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Orlando vs. Boston: Previewing the Eastern Conference Finals | Basketball
Here’s a little story that must be told about two younger brothers and how they destroyed Seattle basketball. Rashard Lewis, another product of the 1998 draft, and Ray Allen at one time had Seattle looking like an up and coming team in the NBA’s Western Conference. In 2005, they won 52 games and took what may have been the best San Antonio Spurs championship team to six games. Then their coach left, Rashard signed with Orlando, and Allen was traded. Good thing Nick Collison now has Kevin Durant’s shoulder to cry on, while Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen will issue each other longing glances as if they were cast in the Disney movie The Fox and the Hound.

Former Thunder coach, P.J. Carlesimo shared some insight with John Rohde. I have to admit, I'm really happy when people discuss Westbrook and names like Rondo and Wade pop up. I've always thought Westbrook was a potential Wade/Rondo hybrid. If only Mullens could live up to his poor man's Dirk potential...

John Rohde: P.J. Carlesimo is amazed by it all |
"Kevin and Jeff were in a very difficult situation that first year because they were such high draft picks and they were going to be the face of the franchise going forward. There was all the normal rookie-veteran stuff on that team, but the way Kevin and Jeff handled themselves really made it work. That could have been a very difficult situation with a lot of resentment, but it wasn’t because of the type of guys they’ve got."


Another key to the Thunder’s rapid ascent has been Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft, whom Carlesimo didn’t feel should play point guard. "Then again, I don’t know what (position) Dwyane Wade plays, either," Carlesimo said with a laugh. "I believe in him (Westbrook) as a talent. Russell reminded me of (Boston’s) Rajon Rondo from Day 1. The thing that stuck out with me was the anticipation and the steals. But the ability they have that no other point guards have is the rebounding. They distort a game with their rebounding. Russell totally disrupts you with his quickness, his steals, his anticipation and then his rebounding is off the charts."

Just in case you were wondering, Hoopsworld broke down how each team earned their traded picks for the 2010 NBA Draft. For more information on the other picks visit the link provided. For example, check out the details of the Knicks #9 pick which was traded to Phoenix and then to Utah. Phoenix must be allergic to good draft picks.

2010 NBA Draft: The Traded Picks - Hoopsworld
#26 – Oklahoma City (from Phoenix) – The pick isn't very high, but the Thunder received it (with another) when they agree to take on Kurt Thomas' contract from the Suns back in 2007. They wrangled picks from the San Antonio Spurs in trading Thomas away as well, so for the Thunder Kurt Thomas has been the gift who kept on giving.

#32 – Oklahoma City (from Minnesota) – The Thunder received this pick for Chucky Atkins and Damien Wilkins a year ago along with Etan Thomas and that has worked out nicely for them. Atkins wasn't a factor and picks at the top of the second round have become very valuable in recent years because teams can snap up the players who fell from the first round without guaranteeing them first-round rookie scale contracts.

#50 – Dallas (from Oklahoma City) – Dallas received this pick with the rights to Rodrigue Beaubois last draft for the rights to Byron Mullens. It's safe to say they are pleased with the deal.

#51 – Oklahoma City (from Portland via Dallas and Minnesota) – This pick has bounced around a bit, but went from Portland to Dallas in last year's draft, to Minnesota for the rights to Nick Calathes, and then to OKC in the Atkins/Thomas trade.