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The Hypothetical Impact of Kevin Durant on the Trail Blazers

Updated: Jan 8

Greg Oden and Kevin Durant 2007 NBA Draft

With the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft…most fans know the rest as the Portland Trail Blazers selected Ohio State Buckeyes big man Greg Oden, a player many thought would be a pillar for the team’s future. 

Sadly such was not the case. 

Before we jump into what could of happened had the Trail Blazers front office gone with the supremely talented Kevin Durrant with their first pick, lets take a quick trip back in time to the 1984 draft when the team decided to take Sam Bowie over Michael Jeffery Jordan. Even if you have never watched an NBA game, you know Jordan’s name, as opposed to the hardly heard of Bowie. 

Heading into the 2007 Draft, a class that featured two prominent players and a handful of talented supporting cast level players, the Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics possessed the top two draft picks and the ability to change the fortunes of professional basketball in the Northwest United States. 

Entering their second year with the Blazers, guard Brandon Roy and forward LaMarcus Aldridge gave the team two of the three pillars needed for the young, rebuilding team (in addition to Jarret Jack, Travis Outlaw, and Martell Webster). Thinking that they could create a modern-day twin-towers by adding Oden the 7’, 250lb big man, visions of a championship banner were on the minds of the franchise and their fans. Unfortunately, injuries halted the debut of Oden until the following year. 

Had Portland selected Texas’s freshman small forward instead, the team would have had one of the Western Conference’s top young shooting guards with Roy, an inside/outside presence in Aldridge, and one of the purest scorers to be drafted in recent memory in Durant. To complete their starting five, Portland would add Steve Blake and Joel Przybilla, two solid role players. 

Imagine if Kevin Durant and Brandon Roy were teammates in Portland rather then I5 rivals

Regardless of moving a couple of hours south on the I-5, Durant would still win the Rookie Of The Year, giving the Blazers back-to-back honors as Roy captured the title the year previous. It’s unlikely that KD’s first-year stats would change much from what his were in Seattle, but they would make him the Blazers leading scorer for the 2007-08 season. 

Whereas the Blazers finished the 07-08 season with a 41-41 record and tenth in the WC, the altered version with KD in the lineup would likely finish the season winning ten extra games, knocking the 8th-seeded Denver Nuggets out of their playoff spot. While they would likely get swept by the LA Lakers, just as the Nuggets did, it would end the Blazers' four-year post-season drought. 

As with Seattle (turned OKC), Portland is a small market that treats its star players like royalty. Unfortunately, Durant would not be able to do anything about Roy’s career-ending injuries and departure and their success would mean that they would not draft Damian Lillard in 2012 (they would likely possess a mid to late first-round pick), but with the combination of KD and Aldridge, would attract a mid to top tier point guard such as Jason Terry, Goran Dragic or even Steve Nash or Deron Williams. 

Durant and Aldridge likely wouldn’t have the same love/hate relationship that KD did with Russell Westbrook and the Blazers would likely have similar success to that of the Thunder, leaving KD to turn to the Golden State Warriors dynasty for what amounted to a pair of NBA titles. 

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