Sunday, May 27, 2007

In Kevin Pritchard We Trust

Oden....or Durant....or Oden...or Durant

Unlike some people I've talked to, I don't view Oden as the automatic pick. Conventional thinking may have you take the big guy, but there's also mounting evidence that Kevin Durant is one of those guys that is wired to dominate. At this point, we've all heard rational reasons to pick either one.

I've also noticed a lot of folks summing up the dilemma by saying something along the lines of "I trust Kevin Pritchard with the decision." I was one of these folks.

After all, Kevin Pritchard is our new can't-miss GM. He hoodwinked the league in last year's draft and ended up with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. That Spanish Chocolate pickup wasn't so bad either. He must have a superior eye for talent. Whatever the mystical statistical and scouting system is that he uses, it works. If you picked up a paper lately, you would know this is all common knowledge.

Let's take a step back. The man was promoted to GM on March 29, 2007. We certainly have signs that he is very good at his job, but he hasn't even had his 90 day performance review. Are we basing our unquestioned faith on one draft? I think I was. I took the promotion of Kevin Pritchard as another sign that the Blazers are moving in the right direction and (finally) making the right decisions.

There was a team of Blazer's management (and as much as I hate to say it, an owner) that made the decisions last draft day. When did we decide to heap all the credit on Kevin Pritchard?

My theory for the KP Love? Two names: Bob Whitsitt, Steve Patterson. The last two GM's of the Portland Trailblazers. Not the most popular guys in Portland. Although one can certainly make the argument that these two did some positive things while on the job, you will never here any of that come up in a sportsbar. Neither one ever had the fan support of Pritchard, we're not even sure if they thought that was important.

They were tough guys to relate to. Whitsitt was like a corporate CEO nobody is ever able to see or talk to, but is definitely afraid of. Steve Patterson always struck me as having a politician-like phony way of trying to connect, which got painful to watch at times.

Enter Kevin Pritchard. A personable guy that has been around the team for a while and (as far as we know) performed his duties well. This may not sound like much of a compliment, but when I see him in an interview he seems like a "person." Patterson seemed more like somebody trying to be a "person," and I'm not sure Whitsitt was ever seen enough to formulate an opinion one way or another.

Could our love and devotion for Kevin Pritchard be due to the unpopularity of his predecessors? I think we can say that at least partially, yes. Deciding to give him a bulk of the credit for last year's draft certainly didn't hurt (and could very well be deserved) things either. Whatever all the reasons are, he has an aura right now that he can do no wrong.

So, Oden or Durant?

In Kevin Pritchard we trust.

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