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Three reasons for Seattlites to care about the NBA Draft

Yes, Seattle fans are still rightfully bitter about losing the Sonics.

But that doesn't mean there isn't reason to watch tonight's NBA Draft, which will start the selection process at 4:30 PM PST (the 4 PM PST listed time is merely pre-game chatter).

Three players with Seattle ties are in the mix to be drafted, as described earlier today by Seth Kolloen of The SunBreak:

Former University of Washington star Quincy Pondexter and Tacoma kid Avery Bradley are the two local guys who'll likely be picked in today's NBA draft (4 p.m., ESPN). Charles Garcia, who starred for Seattle U last year, is also in the draft hopper.

Bradley is a likely first-rounder. Pondexter is projected as a late-first rounder. Garcia's just hoping to get drafted at all.

Both Bradley and Pondexter were included in Kevin Pelton's draft projection analysis on Basketball Prospectus. Bradley came out statistically similar to former lottery pick Dajuan Wagner, a volume scorer whose career was cut short due to health concerns. Pondexter was projected as similar to Sacramento Kings wing Desmond Mason, who was arguably a bit more athletic coming out of Oklahoma State University. But what of Garcia?

Garcia's athleticism and versatility at 6'10" had people comparing him to everyone from the Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom to Golden State Warriors forward Anthony Randolph to Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche. A friend even once compared him to former All-Star Tom Chambers. And admittedly, at the beginning of the season Garcia looked like college basketball's best kept secret with SeattleU coach Cameron Dollar calling him the best basketball player in the state.

However, concerns about Garcia's low efficiency and inconsistency against relatively low competition led most observers to believe that he should have remained in school another year to discipline his game on the court and work on the intangibles that separate good players from great ones. Nevertheless, it's not uncommon for a team to take a gamble on a player like Garcia so he'll be worth keeping an eye on from a Seattle perspective.

So you can watch the draft this year without fear of losing your Seattle basketball street cred. After the draft, you are free to return to being bitter about the rapid development of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook who only stand to get better as members of the Oklahoma City Thunder.