Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I Ball For Real, Ya'll Dudes Is....Greg Oden?
Anyone think Portland might be having a few flashbacks? No? You think they're starting to regret their decision. Maybe not, right?
I'm sure you all heard Trail Blazers rookie center Greg Oden is getting some cut up on his knee. They're saying its minor, but it's another in a line of injuries for Oden, and dude hasn't played in a preseason game no less.
During his and Kevin Durant's freshman years at Ohio State and Texas, respectively, I repeatedly stated that Durant should be the number one overall pick in the draft in the summer. Durant's on-court explosiveness and NBA-ready scoring ability was too dominant to pass up. No disrespect to Oden, I love his dominant inside defense and I think his offensive game will at least be formiddable, but Durant made the college game look too easy and he had that fire that the greats always have.
Before the draft, I repeated the same, though I knew it wouldn't happen. To a lesser extent, it compared favorably to the Texans taking Mario Williams over Vince Young and Reggie Bush in the 2006 NFL Draft, preferring to draft need over future Hall-of-Famers.
Don't get me wrong, Portland made a good decision. Oden will anchor that defense for years to come (if he doesn't suffer Bowie-like chronic injuries) and he will make the Blazers a perennial contender. However, Durant has that Jordan-like intensity and is as clutch as they come. The Supersonics might not be a lock to be perennial contenders, but they got the player who has a chance to be one of the best ever, and he has the talent alone that can carry a team far. I'll always have the feeling that the Blazers will kick themselves in the long run for just making the good, safe decision.
The Blazers would have definitely still have been contenders with Durant. They already had a young big man in LaMarcus Aldridge, who has a better low-post game than G.O. by far. With Channing Frye coming in, they would have had a frontcourt of Aldridge, Frye, Durant to go along with Brandon Roy and Jarrett Jack/Steve Blake. Tell me that's not a potential great team.
But they made the safe pick that really wasn't that safe. In 2006, the summer before his freshman season, Greg broke his right wrist, which really didn't heal until the end of the season. In July, during the summer leagues, he had his tonsils taken out because he couldn't breathe right on the court. And then the knee surgery, that's two major injuries before turning 20. Add to the fact that big men injuries should be considered more dangerous than others, and that safe, supposedly-lock pick doesn't seem much like a lock now.
But, maybe this is the last major injury for Oden, and maybe it's not that major anyway. But the irony is, the safest pick of the '07 Draft may be in Seattle.
UPDATE: Oden will most likely miss the 2007-2008 season with after arthroscopic microfracture knee surgery.