NBA NOTEBOOK: Oden Struggling to Stay Healthy

Adam MillerCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2008


Greg Oden has to be the biggest league tragedy in recent history. He hasn’t lived up to expectations of being a future top center for the NBA.

            After just returning from season-ending surgery, he is expected to miss another two to four weeks with a sprained foot. Oden just can’t catch a break. It couldn’t have happened to someone least deserving either as he has been very humble about playing in the NBA.

            But injuries don’t care about what type of person you are.

            Hopefully Oden can play this season. The Portland Trailblazers are sure going to need him. Without Oden, the Blazers are with a bunch of lanky big-men who aren’t real centers.

            For now, Portland will likely have LaMarcus Aldridge and Channing Frye upfront. Both are solid post players. When Oden comes back, it would be in Blazers coach Nate McMillan’s best interest to treat his No. 1 pick from last season with kid gloves.

            For the first few months of the season, he doesn’t need to play more than 20 minutes a game. Portland fans may want Oden to play 40 minutes a game, but he first needs to prove that he can stay healthy.

            If you picked Oden in your Rookie of the Year pool, you likely aren’t going to be happy with his results. Even if he starts, it’s going to take awhile for him to shake off the uneasiness that players have when they are hurt so often.

            Knicks having buyer’s remorse over Curry

            Chicago Bulls’ General Manager John Paxson knew something that the New York Knicks did not. Even with a healthy Eddy Curry, the center is likely to slack off so much that whatever upside he has in scoring is weighed down by his laziness.

            New York scored 120 points against the Miami Heat, which is proof that Mike D’Antoni might be cooking something at Madison Square Garden, if the Knicks can continue that phonetic pace all season.

            It’s clear that the one player who isn’t going to be part of that team is Curry.

            Zach Randolph did a nice job in the middle (20 points, nine rebounds), but the Knicks shouldn’t expect him to pull that off the entire season. Rumors currently have Curry going to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington, who would only clog up the forward position even more.

            The Knicks may be a better team than last season, but they are not going to do well in the Eastern Conference playing two power forwards. They are badly in need of a shake-up that would involve trading at least Curry, hopefully Stephon Marbury if anyone is willing to take the former star point guard.

            Atlanta impressive in win over Magic

            The Atlanta Hawks aren’t quite dead.

            At least yet.

            A team decimated by the loss of Josh Childress outscored the Orlando Magic straight out of the gate and never looked back. The Magic are favored to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but an undersized team featuring Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Joe Johnson outhustled a much bigger Orlando squad.

            The Magic struggled to keep up as the Hawks shot an efficient 44 percent and put Rashard Lewis on the bench early with foul trouble. Atlanta’s win doesn’t necessarily mean it will win the Eastern Conference, considering they still have 81 games left in the regular season, but it is a good start to a team that was considered to be lottery-bound.

            The Magic are going to need fewer and better shots from point guard Mike Bibby (4-for-15) if they expect to compete with teams the rest of the way, but the numbers suggest that they will have no problems rebounding this season.