I want to start off by saying great work Tyler and Evan; you guys in no way contributed to my sheer and utter disappointment with the community this evening. I have an opinion that I feel is valuable to share and I hope it's heard and considered before disregarded.
When the number four pick was announced, I winced and turned away like many others. I had grown quite fond and attached to Exum and when he was available and not chosen, it came as a shock. After that, I cooled off, gathered myself, watched the various press conferences, saw the trade for possible stud PG Elfrid Payton (a highly coveted prospect by many smart basketball minds) and tried to organize my thoughts and recover from the surprise of a draft day that didn't go ideally in my admittedly limited view. Then I came here. Kind of a mistake.
I think we'd all benefit if we approached situations with a modicum of humility and stop adopting the internet cliche of brash opinions stated with little disregard for conceivably being wrong or out of line. I think that was my main gripe with tonight's tone. The finality of the opinions coupled with the certainty of the tone. These guys are busts. Hennigan is garbage. The end. That was the accepted narrative.
The comments I had to read tonight were embarrassingly in line with the mindless vitriol one is exposed to on the lowest denominator of viral interaction. Apparently an eighteen year old kid who was deemed the best basketball player in a respectable conference as a Freshman isn't worthy of us at least waiting until he steps foot on the Amway floor. Nope, he's a bust. As side-chair analysts we know best and our measurements dictate that he's not even worth putting in an effort to develop. I hope for his sake that he's not privy to the toxic words being thrown around on this board and raucous boos flooding our home arena in what was meant to be a celebration of a new addition to our squad. I hope Rob Hennigan, deemed a savior by a majority of this board on several occasions, has tough enough skin to endure the calling for his job after he has what we (in our expert and infallible analysis) considered a bad day at the office. This opinion has already been entrenched in many of our minds due to preconceived notions that three prospects aged 18-21 are all they're going to be as athletes and as human beings for the rest of their careers.
I came into the day expecting to walk away with Exum and Stauskis. Instead we're walking away with Gordon, Payton, and Fournier. Am I currently mildly disappointed in that result? Sure. Am I so short-sided to think that today will mark the beginning of the end of our beloved Franchise? No. Being a critical and passionate fan is one thing. But being insufferable and impulsively pessimistic is another and let me tell you, it's not a fun environment in which to converse.
A few frequent commentors on this site have an attitude towards the silent follower. The members that read and gather information instead of injecting our opinion into the forefront. Well I'm speaking on behalf of that group by saying that may be the case because a select few of you are so rigidly set in your opinions, (of which some are occasionally caustic and unreasonable) that it's very hard to maintain a productive dialogue. I think Orlando fans are generally passionate and a top-tier representative of the ideal basketball fan. But if we were to be judged on the 1500ish comment sample size of tonight's proceedings, we'd blur the lines between passionate viewer and the entitled Heat fans we so frequently lambaste.
Am I concerned with the lack of balance in the sense that we have possible defensive stalwarts but few who specialize in scoring the ball? Absolutely. But I'm not going to allow that initial concern to cause me to become reactive without first gathering a decent sample size of this core playing together. That just seems like a logically flawed thing to do. Lets watch the Summer League. Lets watch them compete. The ironic thing is Gordon very much has the makeup of a fan favorite; a merciless proclivity for hustling and a willingness to "run through a wall for us" as Durant put it while describing Russell Westbrook. If he even begins to max out on his potential we have a top 5 player in this draft on our hands. If Payton continues to play with that chip on his shoulder that helped him ascend from little known 2nd round prospect to one of the top four PGs on every GM's board, we have a cornerstone at the position. It's been two seasons and we irrationally feel entitled to success suddenly. That's not how dynasties are built and it's not the sustainable model. In the simplest terms, give it time please.