Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thoughts on Greg Oden's season ending surgery
Growing up as a sports fan you hear such phrases as "this team is cursed". Every fan base believes their team is cursed but for the most part they are just poorly ran. I truly believe the Portland Trail Blazers are a cursed franchise. The Blazers have now passed up a legend for an injury prone center twice now. That isn't even including the fact they passed up on Larry Bird in 1978 draft. This isn't even including how the Blazers did have the best player in the NBA in Bill Walton and his hall of fame career was drastictly cut by injuries. The Blazers lose Greg Oden for the season before his year even began. I believe Greg Oden has played his last game in Portland. In the following blog post I'll talk about the short lived career of the Blazers for Greg Oden.
Before I dive into Greg Oden I'll briefly touch on Portland's past problems. First the Blazers drafted Bill Walton out of UCLA in the 1974 NBA draft. Walton was injured from the start as well missing most of his first two seasons in Portland. Then in 1977 Walton led the Blazers to their first ever World Championship. In 1978 during Walton's MVP season the Blazers had the best record in the NBA but Walton went down in the playoff series against the Sonics. The Blazers were upset in the playoffs and were never the same again. Walton in fact sued the Blazers shortly after that. Had Walton been able to stay healthy great chance Portland repeats in 1978 and could have possibly been a dynasty. Instead they got the one title.
The Blazers would get another crack at greatness in the 1984 NBA Draft. The Rockets took center Hakeem Olajuwon out of Houston university with the first pick overall. That left the Blazers on the clock who chose center Sam Bowie from Kentucky who had missed two full seasons due to injury. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan with the next pick. That pick growing up has haunted the Blazers as Jordan led the Bulls to 6 NBA championships, 6 finals MVP's, won 5 MVP's and torched the Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals. He is regarded as the best player in NBA history. While Bowie played for the Blazers just four seasons including just 25 games his last two seasons. The Blazers did trade him to the New Jersey Nets which allowed them to get Buck Williams in return who helped them reach two NBA finals.
The Blazers franchise could never live down the horrors of passing up the greatest basketball player to ever live the game. The Blazers should have been the team every bandwagon fan growing up liked not the Bulls. The Blazers have had bad luck with big men just like when they drafted Arvydas Sabonis in the 1986 draft. He didn't play for the Blazers until 1995-96 season and by then he was a shell of what he was. He was from the Soviet Union and that was during the cold war era so it took him forever to come to Portland. Had Portland had Sabonis in his prime years they could have won an NBA Championship.
The Trail Blazers after cleaning up the Jail Blazers image which happened after the game seven collapse to the Lakers in 2000. The Blazers had an epic choke to the Lakers in the 2000 game seven Western Conference finals which saw one franchise go on a dynasty run winning three championships in a row. The Blazers went downhill as Bob Whitsett panic and started trading away young pieces like future NBA all-star Jermaine O'Neil. The Blazers overcame all of that with the draft of 2006 selected LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy who were the two of the three best players in that draft class. That set up the next year draft lottery which Portland received the #1 pick.
The Blazers had the sixth best odds at getting the top pick in the draft. This was a top heavy draft that featured Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Durant had huge upside given he was 6'11" and can shoot the ball from anywhere while Oden was still a project on offense but defensevily he was there. Bill Simmons was the only analyst who said to pick Kevin Durant while every expert said Greg Oden. The Blazers ran a poll on their website and the fans overwhemly voted Greg Oden. With the first pick the Blazers selected Greg Oden from Ohio State while the then Seattle Supersonics selected Kevin Durant. Now looking back it is looking like history is going to repeat itself.
The injuries started right off the bat for Oden as he had to miss his first season. He was injured before the year had even began. Meanwhile Kevin Durant was winning rookie of the year. The Blazers fans were getting a sense of Deja Vu all over again. In the second season Durant continued to put up huge numbers while Oden actually played in 61 games but wasn't a factor. In the third season Oden started off terrific but was done for the season after just 21 games while Kevin Durant became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring. Now Kevin Durant is leading the league in scoring again for the Zombies while Nate McMillan is left wondering what if? Greg Oden's season is over before it even began. Greg Oden has as many missed NBA seasons as he has playoff victories(2).
The Blazers could have had Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy which would be the best three man up and coming group in the NBA. Instead they are left wondering why us? Add in the recent news of Brandon Roy who has already had two knee surgery's himself Blazers fans are walking around on eggshells. When Greg Oden was introduced to the Portland crowd for the first time fans visioned them being the next dynasty. Instead the picture I chose for this blog post they have seen far to many times. The Greg Oden story is another tragic misfortunes in a long list for the Portland Trail Blazers. People talk about the Seattle sports curse all the time I think it's time Seattle includes Portland into the mix. Sorry Portland but you truly are the most cursed NBA franchise.