The Oden -Durant debate
Is anyone else tired of whenever Durant has a big game or his team does well that this debate is constantly brought up on near every sports webpage. Its totally unfair as i belive 27/30 GMs at least would of picked Greg Oden 1st overall.I mean the man was a can't miss prospect, a once in a decade center. Yet everyone say that the Blazers made the wrong pick. Obviously hindsight is 20/20. So im wondering if you were in the spot the Blazers were in that year who would you have selected?
The bottom line is this: I would have picked Oden, but I would have been wrong.
To be honest I don't really see this debate anywhere anymore.
I don't think the Blazers made the wrong pick. They just didn't do a good job helping Oden transition his body to play NBA basketball, hence, led to the predicament he is in today.
What body of work do you have to judge the Blazers pick on? Its obviously not a basketball related body of work as Oden hasn't played enough to show what he is capable of. We can't blame the Blazers for the pick when we couldn't forsee Oden's injury situation.
With the above being said if you get the same situation again a dynamic wing scorer vs. a legit 7 foot defensive big man almost every GM in the league will still pick the legit 7 foot defensive big man.
This isn't a debate anymore and I really haven't heard anyone bring it up in a while. 90% of the people would have picked Oden. It just sucks he has been hurt, but it happens.
I believe it was closer to 30/30. Sam Presti would have gladly taken Greg Oden had he landed pick #1. Kevin Pritchard said Durant had one of the best workouts he had ever seen, still took Oden. Honestly, even teams with centers more than likely would have taken Oden. There were rumors of the Magic trying to trade Dwight Howard for the first pick.
There were definitely people who liked Durant more on websites such as this one, heck there are always people who are going to like one player more than another. Just, people seem to forget that Greg Oden's injury history leading up to the draft was a broken wrist. That is all that was talked about. Every other injury prediction was pretty much kept to his being drafted by a team that had taken Bill Walton and Sam Bowie.
Drafting Greg Oden at the time, seemed like a relative no-brainer. Kevin Durant had a fantastic freshman year, but people seem to forget that Greg Oden was also an All-American who lit up a Florida front line with 3 top 10 picks. He was a complete and utter monster as a prospect. Hindsight is definitely 20/20, but at the time it was an incredibly different picture. People seem to forget that when this debate arises.
^Not to mention he was a lot more skilled than people give him credit for now. He played his freshman year with a right broken hand, and still managed to shoot 63% from the stripe with his off hand (double Drummond's % with his good hand).
On one hand, it's silly to keep killing the Blazers on that five years later. On the other hand, I don't think 27 out of 30 GMs would've taken Oden. I'd say it'd probably be more like 20-10. Oden was dinged up throughout his one year in college and had the face of a 50-year-old man when he was 17; there was alway something about him that just wasn't quite right.
^I think GM's cared more about Oden dropping 16/10/3+ with a bum hand ( and no leg injuries to that point) and playing in the NCAA championship game as a frosh than they cared about him being ugly.
7' in shoes 7'5'' wingspan, 34'' vertical the same 3/4 court sprint time as Ramon Sessions. They didn't give a flying f*** that he was ugly.
Rose and beasley debate. Should you take the scorer or the player at a key position like PG or Center. Sometimes it works out like for the Bulls and other times it doesnt. Most GM's would have picked oden over durant and rose over beasley. That just shows how hard it is to draft the right player, if you hit on the player you are set and if you miss you could lose your job.
It was definitely NOT 20-10. Who cares how old he looked? He had an injured wrist! That was it! If Anthony Davis had an injured wrist, I think people would be marvelling even more at his freshman season output. Would play next to no difference in where he was drafted. But, he only has a unibrow and does not LOOK old! Really, now? I mean, LeBron James looked old. He turned out fine.
Maybe 30-30 GM's would not have drafted Greg. Lets look at the lottery that season to see the percentages as to whom they would have taken first:
1. Blazers: Obviously Oden.
2. Thunder: The worst defensive team in the league has a chance at a defensive anchor. After busting through center after center, they would have definitely taken this one.
3. Hawks: Had they gotten the first pick, easily Oden
4. Grizzlies: Greg Oden central. Put Gasol next to Oden, with a young Rudy Gay. Absolute Oden pick.
5. Celts: Were praying to get the next Bill Russell. Has anyone looked more like Bill Russell as a HS prospect? Literally and in his strengths playing the game? If there was a modern day Bill Russell type prospect, it was Greg.
