Greg Oden Was the Right Pick

Despite not playing in a game this season Greg Oden has been ruled out for another NBA season

The Greg Oden bust songs have come out full force and this time there might be no turning back. In the past couple of days there has been much discussion regarding the news that Greg Oden will once again be out for another season because of injury. This is the third time that Oden has suffered a season-ending knee injury and with the Blazers in dire need of his services it is a major question of whether or not we will see him in a Blazers uniform ever again.

With fellow 2007 draftee and reigning 2009-10 NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant flourishing in Oklahoma City it would seem that, through the benefit of hindsight, we can easily state that the drafting of Greg Oden by Portland was the wrong choice. However, if you take a closer look into the understanding behind the Greg Oden choice there is no doubt in my mind that it was the right one.

As I said it is easy to say that the Greg Oden pick was a bad one, but if you think back to 2007 you would remember that the Blazers front office as well as fans and analysts alike spent the summer trying to figure out which player would be the better selection. The #1 choice that year was a virtual coin toss between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. The situation was essentially the same as the Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf debate except for one key ingredient to the equation. With the crucial aspect being that Oden and Durant do not play the same position unlike Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.

When drafting players there is always that fine line of drafting for talent or for need. Eve though this was not even a situation that was necessarily talent over need, the need of the Blazers was not for another primary ball handler and scorer.

With the Blazers currently sitting at 8-5 in the tough Western Conference, and their franchise player Brandon Roy currently out with a nagging injury to his knees I guess they could use a legit star. However, back in 2007, Brandon Roy was a healthy, emerging star in the NBA. His silky-smooth play combined with leadership and poise made him a player that any team would love to have as the focus of their franchise.

Why would the 2007 Portland Trail Blazers mess with the center-piece of their franchise by adding another ball-dominating, scoring wing player?

Having two ball-dominant guards in the NBA is something that is not looked upon as the formula for a championship winning team. Year after year we see that the winning teams combine a star wing player with a or multiple quality big men, which was something the Blazers were still looking for back when they chose to draft Oden in 2007. In fact, the Blazers still could use that elusive big man in their line-up as Lamarcus Aldridge is not the interior presence that team’s fear on defence, nor is he enough of a pure scoring force to make up for that lack of defensive prowess. Moreover, the Blazers are employing past his prime, 36-year-old Marcus Camby as their starting center who would serve much better at this point in his career in a backup role.

The Allen Iverson-Carmelo Anthony experiment failed in Denver

The Los Angeles Lakers combined Kobe with Shaq and then Pau Gasol, the Spurs have Parker/Ginobli with Tim Duncan, and the Heat had Wade with Shaq just to give a few examples of championship winning combinations. Contrast that to a Nugget unification of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony or the potential bust of the current Miami Heat team with Lebron James and Dwayne Wade

If Greg Oden was healthy and able to fulfill the vast potential that everyone see’s in him there is no doubt that he would be a perfect fit in the Blazer line-up. His scoring touch isn’t as polished as it needs to be, but when you have Roy and Aldridge as your two primary scorers there is no pressure on him to put up 15-20 points on a nightly basis.

Obviously though this is not the case. Greg Oden is not healthy and he is not realizing his vast potential. Nonetheless I still feel that the most important aspect of this debate is that Kevin Durant wasn’t, is not, and never will be the right piece of the puzzle for the Portland Trail Blazers as long as Brandon Roy is in town.

It is sad to see that Greg Oden will most likely end up being a bust rather than a star, but Blazer fans and Oden critics need to understand the process instead of just pointing to the results.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

11 Responses to Greg Oden Was the Right Pick

  1. Pingback: World Spinner

  2. Venice says:

    Added, I really like your site! :)

  3. patton26 says:

    Personally, I think that the two could have co-existed because Roy can play without the ball and both are unselfish. The example of that currently is that Durant and teammate Russell Westbrook are both wing players who need the ball, but they are both successful and the highest scoring duo in the league this year. So, it could have been possible for the two to co-exist.

  4. patton26 says:

    Good article. Keep up the good work.

  5. djdkt88 says:

    I like Greg Oden but with a guy that plays the center position and the type of injury he has.The best he will ever do for a team is to come off the bench and play for minimal minutes and that is it.

  6. Gregar says:

    Oden was the right choice for sure. I was at the Rose Garden dancing on the court during the draft that day, and I know that every other fan in there wanted him. We already knew we were getting him, but when it was announced we still went crazy. Nice site BTW

  7. hargy13 says:

    Great blog! I love the depth and insight you put into it. I remember how hard it was when they were trying to decide and die to the players they had in the line-up already I think they made the right choice. Although I do think Roy and Durant could play together because Roy is so unselfish. The Blazers need a presence inside if they are ever going to do damage in play-offs. Hopefully health will come for once. Loved your piece!

  8. obamablowz says:

    And I thought being a Sixers fan was tough!

  9. mathjohnson says:

    Good post Chris. You make some strong points, and I particularly like your last sentence. You cannot just look at the results when evaluating performance and expect to make the best decisions about hiring and firing.

    I won’t say Oden was the right choice, because it didn’t turn out. However there were excellent reasons for the decision that was made. This is not the Hawks drafting yet another 3/4 in Marvin Williams when they desperately need a point guard, and there are two top-tier point guard prospects there for the taking. This was bad luck, not incompetence.

    Incidentally, I do believe that when a sound decision yields poor results it’s a must to re-examine the assumptions we all have. So it’s possible that someone could have been smart enough to draft Durant for the right reasons. However as I said in my post on my blog, everyone who has come forward to try to claim that foresight has just revealed how foolish they are.

    http://asubstituteforwar.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/odens-day-was-full-of-woe/

  10. Eh…I’m a results type of guy.

    Plus, Kevin Durant is my favorite basketball player other than Derrick Rose

    Meehan

  11. narnia says:

    loving this blog more and more every day

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