Sonics try to reverse draft trend
Poor selections, roster upheaval have cost club

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 20, 2008 at 1:49 am •  Published: May 20, 2008
Advertisement
;
There are teams that have gotten it right, and there are those that have gotten it wrong.

Lately, the Seattle SuperSonics have missed the mark during each year's NBA Draft and have become fixtures in an event in which franchises rarely want to be — the NBA Draft Lottery, which annually determines the draft order of the league's non-playoff teams.

The Sonics have now missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and have made the postseason only twice in the past eight years. They have the second-best chance to land the No. 1 overall pick tonight when the 2008 NBA Draft order is unveiled live at 7 on ESPN (Cox 29).

It will mark the sixth time since 2000 that the Sonics will select in the lottery, signifying franchise futility.

The Sonics need only look at themselves for their recent ineffectiveness, though, as they've plagued their own franchise recently through the costly combination of poor drafting and roster upheaval.

During the franchise's two golden eras — the mid- to late 1970s and the early to late 1990s — the Sonics kept the core of their rosters intact throughout both successful periods. But the Sonics' roster seemingly has had too much turnover since the trade of Gary Payton during the 2002-03 season to have success.

Only one player, Luke Ridnour, remains from the 2003-04 roster, and only four players, Ridnour, Nick Collison, Robert Swift and Damien Wilkins, remain from the 2004-05 squad.

Add to that, the Sonics have drafted poorly in recent years, save last year's no-brainer selection of recently named Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant with the No. 2 overall pick.

The Sonics passed on players such as Thabo Sefolosha, Ronnie Brewer, Rodney Carney and Rajon Rondo in 2006 only to use the 10{+t}{+h} pick on Saer Sene, a 7-foot center project from Senegal. In 2004, they passed on Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Jameer Nelson only to use the 12{+t}{+h} pick on Robert Swift, a 7-foot center project out of high school. And in 1999, the Sonics drafted Corey Maggette with the 13{+t}{+h} pick only to immediately trade him to Orlando for Horace Grant.

Those transactions mirror the costly mistakes of other franchises that have been bound to the lottery.

In the lottery's 23-year history, the Los Angeles Clippers have been lottery eligible, or a non-playoff team, a record 19 times. They've selected a player in the lottery 17 times.

The Clippers have long had an inability to retain their biggest free agents (Lamar Odom and Andre Miller) and, while drafting well in recent years, they always will be remembered for one of the worst draft choices of all time.



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    10 Most Popular Wedding 'First Dance' Songs
  2. 2
    Psychologists Studied the Most Uptight States in America, and Found a Striking Pattern
  3. 3
    Facebook Post Saves Drowning Teen
  4. 4
    Saturday's front page of the New York Times sports section is simple: LeBron James and transactions
  5. 5
    The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about "bicycle face"
+ show more