In the 2007 NBA Draft, little did the Portland Trail Blazers know that they would make one of the biggest mistakes in NBA Draft history. They chose Greg Oden, the muscular, seven-foot center over the three-time NBA scoring champion, Kevin Durant. Durant has already made his mark as one of the best players of this generation. On the other hand, Oden has played a total of 82 games over six years.
Oden had to have microfracture surgery on his right knee just a couple months after the Blazers drafted him, forcing him to miss the entire 2007-08 season. He had a promising season the next year in which he averaged nine points, seven rebounds, and a block in 61 games until missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Ever since then, Oden just has not been able to stay on the court. Since the ’07 draft, he’s had to undergo five major surgeries and, evidently, hasn’t been able to recover from any of them. After putting up with more than four years of Oden’s absences, the Blazers finally decided to part ways with him in 2012.
After being released by the Blazers, Oden had to step away from basketball and take the time to try and prove he could ever step on the court again. It’s been about 17 months since Oden had his last major surgery and there are, indeed, a list of suitors willing to give him another shot. Some of those teams include the Mavericks, the Heat, the Pelicans, the Spurs, as well as a few more. Ironically, Oden has made pretty good money while not even playing. On the other hand, as he hopes to return to the court injury-free, Oden likely won’t make more than $3 million in the first year of his contract.
My theory about the amount of big men on a roster is that you can never have too many of them. Oden can start as a backup center and eventually try to settle into a bigger role with the franchise that signs him. Any team would take a healthy Oden who reaches his maximum potential. However, at the moment, he could greatly benefit teams in certain situations:
1. The two-time defending champion Miami Heat who have found a way to succeed without a true starting center. Oden would make the job that much easier for them especially considering they’ll be a year older and slower.
2. A team that is looking for new future pieces such as the Mavericks. It certainly would be a risk but it might be worth it for a Mavericks team who desperately needs to rejuvenate their roster.
3. A young team that wants to add depth such as the Pelicans. New Orleans has reportedly offered him a deal recently. A future duo of Anthony Davis and Oden could really open some eyes.
4. Anyone who wants to sign him. Although the Blazers made a historical mistake in picking the seven-foot beast over Durant, he was no mistake as a center coming out of Ohio State. We know the damage he’s capable of doing when he’s fully healthy.
We can continue to discuss Oden and his possible return as much as we want. However, it all comes down to this one question: Will Oden be healthy enough to contribute to an NBA team in the future?
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