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This year's draft is the calm before the storm
2008 draft: Oklahoma's NBA interest

by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 26, 2008 at 1:06 am •  Published: June 26, 2008
The NBA Draft cometh.

Do Oklahomans careth?

Draft night always holds a certain amount of intrigue and interest. Who will get picked? Who won't? Who will have their name called sooner than expected? Who will be left to sit and stew in the green room?

The beautiful thing is, you'll know all those answers tonight before you go to bed because the NBA measures its draft in hours, not days.

But despite all that, this draft is an odd go-around for basketball fans in our fair state. We don't have an NBA team to call our own — at least not this week. We don't know when the players drafted by the Sonics will play in OKC — if ever. And we don't have any players with in-state ties who are expected to be drafted.

So, how are we supposed to feel about tonight's draft?

Might I suggest we see it as the calm before the storm.

No matter what happens over the next week or so with our latte-sipping friends in the Pacific Northwest, this will be last draft we watch with passing fancy. After this, the NBA Draft will be high drama and high interest for the foreseeable future.

For starters, next year holds great promise even if Oklahoma doesn't have an NBA team.

We just might have the top player in the draft, after all.

Blake Griffin would've been a lottery pick this year had the Oklahoma big man decided to leave after only one season. Just about everybody who projects these things projected him as a top-10 pick. The day Griffin announced that he would return for his sophomore season, one mock draft pegged him No. 7 and rising.

Griffin has his sights set on the top spot. He is aiming to be the first Oklahoma-born and Oklahoma-bred player taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

And there's little reason to believe he can't do it.

A rock solid 6-foot-10, Griffin has an NBA body. His game isn't quite to NBA standards, but he's really only lacking a bit. He still needs to extend his shooting range, and he has yet to develop consistency at the free-throw line, a place where a physical guy like Griffin can make a living.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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