6. Bucks: Yeah, they took Andrew Bogut #1 in 2005. Have to say, still think they would have taken Greg.
7. Timberwolves: Oden. KG might have even considered staying. Well, until Greg would need microfracture surgery a few weeks later (yes, that sucked. No, it was not announced to the world before the draft)
8. Bobcats: MJ may see things differently than some. His picks have been unorthodox at times. He definitely would have taken Greg Oden.
9. Bulls: Oden. Next.
10. Kings: You mean the team full of wing players who drafted Spencer Hawes?
11. Hawks: Went over this one.
12. 76ers: Greg. Oden.
13. Hornets: This one might have been Durant. The Hornets had already invested a tad in Tyson Chandler and were low on wing help. Still think Oden is in play, but this was the best chance Durant had yet.
14. Clippers: Oh, they had Chris Kaman? Still would have taken Oden.
Now, of the spots where people had even the slightest chance of drafting Greg Oden, that is at the least 12 out of 14 slots that would have been Greg Oden. Not so sure it would not have been 14 out of 14. Look from the POV of the teams drafting at the time and I bet 1 out of 3 was not thinking about Kevin Durant. They may tell you that now, but at the time it was VERY different.
For people that just think Oden was a bust or was not going to be very good, etc. (still some who bring that up), lets look at this. When he went down after 21 games in 2009, he was shooting 60.5% from the field and 76% from the line, putting up 11 and 8.5 in 24 minutes. That is not too shabby and he was getting better as the season wore on. Durant people look like geniuses and he was obviously the correct pick in hindsight. But, it was not as close of a race as 20-10 in 2007.
IF Greg Oden would've never gotten injured, there's no doubt in my mind that he'd be the best center in the NBA right now.
7' in shoes 7'5'' wingspan, 34'' vertical the same 3/4 court sprint time as Ramon Sessions
It has absolutely nothing to do with attractiveness! of course nobody cares if he's ugly or not. I'm talking about developmental/body issues that accompany the question, "Why on earth does this person look like he has aged 50 years already, especially for being gigantic?"
Ever heard of those diseases where people age too fast? Ever hear of those diseases that cause people to grow way too quickly? I'm not saying Oden had those, but there have to be some red flags there.
^It's amazing that people forget how skilled he was as a young player. He wasn't a big dude that you would have to teach how to do a drop step jump hook and hope someday he can give you 10 ppg as a starter. He had a very nice skillset as a 19 or 20 year old. With refinement paired with his physical tools he could have been a 20+ ppg scorer pretty easily.
Also, it's one thing to say all 30 GMs would loved Oden, and that's fine, but are you telling me that zero out of 30 GMs were able to foresee how special Kevin Durant is? Is it a surprise that he led the league in scoring in three of his first five years, is humble, quiet, doesn't get in trouble on or off the court, is unselfish when necessary, has ice in his veins late in games, is coachable, a gym rat, and has accomplished all of this before turning 24? You're telling me not a single GM thought maybe that might happen, it just blindsided everyone? No way.
That's ridiculous lol.
I've seen Greg Oden up close a ton of times, and yea... He definitely looked like a grown man. There's no doubt about that. However, you could see enough in his features to see he was just a kid. If you saw his father, you'd see where he gets those facial lines from.
I'm not saying I'm some genius, and I've certainly been wrong about many things, but I even said myself, "Something just isn't quite right about this guy," in regards to Oden. He just always looked like he was lumbering. Those HOF big men were all so light on their feet (with the exception of Shaq, but he had width, Oden never really had width) ; Jabbar, Dream, Robinson, etc. I think even Bill Simmons wrote a piece on that.
I don't think so, there have been plenty of NBA players who had excellent NBA careers that were taller than Greg Oden. He was 6'11'' barefoot and 7' in shoes. He did not have the look and lack of movement as someone with a pituitary gland tumor (like Muresan who was still a 15 ppg 10rpg center in his prime).
There are many forms of giantism, and nothing in regards to Oden's coordiation, athletic ability or proportions indicated that he was stricken with any disease or genetic disorder. Only that he was a big, athletic, well proportioned guy with no history of leg injuries.
