And I guess I might as well share mine—LEAVE HIM ALONE!
Seriously, I don’t understand the media. Greg Oden is a kid, a 20-year-old coming off a very serious operation on his knee, an injury which is hard to recover from, I might add.
Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Zach Randolph, Chris Webber—recognize any of these names? No, how about Amare Stoudemire? You know what these guys have in common they all had micro-fracture surgery, and basically none of them recovered AT ALL.
Think about this—Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was the point guard for the Orlando Magic team that went to the 1995 NBA Finals. Remember that team, with Shaq in his youth and Penny playing out of body the whole season, giving us glimpses of one hell of a bright future?
21 points, seven assists, five rebounds, a game—that was his line that season. Then in 1997, he had a serious knee injury—one very similar to Oden’s—and he was never the same.
His last season was with the Miami Heat in ’07-08. You know what his stats were that year? 3.8 points, 2.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds a game. Penny Hardaway is only 6’7” and 215 lbs. Greg Oden is seven feet tall and 285 lbs.—slightly bigger, wouldn’t you say?
Same situation with the rest of those guys. Did Mashburn ever take off? No. How about Webber? Not really, no. Recovering from micro-fracture surgery is not an easy thing. It takes time, effort, and unbelievable patience.
Now most will use Stoudemire as an example and say “He did it,” he was able to recover from the surgery, which is true—sort of.
Stoudemire had his surgery in October 2005. We just passed October 2008. That is three years! Anyone who actually watches basketball will tell you the following year he was not even close to the same player.
You could make the claim he STILL isn’t what people thought he would be, but he has definitely gotten some of his explosiveness back. Obviously, the medical world has made strides since the days of Penny, so one would hope Oden can recover just as quickly as Amare, if not quicker.
And the “experts” are saying he is going to do what again? NOTHING is more like it. Be realistic, with his frame and that injury I would say we have no right to judge him one way or the other for a minimum of two years.
Give him time to develop. First off, he needs to get in shape, basketball shape—something anyone who watched a Portland game recently could easily say he is definitely NOT in. Then he needs to develop his offensive skills, and hone a post move or two so he is at least somewhat threatening on the block.
Finally, perhaps a year or so from now when begins to get his legs and confidence back, he can use his size and explosiveness (relatively speaking, of course) to get his wonderful defensive timing down.
Then—and only then—will we be able to claim he is or isn’t anything.