By Darnell Mayberry
The Seattle SuperSonics selected UCLA guard Russell Westbrook with the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Westbrook will join Kevin Durant and Jeff Green as the foundation of a rebuilding Sonics team that could soon be headed for Oklahoma City. The six-day trial between the city of Seattle and the Sonics concluded earlier in the day Thursday, and a Seattle federal judge will now announce Wednesday whether the Sonics are permitted to relocate immediately or must wait until their arena lease expires in 2010.
Westbrook, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard, averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds for the bruins this season.
Westbrook is known as a hard-nosed defender and athletic and versatile guard. But there are also questions about whether Westbrook can play the point guard position or if he’s more of a shooting guard.
“I’m a point guard,” Westbrook told ESPN after being drafted. “I’m going to try my best and go out and do what I can for the team and try to help in any way I can.”
Durant, the reigning Rookie of the Year whom the Sonics selected with the No. 2 overall pick last year, approved the selection, grinning ear to ear as he stood and cheered Westbrook’s selection.
“He’s a great defender, a great guy to be around, I heard,” Durant told ESPN. “He’s a great addition to our team. So I’m excited to play with him next year and I can’t wait.”
Westbrook helped a star-studded UCLA team go 35-4 this season and reach the Final Four before losing to Memphis in San Antonio.
The Sonics also have the No. 24 pick in the first round as well as four second-round picks. Earlier this afternoon, ESPN reported the Sonics had agreed to trade the fourth pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for the Clippers’ seventh pick.