Trail Blazers win top pick in NBA draft with huge upset

May 23, 2007 - 6:39 AM SECAUCUS, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Portland Trail Blazers likely will be adding Greg Oden to their stable of young talent.

In a stunning draft upset, the team with just a 5.3 percent probability to get the No. 1 pick in next month's NBA draft came out on top Tuesday night.

The Blazers sent 2006-2007 Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy to the draft as their team representative, and the young shooting guard had a big smile on his face at the prospect of adding college basketball's best center to his team.

"I hoped me being here brought us luck," Roy said. "I think our team is headed for a bright future. If (drafting Oden) happens, it will be nice having a big man behind me."

However, the Trail Blazers already have LaMarcus Aldridge, the No. 2 pick in 2006, and Zach Randolph up front, so drafting Oden could present a logjam.

Oden fell just short of leading Ohio State to the national championship as a freshman. The Buckeyes lost to Florida, which became college basketball's first back-to-back national champions since Duke in 1991 and 1992.

Oden likely would have been the top pick a year ago had the league not passed a rule preventing players from entering the draft directly out of high school.

A highly touted player since his high school days in Indianapolis, the 19-year-old Oden overcame offseason wrist surgery to average a team-leading 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in 32 games.

Oden had 25 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the national championship game against a front line led by Al Horford and Joakim Noah, who also declared for the draft and are considered lottery picks.

Oden was runner-up to Durant for the Wooden Award, honoring college basketball's best player. Durant declared for the draft on April 10.

The second pick went to the Seattle SuperSonics, who likely will select Texas forward Kevin Durant. The consensus college Player of the Year last season as a freshman, Durant likely will replace All-Star Rashard Lewis, who can opt out of his contract this summer.

"We needed a boost in Seattle, and tonight's lottery outcome gives the Sonics organization and our fans great cause for excitement," Sonics president of basketball operations Lenny Wilkens said. "The No. 2 pick will be a great building block for us as we work to bring the Sonics back among the NBA's elite teams.

"This is potentially a franchise-changing night for us."

The 6-9 Durant led the Longhorns to a 25-10 record, a trip to the Big 12 Conference title game and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He led the Big 12 in scoring (25.8 points), rebounding (11.1) and blocks (67).

Durant also set the league's single-season scoring mark with 903 points, becoming just the second freshman in NCAA history to eclipse 900 points.

The Atlanta Hawks will have the third pick. In a stunning turn of events, the Hawks now will have two picks in the lottery (along with Indiana's pick at No. 11).

Had Atlanta landed outside of the top three, Phoenix would have taken their pick as part of the Joe Johnson trade. Indiana would have held on to their pick had it been in the top three, but will send it now to the Hawks as part of last summer's Al Harrington trade.

"This is a big night for the Hawks organization, our fans and Atlanta," executive vice president/general manager Billy Knight said. "The pick will immediately impact our club as we continue to strengthen key positions in our roster."

The Memphis Grizzlies, who had the best shot at winning the lottery (25 percent) after finishing with the league's worst record, had to settle for the fourth pick.

The Boston Celtics, who had the second-best chance to win the top pick, rounded out the top five.

The Grizzlies and Celtics were guaranteed no worse than the fourth and fifth picks, respectively, in the draft because they finished with the two worst records.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Bobcats, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings round out the top 10, and the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers round out the lottery.

The Chicago Bulls, who would pick 23rd, have the right to swap first-round picks with the Knicks as part of the Eddy Curry but have not officially announced it yet.






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