With the possible exception of the Detroit Pistons, it’s very conceivable to think that the best eight teams in the NBA came from out west this season. Last night, the Draft Lottery only strengthened the conference.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics were awarded the top two picks in June’s Draft, meaning the two most coveted players this side of LeBron James will be playing in the same division next season.
It’s likely the Blazers will select Ohio State Center Greg Oden, especially considering the San Antonio Spurs are about to cruise to their fourth title since drafting a similar big man ten years ago. Oden would join Zach Randolph and Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy in a starting lineup that if healthy, should make the playoffs next season.
The Sonics should also be in playoff contention with Kevin Durant, who dominated the college game unlike any player in recent memory. Durant and Ray Allen can be as devastating a scoring tandem as any two players in the league, including division rivals Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.
You have to wonder how the middle of the pack teams from the West; particularly the Los Angeles Lakers are feeling today. The Lakers have the best player in the league, yet barely made the playoffs the last two years. It is doubtful they’ll make any improvements to next year’s roster, and they certainly won’t be able to acquire anyone in the Oden or Durant realm.
Other than the Lakers, the Warriors, Clippers, Hornets, and Kings are going to be among the teams that might feel even more squeezed by Oden and Durant’s presence.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference just has to sit back and watch the West further its dominance. They’ll just have to settle for being second best.
Will Portland Blow It Again? – Ballers, Gamers and Scoundrels
The Kevin Durant Show: Up for Sale – Sonics Central