Greg Oden stands at 7 feet, 269 pounds with broad shoulders—an NBA-ready body. He has a vast untapped potential and a mark of greatness to his already impressive college career. Portland never doubted in signing Oden, against Kevin Durant, they knew Oden would be the safest pick.
In January of last year Greg scored a career high of 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in a 102-85 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, that was the only glitter in Oden’s career as a series of micro fracture injuries has hampered his growth while playing only 82 games in three years.
It’s still a long road to redemption for Oden, but the big question is will Portland commit to an $8.8 million contract extension next season? Portland seems to learn and live the life without Greg for the past three seasons. It seems it would be a rarity to see him compete a full 82-game schedule.
Greg could only put his head down and say “sorry,” and it seems this is Oden’s hardest word after all. It wasn’t his fault that he got injured, but still he took all the blame to himself knowing everybody had high hopes in him. But this wasn’t the only franchise letdown for Portland.
That distinction was first owned by Sam Bowie, a 7'1" center who was Portland’s 1984 draft pick, second overall and a pick ahead of one of the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. Sports Illustrated listed Bowie as the biggest draft bust in NBA history with an injury-laden career, including a somewhat familiar 63 games over four seasons.
Portland seems to have an inclination on not signing Oden to a contract extension. But he can find solace with the fact that only five members of his draft have been given an extension. However, there is still so much to prove, so much uncertainty and a lot of doubt to conquer. Portland made the mistake of choosing what they needed instead of choosing talents.
They chose Sam Bowie’s height that could help them in the middle instead of Jordan. And now they chose Oden, who is a perfect complement to LaMarcus Aldridge, instead of the overall talent of Kevin Durant. The time when Oden was in the court he was productive, but there is just too much heartache now to take another risk.
At 22 years old, Oden’s career is far from over. They say some big things come from small packages. But big things usually come with big expectations and somehow Oden failed to live it up to that. He knows there are still time but opportunities somehow becomes limited. Oden needs that chance and somehow ask Portland for another risk, the fans needed assurance this time and hopefully if all goes well that risk will be all worth it.