I have a friend who went bald at around 20 years old, he didn't have a disease. I had a friend who could buy beer at 16 because he had a full beard, no developmental disorder. There is absolutely nothing with any scientific merit that can back up your statement. The guy had a big forehead and looks older than his real age, so does Ron Perlman. So does Lebron James...
Agree to disagree =) I just have a hard time believing there weren't 10 GMs who were either skeptical of Oden or sensed that Durant would be able to do what he's doing.
You mean Bill Simmons' piece about how he knew all along Kevin Durant would be better than Greg Oden based on the fact Durant walked and glide across the room smoother than Oden did lol? Does this guy look like he's lumbering to you???
Just saw Maurice Lucas in that video... RIP.
I think everyone knew how special Durant was. Problem is you have this massive, athletic, skilled C who is just as young as Durant that just dominated the college game with a broken right wrist. That just dropped 25 and 10 in the national championship game against 2 top 10 big men and possibly 2 top 7 Cs in the league today. With no history of knee and leg problems. That can be your go to post scorerand defensive anchor. He was the obvious pick. It's terrible it didn't work out.
oden at OSU was a damn good skilled player for being only like 19......
i think he wouldve been the best center in the nba right now if he was healthy
Centers can be franchise changing, and Oden was one of the most elite center prospects in NBA history. If his body didn't break down, he likely would have been a top 3 center in the NBA at this moment in time.
The fact that people had Oden over Durant doesn't mean Durant was underrated. It meant that Greg Oden was that good, and potentially could have made a team a championship contender for 10+ years.
Don't forget too, that as Oden was a workout machine Durant was not near the athlete he is today. It took addition of strength and some physical maturation for him to become a guy who can get his arm above the rim.
No one doubted his skill, ability to produce, or length, but this is a guy, at 18, who had a 26'' standing veritcal, wasn't very fast nor did he have great lateral quickness and has possibly the most famous bench press statistic in combine history.
I think there were more questions about Durant, than Oden. No one was questioning Greg Oden's transition to the NBA from a physical standpoint. There were concerns regarding Durant ever having the strength to be an effective small forward in the league. Hence him playing the 2 for the majority of his rookie year.
Nobody will believe me when I say this , but I would of taken Durant first. I understand Oden was a once in a decade center , Durant was a once in a decade talent. 6'10 SG/SF with 7'5 wingspans and sweet jumpers mixed with excellent ball handling don't come around. Actually I have never seen anyone like Durant in the history of the game and to me Oden physically was comparable to a dozen Centers before him. While nobody has ever seen anything like Kevin Durant from a potential , skill , natural talent , and intangibles standpoint. I would of for sure taken Greg Oden 2nd even though a guy like Al Horford and Joakim Noah have been better players.
I never would've even considered Oden over Durant. I've said forever that I've always thought Durant was better then Oden. With that said, I didn't understand just how rare a player of Oden's caliber was at the time and from day one in college Durant won me over.
Oden played a better game and the Trail Blazers won. At that point picking Oden over Durant was just a common notion then Oden broke his kneecap and while rehabbing somehow damaged his articular cartilage to the point where he needed his second and third microfracture. Two microfractures and a broken kneecap later and sure Durant is the better pick but when does that ever happen. Seems like Oden has some sort of undiagnosed condition. You can blame the medical staff to a point but seriously who has ever needed two microfractures following inactivity or rehab?
To be completely honest, I would not have picked Oden. I never liked him, not sure why but I always thought Durant was special and Oden was going to be a 15-12-3 kind of guy. (Not bad, I know) I never saw this 24-12 guy that most did. You have no idea how many times everyone gave me crap for saying Durant would be better.
you guys pretty much said it all I gotta say is if everything panned out like he was supposed to and he was healthy The USA Olympic team would not be sweating the recent injury of Dwight.
The Blazers then had LaMarcus Aldridge at the 4 and Brandon Roy at guard. I think a potential star small forward in Kevin Durant would have fit in better.
Pryzbilla was a solid, servicable big who could board and block shots.
Going into that draft I think that most people really liked Kevin Durant's potential. Probably similar to Jordan in 1984. But they saw the potential/reality of Greg Oden and Sam Bowie -- guys that can be legit centers for over a decade.
