3. Throwback Thursday: The SuperSonics’ Final Draft Classes
By Nick Shekeryk
The NBA lottery draft was held Tuesday night in Chicago. The annual pre-draft selection ceremony gives all 30 NBA teams insight into their options for adding the next crop of future superstars to their rosters. While the New Orleans Pelicans walked away with the coveted number one pick ahead of June’s draft, one thing missing from all the hoopla of yet another lottery ceremony was the hopes of bringing one of these exciting young players to Seattle.
The Seattle SuperSonics have been missing from the NBA for over a decade now, but their final draft pick efforts back in 2007 and 2008 have left a lasting impression on not only the team they were devolved into (Oklahoma City Thunder) but the entire NBA.
In June of 2007, the SuperSonics selected University of Texas freshman Kevin Durant as the second overall pick in the draft. After a dominant year for the Longhorns on his way to unanimously winning all major college player of the year awards, Durant has an explosive rookie season, earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team, along with teammate Jeff Green.
While the 2007-2008 season proved to be the team’s last in Seattle, the SuperSonics put together one more brilliant draft class in 2008 before businessman Clay Bennett bought the franchise and took it to Oklahoma City.
In 2008, the SuperSonics drafted UCLA sophomore point guard Russell Westbrook with the fourth overall pick. Westbrook never got the opportunity to play a professional game as a Sonic, but a great first season led to a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team.
Oklahoma City has been a perennial playoff contender, with Westbrook and Durant continuing to shine as two of the league’s top stars for the Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, respectively. The SuperSonics may no longer be a part of the NBA, but the presence of its final draft selections have continued to leave a mark on the league more than a decade later.
There have been talks of bringing the Sonics back to Seattle, but everything seems to be speculation at this point, with more focus going towards finalizing the details of the NHL’s expected arrival in Seattle before the 2021-2022 season. While we wait for Seattle’s NHL franchise to reveal its name, we can rest assured that when the NBA returns to Seattle, it will be under the name SuperSonics.
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