Last night at the Rose Garden, the Trail Blazers center Greg Oden scored 24 points and pulled down 15 rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks. It's a great double-double for Oden, and an impressive feat no matter the opponent.
But those anointing this game as Oden's "coming out" as an NBA player better take these statistics with a grain of salt. These are three reasons why.
"Starting tonight at center for the Bucks, Dan Gadzuric."
If the public address announcer at an arena near you says these words, count on your center having a big game.
The Dutchman is a decent player that brings energy to the floor for his 10-15 minutes a game, but he's certainly not a starter for any NBA team.
Teams forced to start him are one of two things:
1. Injured at the five, or
2. Really desperate for a starting center
When Gadzuric couldn't get the job done defensively on Oden, the Bucks had to try something else. Their answer: Malik Allen, a journeyman backup who has played for five NBA teams. Good answer, huh?
Of course not.
He also fell mostly by the wayside against the powerful Oden and is too small to compete for rebounding position against the seven-foot man-child.
The reason Gadzuric and Allen had to play as much as they did against the Blazers Monday night is because of Andrew Bogut's back spasms.
People who don't know anything about the Bucks think that the team made a huge mistake by giving the "bust" the huge contract they did in the past offseason.
People who do know about the Bucks know that the success of the entire team revolves around Bogut's ability to set up the offense from the high post, make good decisions from that spot, and rebound.
Had Bogut been in the game, it would've just been another 12-point, 8-rebound night for Oden.
He had a great game against a less talented and undermanned front line of the Milwaukee Bucks. When said in those terms, it sounds like it might take a few more games like this for Oden to be legitimately considered as "the next big thing" in terms of NBA centers.