The look on Kevin Durant's face said it all. The player known as K-Smooth looked shocked, confused and disappointed. Durant, after toiling through a franchise-worst 20-win season highlighted only by his Rookie of the Year Award, could have used a reversal of fortune at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. Instead, lottery luck escaped him and his Seattle SuperSonics franchise.
The Sonics will have the fourth selection in the June 26 NBA Draft, one slot better than the worst possible outcome the team could have had and two positions worse than where the team was slated to pick before the order was determined. The Chicago Bulls, with only a 1.7 percent chance of getting the top selection, won the No. 1 overall pick. The Miami Heat, which had the best chance at the first pick, will select second. The Minnesota Timberwolves will select third. With the fourth pick, the Sonics likely won't have a chance to draft either of this year's two prized prospects, Kansas State forward Michael Beasley or Memphis point guard Derrick Rose, both of whom have long been the consensus top two picks. "Surely everyone would love to have the No. 1 pick in any lottery,” said Sonics General Manager Sam Presti in a telephone interview shortly after the lottery's announcement. "But we're excited to have the opportunity to add another talented player to our team and continue to build on the foundation that we have in place.” Durant, who the Sonics drafted last year after winning the No. 2 overall selection despite being slated to select fifth, was visibly more disappointed. Although Durant couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night, the team's top five selection next month was supposed to usher in a player the Sonics will surround Durant with for the foreseeable future. But there is a steep drop off in talent after Rose and Beasley, talent evaluators say, and the Sonics must now make the best out of Plan B. "Draft's are always dynamic in nature, and you have to find ways to try to improve your team,” Presti said. "And a lot will depend on what happens in front of you. We'll make the best decision that we can for our organization based on the work that our scouting staff has put together throughout the year.
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Chicago Bulls executive vice president of business operations Steve Schanwald gives a No. 1 sign after winning the NBA Draft Lottery, giving the Bulls the number one pick in the draft. Associated press