Greg Oden is living proof that the NBA draft can lift a team’s expectations high so quickly and then bring them down almost as quickly on the other end.
But it was also a reminder of how the NBA draft, always highly regarded in terms of getting teams with limited budgets some very valuable talent, can also let them down in a hurry.
Oden is a true case in point. The Blazers took him first in the 2007 draft ahead of Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, who, of course, went on to become a superstar.
Everyone, including the Blazers, were convinced Oden could blend in with LaMarcus Aldridge and other Porland players to take the team to NBA contention. It never happened.
A year ago last March, the Blazers waived Oden after five injury-plagued seasons. At the time, he was recovering from his third microfracture knee surgery.
It seemed to happen right from the start, including in his rookie season when he had surgery for a fractured kneecap. The following yer he had microfracture surgery on his left knee and had another microfracture surgery on his right knee last February.
Because of that, he had only 82 career games and has averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Oden took this season off for rehab purposes, but figures to play somewhere next year. But it most likely won’t be at Portland. The Blazers hope to never ever have a first round pick that turns into such a bust.