citing only our draft choices the three years prior to the Roy/Aldridge draft as backup. It’s a little early on Webster, and Outlaw showed strong signs last season, but really, we don’t deserve something because like EVERY OTHER TEAM in the league we have made a few poor draft choices? What about picking up Zach after he fell so far, eh? At least Pritchard had the common sense to swindle the Celtics with Telfair.
Ah the Celtics. There seem to be two stances in the media right now, those who feel sorry for the Celts, and others, like DeCourcy, who say ‘get over it, you’ve got a billion championships.’ How can people feel bad for the Celtics and not for any other team that missed out on a prized draft pick? If you want to feel bad for somebody, feel bad for the Sixers, who played to win until the very end and while their three 1st rounders could still give them a very, very good draft, they could have reshaped an entire city with a top pick. You don’t think a miracle win for the city of sorrow wouldn’t have been a sight to see? Think again.
Heck, feel bad for the Eastern Conference, who somehow are now even farther behind the West than they almost ever have been, except perhaps during the 2000-2002 Laker era. Stern might need to find a way to pair up Wade, Lebron and Bosh to create an ultimate West-killer.
- Atlanta may have gotten No. 3, but they aren’t griping about much over there. They now have two lottery picks when they could have had zero. I’d say that’s a good day if I’ve ever seen one.
- Zach Randolph trade rumors are already running amok. I’m not so sure how I feel about the prospect of Rashard Lewis being around yet. I’ve got to think on that one. But you’ve got to think Portland just became a must-look spot for all future free-agents now. Vince Carter, stay away.
- Bob Ryan has some good words, and some horrifying, for Boston fans. I highly recommend watching the video clip of Tommy Heinsohn, who represented the Celts. Celts fans, again, nobody on the national level put more eggs into this basket than you. A little look back at history would’ve settled you down.
- I know he probably wanted to leave a good mark, but Jerry West is leaving the Grizz on July 1, so he can’t be all that disappointed. That open GM job isn’t too enticing now is it? That sound you hear is Mike Iavaroni sprinting back to Pheonix.
- Don’t listen to anyone who says we need an NFL-like draft system. You think the “tanking” was bad this year? The reason it mostly works in the NFL is for one, it’s hard to get an entire football team to tank without being obvious, and two, a single player in the NFL has a far smaller impact on a team than in the NBA, where one guy can make a franchise for years.
- I know I made a joke about Simmons up there, but Bill, could you post your column please? Not only do I want to read it but I want to make sure you’re ok. EDIT: He’s alive, but I don’t know how well.
- Look for mock drafts coming up in the couple days, and my arguement for Oden over Durant.
- And finally, you knew this was coming, I will have this saved on my TIVO until…forever.