Four years ago I was at my friend's house watching a college basketball game that Kevin Durant happened to be partaking in. At that time in my life I didn't really watch a lot of college basketball, but I knew enough to realize that this Durant kid had something special.
I told my buddies that Kevin Durant looked like he'd be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Everyone in the room acted like I was an idiot, that I didn't know what I was talking about. Apparently there was this guy Greg Oden (who I had not seen play) who was going to be a perennial all-star.
Well that year my Portland Trailblazers won the lottery and the rest is history.
Just a few short seasons ago the Trailblazers selected Greg Oden with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft. The sky was the limit with Oden; he was being compared to big men like Patrick Ewing and Tim Duncan. Portland was going to be a championship contender for the next decade with Oden controlling the paint. Oden's potential was so great that Portland passed on the young man Durant.
Oden is no longer compared to Duncan or Ewing; now he is often compared to former injury plagued Blazer center Sam Bowie who the Blazers took over the greatest basketball player of all time in the 1984 draft.
Greg Oden hasn't played a single minute for the Blazers this year, and he's not going to. Oden is out for the year after it was determined that he would need to undergo micro-fracture surgery on his left knee.
This in all likely-hood will end Oden's career in Portland, his contract is up at the end of the season and there is no possible way that Blazers management will resign him.
In Oden's three seasons (this would be his fourth) in the NBA he has played a whopping 82 games; the equivalent of one full NBA season. In those 82 games Oden has 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game; I know those numbers aren't exactly jumping out at you.
What about the kid Portland passed on, Kevin Durant? He's been all right. In his three years Durant has won a Rookie of the Year award, led the league in scoring and last year finished second in MVP voting. He's become the face of the NBA and his Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the top contenders to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers in the west.
Portland has a great team in place, and I know hindsight is 20/20, but can you imagine what they'd be doing with Brandon Roy and Kevin Durant? They would be unstoppable.
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