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Lady Luck not on Sonics' side
But picking fourth not a death sentence

by Berry Tramel Published: May 21, 2008
The last time an NBA team put down stakes in Oklahoma City, it hit town with an awful record and nothing much going for it other than a rookie point guard.

Who was taken No. 4 in the draft.

Don't despair that your future Sonics' run of lottery luck ended at one year. Courtesy of David Stern's ping-pong balls, the Sonics will pick fourth in the 2008 draft. That's a disappointment, not a death sentence.

That's how the NBA works. Luck comes and luck goes. Wisdom endures, and it's about time Clay Bennett started finding out if whiz kid Sam Presti knows what he's doing.

The 31-year-old general manager has impacted the franchise in only one meaningful way: a batch of trades that cleared cap space and brought draft picks. Any bozo would know to pick Kevin Durant, as the Sonics did last June at No. 2. And hiring P.J. Carlesimo to coach was an obvious keep-the-seat-warm-until-we-get-halfway-good decision.

Now Presti starts earning his keep. No. 4 is a fascinating spot in the draft. No. 4 is a draft slot of home runs and strikeouts; of superstars and busts.

I did some quick research. In the last 40 years, the No. 4 overall pick has been a bust 26 percent of the time and turned into a star 18 percent of the time.

Big-time ballplayers are available at No. 4, so long as you can spot them. Chris Paul was a No. 4 in 2005, transformed the previously 18-64 Hornets and energized Oklahoma City's maiden NBA voyage. Now he's one of the four best players in the NBA.

Toronto stud Chris Bosh was a four.

Lamar Odom, too.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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