But, both turned into EXTREME cases. Jordan MAXIMIZED his potential and turned himself into the best ever. But back then shooting guards didn't win titles -- centers did. But, Jordan outperformed anyone's expectations and turned into a once every two decades guard -- at minimum. Only Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant have even come close. So that is 5 guys since the NBA started in the 1940's.
Durant is really special and looks like he can turn into a 6'11 Michael Jordan (if Harden can turn into his Pippen), which would be unreal.
But, Oden and Sam Bowie really had injury plagued careers that effected them. Both guys had talent, but injuries robbed them of that. Everyone said that, hey, Oden might not be the next Russell, Wilt, or Kareem but he should be a top 4 or 5 center in the league every year for a DECADE. So that is hard to pass up. Not sure what everyone thought about Sam Bowie back in 1984 but it was probably something similar. A big 7 foot center with size and skill. Should be a great guy to have in the middle for the next decade.
Ironically, this year's draft is somewhat similar to 1984. You have the supposed "no-brainer" first pick with Anthony Davis. AD can defend, block shots, run, rebound, score, and do it all. Heck, he might be the new Dream. Olajuwon was closer to 6'10 than 7'1 but he was extremely skilled, a late bloomer, and worked very hard. If Davis has a comparison maybe it's not Kevin Garnett or Tim Ducan, maybe it's Olajuwon. A big man who can dominate inside and on defense, with a guard's agility and quickness.
Then you have the real debate. Who to take at 2. Back in 1984 you had Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Bowie, and Charles Barkley. But I guess it was between Bowie and MJ.
... Bowie was more of a "sure thing", a center with upside. Would he be as good as Jordan? Who knows. But he is a solid center with athleticism and size. Jordan, people thought, could be great, but some thought of him more as a very good role player. A 6'6ish guard/small forward who can get out and dunk, defend, and score.
... maybe the debate today between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Andre Drummond is similar. MKG has a high ceiling, but many are only projecting him as a Gerald Wallace type. ... not MJ. Few are calling Drummond a sure-fire dominant center, but most are saying that he should be a quality big man for years, possibly even a perennial all-star.
Then you have a big man or two with talent behind that. Then you had Sam Perkins and Charles Barkley. Now you have Thomas Robinson, a strong, high-motor power forward with great hops, intensity, scoring, and nice dunking skills, but some thing he might be a little undersized. And he kind of came out of nowhere, before exploding onto the scene this year.
Back then you had Olajuwon, Bowie, Jordan, and Barkley among the top 5 picks (along with Sam Perkins). Now you might have Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, MKG, and Thomas Robinson in the top 5.
As someone who was living in Portland at the time, I will tell you why the Blazers thought Greg Oden was as much of a no-brainer as pretty much every GM in the NBA thought taking him #1 was at the time. Now, seeing that you obviously put lots of research into this monumental bit of hindsight, here is what you might have left out in your "Durant was the better fit even at the time" scenario:
- Greg Oden has had an injury riddled career. This is true. Was not exactly like Joel Przybilla was the picture of health either, though. The guy over the first 7 years of his career had played in 328 games (yes, better than Greg Oden, but still 4 seasons in 7). His averages up until than? 3.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 1.7 bpg (that last one is awesome, the others not really) in 19 mpg. The Vanilla Gorilla averaged 2, 4 and 1.6 in 16.3 mpg in 43 games the season before the 2007 draft. Joel was an AWESOME back-up center, a defensive obstruction and became a solid rebounder. He had next to no offensive game and was not exactly a championship caliber center.
- The Blazers spent the 6th pick in the 2005 Draft on a HS player they had not remotely come close to giving up on yet. His name was Martell Webster. Now, Mr. Webster may not have been Kevin Durant, but he certainly seemed destined to be a better starting 3 than Joel was a starting 5. Martell was built like a tank and the Blazers saw a possible Glen Rice type 3 man. Martell indeed could be a dangerous shooter at times and he had the ability to body other SF's. The problem was, he could not really dribble or create much for himself. However, he had just come off of his second season and was 20 years old. He definitely was still in the Blazers future plans, especially when you are given the ability to draft a potential franchise big man.
