What an interesting night at the NBA Draft in New York City. Nobody was surprised that the Portland Trailblazerz took Greg Oden with the #1 pick, no matter how much GM Keith Pritchard gave vague answers that were sort-of contrary.
Nor was anyone surprised that the Seattle Sonics made the no-brainer pick of sloppy seconds Kevin Durant in the #2 spot of the draft.
I will add to that my lack of surprise when Kevin Durant becomes a truly big name long before Greg Oden does. Yes, I realize that basketball fans the world over already know exactly who both of these players are. I'm referring to their becoming mainstream media darlings.
How do I know this? Simple, I've watched both of them.
I've watched Greg Oden oh-so-gradually morph into the second, boring coming of Tim Duncan. That would be the guy who is a great player, who may or may not be the championship-caliber cornerstone of his team for years to come, and who nobody outside his region will care about because he is absolutely the most dull interviewee ever.
Greg Oden is all about simple, safe answers. He wants to make sure he says the right thing, the simple thing, the answer that people can't read into and pick apart and plaster on the front page of the sports section. That's all well and good, but color me uninterested.
I'm not saying I expect Durant to be the next Latrell Sprewell in order for his fame to spread past the West Coast, but I can certainly appreciate his willingness to ham it up with Gilbert Arenas and adopt that same free-wheeling, boyish charm that has made Arenas such a fan favorite all around the league.
It's hard to say which player will succeed first in the basketball sense, though both teams will get better very fast. Oden gets to play alongside last year's Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, the gradually improving Jarrett Jack, and Durant's former teammate, LaMarcus Aldridge. That lineup is nothing if not... young.
Durant, on the other hand, joins new rookie Jeff Green and Rashard Lewis (who is more likely to re-sign with Seattle now that Ray Allen is gone) in what should be a potent offense, though the team still lacks a true #1 point guard or center.
Only time will tell which player will make it rain championships first in the newly competitive Pacific Northwest.