Once in a Generation? Greg Oden's Travel Through Time

Bhavik DarjiCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on from the bench in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 28, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Once in a generation big man.

That's what everybody believed Greg Oden would become. A Shaq, Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt "The Big Dipper" Chamberlain. A Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But now people are saying he's like his 1984 counterpart, Sam Bowie. Injuries are limiting him to a certain amount of games. Not only is Greg limited because of his injuries, but also the collection of fouls he picks up in a short period of time.

On the season, he is averaging 3.9 fouls per game. In the past five games, he is averaging 4.4 fouls per game and is averaging a Godzilla vs. King Kong 11.2 personal fouls per 48 minutes, which is 13th in the league.

You see Shaq averaging 3.5 fouls per game, but he still gets the job done. It is because the type of fouls Greg picks up are, well, elementary/early high school type fouls.

Pushing off a player's back while defending the post, putting both hands on his back to push him out (trust me on that one, my teammate at school does the exact same thing). It's like Greg is an elementary kid again.

Maybe Greg choked at the fact he made it into the NBA and forgot everything he learned? Who knows really. The kid is only 21 and still has a long time before he retires. Let's not forget the fact that he is coming off micro-fracture knee surgery and his health is questionable.

It is sort of like Kenyon Martin, except for the fact the real K-Mart (not talking about Kevin Martin) was much more explosive and much more productive than Greg is, but we didn't get to see Greg's would-have-been rookie season if he did not sustain the injury to his knee.

I believe Greg can be that "once in a generation" big man he was supposed to be if he works at the small things that are keeping him from playing major minutes.

Seems like Greg is stuck in the past, though he can quickly come back to the present and launch himself into the future.

But for now, he is along the lines of Sam Bowie, but with much more potential and a lot of heart.