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It's not all bad news for OKC

by Berry Tramel Published: January 12, 2007
The Hornets are 13-22, their best ballplayers remain on the disabled list and they've been trotting out lineups that would be hard-pressed to belly up to the Washington Generals, much less the Washington Wizards, who hit the Ford Center tonight with scoring whiz Gilbert Arenas and the world's ugliest uniforms.

And that's all the bad news you're getting out of me.

Optimism can be found on the Oklahoma City NBA front, provided we do indeed end up with a team somewhere along the line, and that rosy outlook includes the woeful records of the Hornets, the team that's here, and the Sonics, the team that could be.

In the 30-team NBA, the Hornets rank 24th and the 13-25 Sonics rank 26th. Hello, lottery.

The Hornets, via bad luck, and the Sonics, via a bad team, have played their way into the Greg Oden Derby.

Oden is Ohio State's second coming of Bill Russell, a 6-foot-11 freshman with the wingspan of a C-130 and a look meaner than Robert Parish. The lucky NBA lottery winner takes Oden and plugs its middle for the next 15 years.

And even if you don't pick first, this will be a deep and talented draft because the NBA gutted the 2006 draft by banning high school seniors. So if not Oden, Kevin Durant or Joakim Noah or one of those international flashes will be available early.

Can the Hornets or Sonics fall deep enough to win the lottery? The 24th and 26th positions aren't as prime of lottery real estate as 28th and 30th. Finish with the worst record in the NBA, and your chances of picking first in the 2007 NBA draft are decent. Finish a little closer to respectability, and your chances diminish with each victory.

So should we suddenly shift and start cheering for defeats with the Hornets, who someday conceivably could move back here, and the Sonics, who might get here a lot sooner than that if Seattle doesn't build a new arena?

Well, I'd say no on the Hornets, yes on the Sonics.

First off, the Hornets aren't a bad team, and they're going to start winning as soon as injuries heal. David West will be back soon, Chris Paul and Bobby Jackson not long after that. Peja Stojakovic should be stowed until next season after back surgery, but CP3 and friends will zip away from lottery territory.

"We've got 13 wins,” West said.

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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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