Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin on the Same Team: It Almost Happened
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Most Oklahoma City Thunder fans' hearts skip a beat when they think about what might have been "IF" they had better odds of selecting Blake Griffin in the 2009 NBA Lottery and teaming him up with the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
As everyone knows by now, Griffin was eventually chosen by the Los Angeles Clippers after the Clippers received the No. 1 seed or the best odds to select the Oklahoma City-born basketball prodigy, who was No. 1 on the draft board of every general manager that year.
Griffin is making an attempt this year to play his official rookie year and come back from the proverbial "curse of the No. 1," where three previous first-round draft picks chosen by the Clippers have fallen to injuries in their first season.
But anyone who follows NBA basketball and the Thunder will tell you that "adding Blake Griffin to the current Thunder team would instantaneously thrust the Thunder into a World Championship contender, making them a superteam like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics."
Someone like Griffin playing in the paint is really all the Thunder need to get to the next level. Thunder GM Sam Presti did go on to select James Harden with the No. 3 pick that year, and Harden has proven to be a decent pick. But allow yourself to fathom once again how this team could compete if it had Blake Griffin.
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Can someone say "multiple championships for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a few short years?"
In the wake of "The Decision," which allowed LeBron James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent to join perennial NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade and former Toronto All-Star Chris Bosh in Miami to form another NBA superteam, this makes Oklahoma City Thunder fans gasp at the thought of "what might have been" had they been lucky enough in the lottery to have selected Griffin.
If you look at NBA superteam juggernauts like the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, it is obvious that they are comprised of multiple superstars and this, combined with team chemistry, has pushed the bar to obtain a championship in the NBA to another level.
But based on a successful season of winning over 50 games last year, GM Presti is going to have to pull a proverbial rabbit-out-of-the-hat through trades or in free agency to be able to add the "missing pieces" to the current Thunder team so that they can compete with these superteams.
Since the Thunder are winning now, chances are that landing a lottery pick won't be an option anytime soon.
As the lottery results were announced by NBA lottery officials in 2009, Oklahoma City Thunder's coach Scott Brooks looked as if he wasn't surprised about the pick they had and having a legitimate shot at landing Griffin, even though most people think that the participants of the live event have already been informed of their so-called "picking order" prior to the lottery ceremony.
But crazier things have happened since the lottery's inception that have actually defied the normal way that "odds" play a role in the selection of the lottery picks.
When the New York Knicks got the best chance for the first pick in the 1985 NBA lottery, some claimed the lottery was "fixed" for the Knicks to win a better chance at selecting former Georgetown All-American Patrick Ewing No. 1 that year, and those claims have never gone away, even 25 years later.
The San Antonio Spurs and the city of San Antonio have to be the luckiest lottery winner of them all by winning it in 1987 to land David Robinson and then again in 1997, allowing them to select Wake Forest All-American Tim Duncan. We all know what happened after that.
The Spurs went on to win numerous NBA titles after being the beneficiary of those two No. 1 lottery picks, and might be the NBA's best example of lottery fortune.
But Thunder fans can't help but think what might have been "if" they had gotten the most balls in the lottery to select Griffin. But as the old saying goes, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas."
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