George Karl claps back re: OKC Thunder – SuperSonics draft legacy

George Karl claps back to SportsCenter for linking OKC Thunder and Seattle SuperSonics. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
George Karl claps back to SportsCenter for linking OKC Thunder and Seattle SuperSonics. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

With the OKC Thunder landing the second overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA draft, fans were celebrating their good fortune.

Entering the draft the trio of the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and Houston Rockets had the best odds of winning the top draft pick each with 14 percent. OKC had the fourth and 12th best odds based on owning two picks. The latter courtesy of the Paul George trade which was where that pick remained.

The Magic were the winners of the night landing the top pick which is the fourth time in franchise history.

Unlike Orlando, the Thunder have never won the top pick, rather the franchise’s highest pick ever was second which resulted in the selection of Kevin Durant.

George Karl claps back to keep OKC Thunder and Seattle SuperSonics separate

In retrospect, fans and media were reflecting on that fact and it summoned SportsCenter to hit social media stating “The No. 2 pick has been kind in Thunder/SuperSonics history” highlighting the prior selections of KD (2007) and Gary Payton (1990).

That prompted, former Seattle SuperSonics coach George Karl to respond “Please don’t combine Thunder and Sonics history. Thank you.”

When Clay Bennett bought the team, many felt he never intended to keep the franchise in Seattle so understandably the Sonics fans felt shafted.

I’m not here to debate the decision or semantics of the move or the choice. In fact, any true blue fan of a local team can empathize with how Sonics fans feel.

In fairness to Sonics fans having their team taken left a big hole for one of the NBA’s storied franchises.  Support for the team had not waned and to this day remains strong and hopeful for league expansion so the market can once again house an NBA Franchise.

While Karl is known to be outspoken, he’s not wrong about this fact. The OKC Thunder have elected to keep the two franchises separate. That means only records achieved in the past 14 seasons (2008-09) are recorded by OKC.

Moreover, it means players like Gary Payton have no place for their jerseys to be retired.

Karl coached the Sonics for six full seasons between 1992-93 and 1997-98 initially replacing K.C. Jones for the final 42 games of the 1991-92 season. He went on to coach the Milwaukee Bucks (5 years), Denver Nuggets (9 years), and Sacramento Kings (1.36 years).

This year the former coach is one of the Hall of Fame inductees. In 2017, he published the book Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection.  Clearly, Karl has no problem stating his opinion, and to be fair, in this instance, he’s not wrong.

As a fan of the sport, I hope the league will expand with Seattle as well as Vancouver getting back the franchises they adored.

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