Oden busts a cap


Critics are quickly calling the Ohio State standout as the next Sam Bowie. After two injury plagued seasons, Greg Oden will again be out of a season because of a broken left knee. He left in a stretcher on December 5 against the Houston Rockets two weeks after scoring a career-high 24 points in one game and 20 rebounds in another game.

He had surgery Saturday and the Blazers don’t expect him to come back.

After revealing the results, Oden apologized to the team. With a healthy Oden, the Blazers are expected to break away from the West seeds “#5 to #10” club. They acquired a great vet in Andre Miller and with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge expected to improve, things are looking up for the Oregon-based franchise. When the Blazers drafted Oden, he stirred the buzz as the next Tim Duncan.

But now they are calling him the next Sam Bowie.

Bowie, as everyone knows is considered as one of the biggest busts in NBA history. Portland longed for size and in 1984, they found the need of acquiring Bowie as the draft’s second pick overall. Sure, he averaged a decent 10 points in his decade-long career, but he was also injury-plagued. It didn’t help that Bowie was the guy in the middle of Hall of Famers like Hakeem Olajuwon and MICHAEL JORDAN! This was also the draft that saw Charles Barkley saddled at the number 5 spot and John Stockton still in at the 17th position.

Darko Milicic should understand this predicament sandwich by not two but four of the league’s elite (LeBron James # 1, Carmelo Anthony # 3, Chris Bosh # 4, Dwyane Wade # 5).

Anyway, it doesn’t help Oden that Kevin Durant is leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a great start. Other 2007 Draft batchmates that are doing great for their respective teams are Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Rodney Stuckey, and fellow Blazer Rudy Fernandez. Marc Gasol, drafted in the second round of the 2007 Draft (48th overall), did not play in the 2007-08 season but he has been since a vital cog with the struggling Memphis Grizzlies. The guys mentioned have played exceptional ball that should make Oden livid.

Should this faze him?

Yes.

But he also needs to draw something from his predicament.

First up, he needs to be compare to another injury-plagued Portland ace.

Bill Walton didn’t have Karl Malone’s ironman career. The guy was a quick bruiser. But whenever he plays, he gives his all to dominate and create impact. Sure, argue the fact that he had perhaps three or four good seasons in the league but in two of those four seasons, he won championships (one with Portland and the other as a sixth man for Boston). Oden could be a larger version of Kevin Willis. You can see this as positive or negative but Willis was indeed a great backup that fills a team’s need in the center/power forward spots. Willis could have been slowed down by injuries but he can still dish out great performances.

The same could be said to Antonio McDyess, Kurt Thomas, Kurt Rambis, Sam Perkins, and Danny Manning.

However, he could experience rebirth in some way.

The end is not here for Oden’s superstardom. Unlike in the 80’s, sports medicine is not an out-of-the-blue career choice. This is actually thought and there are a lot of players that should have had bad careers but they are still playing in the league. Alonzo Mourning, Grant Hill, and Shaquille O’Neal are examples of this “medical phenomenon”.

As of this moment, the oddsmakers have pretty much given up on the seven-foot defensive wall. But let’s say this: if he comes back he’ll be twice as dangerous for those that have already struck him out.

They’ll never know what will hit them when 52 get the games deserving of his worthiness.

Game over.

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