The Blazers weren’t satisfied passing on a top-10 all time player just that once.
Maybe newly hired general manager Kevin Pritchard was trying to wipe the stench of the 27-year old Jordan/Bowie debacle clean, but all he did was leave a bigger stink in 2007 when he opted for a clearly damaged Greg Oden with the overall No. 1 pick.
In a draft that was supposed to be two players deep, the Blazers chose as wrong as wrong can be and with the second pick, the Seattle Supersonics gratefully scooped up Kevin Durant.
The same Kevin Durant who has two championship rings and is headed for his fifth scoring title.
The same Kevin Durant with 11 All-Star appearances, a spot on the league’s 75th Anniversary team, and three Olympic gold medals.
There were even some other diamonds in this draft. Had the Blazers gone with Mike Conley, Al Horford, or any of the 17 other first-rounders that played 10 or more seasons in the NBA, the pick may not even be on this list – Durant or no Durant.
But Oden played just 105 games in the NBA; fewer than his draftmates and league legends Aaron Gray, Sean Williams, and Kyrylo Fesenko. In one of the deepest drafts in league history – one third of the players drafted went on to play 500 or more NBA games – the Blazers managed to come up empty.
So yes, Portland does own bragging rights to the two worst lottery picks in NBA history. They’ll likely get an opportunity to redeem themselves this summer, however, and we’ll dole out some credit where credit is due next week when we feature the Blazers’ five best draft picks.