- Such dislike of the Greg Oden/Sam Bowie comparisons. Sam Bowie could ball, but his injury concerns were DEFINITELY there and for good reason. Sam was a talented center for Kentucky and had a very solid first two seasons. Than, he missed the next two seasons completely due to shin problems. In college! He had shin problems IN COLLEGE that caused him to miss two seasons. His sophomore season in 1980-81. Junior year? 1983-84. Now, I was not even born yet, but if that is not a red flag BEFORE a draft, do not know what is. He was still a 2nd Team All-American as a junior (after averaging 10.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg and 1.9 apg. He was 3rd team as a sophomore averaging 17.1, 9.1 and 1.4), but the red flags were plentiful.
- Also happened that the Blazers, who acquired the 2nd pick through a trade and were actually coming off a season that they went 48-34, had an All-Star SG in Jim Paxson and a player they loved in Clyde Drexler at the same position. Had the Blazers won the coin toss, Hakeem Olajuwon would have been a no brainer. I also believe that had Patrick Ewing entered the draft as a junior, he would have gone 1st and the Blazers would have swiped Olajuwon without thought. Either way, both were obviously superior prospects to Bowie. No one knew Mike was going to be Mike, but Sam Bowie had incredible red flags BEFORE the draft. Greg Oden had them AFTER the draft. Major difference.
Sam Perkins is probably the other name you meant besides having Sam Bowie twice. Still, think that you did not exactly do your research behind what you wrote. Hindsight is 20/20, but there is a usually a reason for the history behind these picks. The reasoning may not always be the same or as sound as one would like, but Greg Oden was an entirely different scenario than Bowie. Just happened that they were drafted by the same team and had a great player picked after them. I find the Blazers reasoning behind the Greg Oden pick much more sound than in many of the other poor decisions they have made over the years.
Everyone is looking for the next great Center or PG. Thats first thing. As a dominant force no one was going before Oden. On top of that, you are talking about a kid in a man's body against a guy who teams kept saying he was too skinny and needed strength. Its not saying its right to base everything on that. Its just part of scouting. If you go back on this site a few months ago, people were saying they wouldnt take Davis over Drummond, but the difference in their season changed some hearts and minds. Most of those initial notions had to do with the fact that one is physically mature at a young age and the other is a work in progress. This was not another Sam Bowie situation in my mind. I probably wouldve picked Oden too.
I've always argued for Oden, on this site and some people disagree but I honestly believe if He hadn't gotten drafted to Portland or they would have had a better training staff he would be the best center in the league today. I hate calling people busts because of injuries and I refuse to use it with Oden, I hope he can come back and play one day.
I know people hate per, but Greg Oden's last year playing before he was injured, he was at 10th best in the league. He averaged 11.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes. He also shot 60 percent and 76 percent from the line. If Greg Oden never improves, they are better than Tyson Chandlers career averages. People said he had to improve offensively, which he could have but he actually had a drop step, a jump hook, and he could catch alley oops. Only Like 3 or 4 centers in the league who can do all 3. Bynum, Brook Lopez, Bogut and I think he can still improve but Dwight Howard. Another thing, teams always want a dominate center, Kevin Durant looks much better because Oden is injured but Kevin Durant can still improve defensively, and as a passer.
When Greg Oden was drafted he was 257 pounds. Portland said they wanted him to gain about 25 pounds of muscle to bang better, he didn't have any problems in high school or college. Also people bodies are different, sometimes gaining weight puts more pressure on the other parts of your body, mainly the legs and back. Hmm, I wonder why Greg continuosly got injured, also They said he had made his muscle's so strong they crushed his kneecap. He could have balanced his weight and lost some to prevent this from happening because after the first injury all he did was legs. Also look at Brandon Roy, the Trailblazers should fire their training staff.
I saw Brandon Roy training with Tony Wroten, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, and Isaih Thomas, I hope he tries to come back. I also hope Oden comes back, if all he does is average his career avearges of 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, it will be great, once again right on target with Tyson Chandler. He could be a defensive stopper and I think Miami can use that right now. That is where he said he wanted to go. Miami or Indiana who may lose Roy Hibbert this summer.
I have so much respect for Oden and am rooting for him to return so bad, that I'd watch every single Miami game if he signed there and was healthy enough to contribute... And I can't stand Miami.