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

by Berry Tramel Published: May 21, 2008

/> Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace, Dikembe Mutombo. Alvan Adams, the Sooner star, was the 1976 NBA rookie of the year after going No. 4. Adams led those Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Celtics, who were led by Dave Cowens. Yep, another No. 4.

This decade, there's really been only one bust at No. 4, Marcus Fizer.

Eddy Curry and Drew Gooden have been serviceable. Shaun Livingston was, too, before a catastrophic injury.

You would think drafting would be more difficult than ever, with international players and high school seniors or college freshmen dominating the early picks. But the busts at No. 4 — the Greg Kelser/Bill Garnett crowd — came in the old days of drafting college seniors.

The Sonics, like most teams picking No. 4, need much more than serviceable. Serviceable players are what get you in the lottery in the first place.

Can't take Memphis' Derrick Rose, who rates with Michael Beasley as the top two players in the draft? Make sure the pick at No. 4 isn't a wish, but a conviction. Need a point guard? Find one. Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Andre Miller all were picked well after fourth.

Arizona's Jerryd Bayless, USC's O.J. Mayo, Texas' D.J. Augustin and UCLA's Russell Westbrook all figure to be available when the Sonics pick. So it's up to Presti to take the right one.

Easier said than done, but despite the Sonics' lottery luck of last spring, it's not supposed to be easy.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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