Portland on a Cloud

May, 23, 2007
5/23/07
11:04
AM ET
  • The Blazers' Jim Taylor on his Blazers Evangelist blog: "I squeezed my way through the throng to get up on stage where the broadcasters were and for a better look back at the crowd. I couldn't hear or understand anything that was going on, I could just tell people were really happy and I just kept snapping pics. I looked up and saw Brandon Roy had an envelope in his hand and I thought, 'hey number three ain't too shabby, but these fans sure are going crazy for the third pick.' And then they flashed the draft order and there it was, the mother of all miracles. Portland had the number one pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Arguably the deepest draft in history. Then everything switched to slow motion for me. Mike Barrett was high-fiving his fellow broadcasters. Bill Schonley getting hugs from everywhere. Blazers Broadcasting executive producer Scott Zachry with his fists pumped and raised in the air. Ime Udoka with even a bigger smile than he usually has. Freddy Jones grinning from ear to ear. Fans holding up their Blazers shirts and signs and yelling their heads off and chanting ODEN-ODEN-ODEN. It was like something out of movie."
  • Jack Brown of Deceptively Quick: "I was trying to remind myself that I cannot do backflips, so ignore the urge to attempt one. I high fived everyone in the place, whether they wanted to or not. I was drinking iced tea. I immediately paid my bill and fled the scene. Every crappy song that came on the radio was my favorite. I left a crazed screaming message on my girlfriend's voicemail (who by the way, isn't a huge fan). Friends called and couldn't stop talking about the surrealness of this. It was a struggle to keep the speedometer around a legal level. I will admit, I felt a little wetness in my eyes. Unbelievable. How good can things get?"
  • The Oregonian's Jason Quick: "The team already has seen a resurgence of Rip City, a term coined by former announcer Bill Schonely to reflect Portland's love of its only major league professional sports team. On Tuesday night, the team's Web site received so many hits it crashed. Hours later, after the site was restored, another onslaught of hits rendered it frozen. As technical experts worked frantically at one end of the Blazers offices, the phone lines on the other end of the Rose Garden were jammed with fans wanting to buy season tickets."
  • And more Quick, from his Behind the Blazers Beat blog: "On his way back to his New York hotel, Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard was beside himself. There was some excited cussing, but also a calm professionalism. There is nothing Pritchard is more confident of than his ability to evaluate players. He boasts about his scouts (Chad Buchanan, Michael Born and Jason Filippi), and he religiously references his computer database, complete with quantitative analysis and simulators. 'I'm going to make a decision that is not easy,' Pritchard said. 'But it will be a good decision for this franchise.' One of the decisions has already been made. Pritchard said he will not trade the top pick. 'I can't see us trading this pick,' Pritchard said. 'This is a very top-heavy draft and we feel like there is an unbelievable difference maker. They don't come around. As we move our timeline with Brandon (Roy) and LaMarcus (Aldridge) and a young team, we feel like his player will really be a benefit to that.' I think a key factor that should not go unnoticed is that Seattle got the No. 2 pick, and how that might become a factor in the Blazers' chances at signing Sonics free agent Rashard Lewis. I think the Blazers are intent on luring Lewis from the Sonics come July. And wouldn't Lewis' view of the Sonics and his long-term future/role in Seattle change if the Sonics draft Durant -- a player who plays the same position? Could the Blazers drafting Oden force the issue?"
  • E-mail from TrueHoop reader Brad: "Pritchard will have to earn his paycheck this summer, because, depending on the direction they decide to go, Portland could be in the center of a lot of action."
  • NBA.com's Jeff Dengate, writing from the secret room where the ping pong balls are selected: "Of course, those of us in the room nearly had to take his pulse because Pritchard's reaction to the announcement was, well, nothing really. 'I was a little stunned and Rich (Cho, Seattle's Assistant GM) told me first, 'That's you,'' Pritchard said, assuring us he was aware Dershowitz called out Portland as the winner. 'It takes a while to sink in. Even now, I'm probably not expressing how I feel. We're excited. We know there are some franchise players in this draft and we're excited.' (There was no questioning his excitement after the picks were announced on air, however, as Pritchard rushed out of the conference room forgetting to reclaim his cell phone. Upon return, he said, 'My guess is this thing is full already.')"
  • Adam Hoff of WhatIfSports: "... this has been building. The Roy/Aldridge draft last year dramatically altered the course of this franchise. They also saw Randolph come back from microfracture surgery and play well, experienced a great story in Ime Udoku, and then watched their young guys grow up down the stretch last year. Blazers fans were VERY excited for next season. And now this. Portland is back on the NBA scene in a big way and the excitement is palpable."
  • Blazer fan launces a site calling for the team to draft Kevin Durant.
  • Oregonlive's Casey Holdahl: "When you mention the Blazers in a bar, you're not going to get that look like you're crazy for following the exploits of a bunch of losers and social pariahs. They're going to want to tell you how they've always loved the team, how they stuck by even when it seemed like there was no chance for improvment and that they would have come to the Rose Garden even if the Blazers hadn't drafted Oden/Durant. And they'll be liars. But you know what, the anger that I use to feel toward fair-weather fans has melted away. I'm stoked people can be Blazer fans again. So while I'm happy for the hardcore fans, you longtime blog readers, the team and myself, I'm happiest for the wayward fans that can once again feel what I and many others feel when we root our butts off for the home team. So hop on the bandwagon you Johnny and Jane come-lateleys. It's going to be a wild ride. People who have never been to Oregon are going to be Blazer fans. "Rip City" signs are going to find their way back to windows around the state. The term 'Jail Blazers' will go the way of the Dodo. You won't be the only person on the bus wearing red and black. You'll actually see the Blazers on national television. You'll forget about Jermaine O'Neal and Sam Bowie and LaRue Martin and Bill Walton's foot. You'll have to buy tickets in advance and pay more for beers at the Rose Garden. You'll go to the Rose Garden."
  • UPDATE: If you're an extremely serious Portland fan, listen to this somewhat torturous (dozens of interruptions) confer
    ence call
    with Kevin Pritchard and Brandon Roy.
  • Nate McMillan tells the Portland Tribune he has a headache from screaming: "'Now all this says to me is we're doing things right ... the people of Portland deserved this ... I'm sitting here with a migraine from yelling so loud.' Seattle wound up with the second pick, and Atlanta got the third pick. Memphis, Boston and Milwaukee, which had the greatest odds of securing the No. 1 selection, instead will draft fourth, fifth and sixth. McMillan wanted to be by himself Tuesday. He watched the draft by himself in North Carolina, and prayed after Portland was assured of being in the top three."

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