It’s been almost two years now since the NBA officially abandoned Seattle. And, like a vast majority of misplaced NBA fans in this city, I’ve decided to just altogether forget about the league. At best, I was a nonchalant casual follower every once and a while for my favorite players. Because, while Stern can take the NBA out of Seattle, he cannot take Seattle out of the NBA. Former Sonics such as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis still hold places in my heart, as do former Dawgs like Nate Robinson and Spencer Hawes.
Aside from catching fractions of games in which these players are involved, the one time where I will cast my lot with my NBA and show genuine interest is the draft.
In the near future players such as Isaiah Thomas, Josh Smith, Tony Wroten, Abdul Gaddy and Peyton Siva will just prove as another exclamation of the pipeline of talent that the Seattle area has to offer. While players like Mathew Bryan Amaning in the future, will try to prove, is that U-Dub is an emerging player in the national picture of College basketball.
This year, carrying the torch for the Seattle area is Avery Bradley, formerly of Bellermine Prep in Tacoma. It doesn’t bother me that he chose to spurn UW and go with a national type school in Texas. He was able to take a Kevin Durant-esque spotlight, and, had the Longhorns not completely fallen on their faces, and had gotten tournament exposure, Bradley would’ve been more of a commodity. A legitimate 20 point a night threat, it put him in a perfect position after being chosen by Boston. Which I love, because if Ray Allen returns as I anticipate, Bradley will be able to be groomed by a player that I’m sure he admired attending a few games in the Key Arena when Allen wore the green and gold. Allen is a free agent, but, at this point in his career already with the money, I’m sure he would like to stay with something he’s comfortable with and a team that has a chance to win. Bradley is going to come in and be the heir apparent scoring guard. He’s going to play alongside perfectly with Rondo and Pierce, and of course, gets to clown around with Rainier Beach’s favorite son Nate Rob coming off the bench. I already enjoyed watching the Celtics, now it’s going to be even easier.
Quincy Pondexter’s path to the NBA, and what he represents for sports fans in this city, is a little more satisfying. While he isn’t a native son of the city, he’s been more than adopted, accepted, and adored by us. His four years at the University of Washington has represented the bottom, and the top. He’s been the hotshot Freshman who thought he was too good for everybody, and who believed he was going to be NBA bound three years ago. Now, he’s the strong willed leader willing his teammates in practice to treat everything they do as if it’s an in game scenario. His game has grown from that of an erratic but gifted scorer who took every ill-advised shot you could imagine, to the clutch go to guy who is always below the rim for the put back when the Huskies needed it in the worst way. And nobody, will ever forget the isolation drive to the basket against Marquette, which will go down in legend as one of the greatest shots in Washington history. Quincy will be representing the city of New Orleans next, and I have no doubt in my mind that his hustle, his heart, and his complete skill set will win them over as much as he won us over. Quincy will likely have a pretty quick opportunity to earn playing time in New Orleans. The Hornets are obviously led by their pair of point guards, Paul and Collison, along with David West on the wing. But, unless they want to move Chris Paul to the 2 and start Collison at PG, which they wouldn’t do, then there is going to be immediate opportunities for Q-Pon. While 6-6 was able to cut it at Washington on the boards as a wing type player, his height means that Quincy needs to learn to be more creative off the dribble and improve his shooting range. Things we saw him improve in steady doses at UW. What Quincy provides right off the bat is the ability to score in multiple ways and to be able to operate around the basket, so, if he were to have to occupy a guard position, would be able to body up the smaller guards. He has the athleticism to stick with bigger wing forwards, but, lacks some of the necessary quickness. Still, it would be ideal for one of the few four year Seniors in this draft to be able to grab a starting spot, or at least a sixth man spot, and contribute right away.
Another example of how you can’t take Seattle out of the NBA.