November 22, 2008

Where's the Fire Greg Oden?


I know you are young, I know you have only played a few games, and I also know that you had to take an entire year off because of a major knee surgery, but seriously, show me some anger.  Show me some fire Greg Oden.

Jason Quick (of the Oregonian) brought up probably the most interesting note I've heard yet on Greg.  This will be paraphrased but basically he said that guys like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (the greats of the game) didn't need anything to get them going before each game.  Every night, they just knew how to turn it on; it was part of their chemical make-up or DNA.  With Greg, you just don't have that.  Essentially, he needs someone to light a fire under his ass to really get him angry and get his blood pumping enough to make a difference on the court.  "Bringing it" is not natural to Oden.  That...is not good.

Tonight against the Phoenix Suns, I really noticed what Jason Quick was referring to.  Instead of looking at this game as the opportunity of his life against Shaq and coming out with blood boiling, he just faded away into the bench.  He even had chances tonight to take on Stoudemire, whom we all know is not a top notch defensive player, and couldn't come through.  And sure, foul trouble played a part in his limited court time but even if he had 30 minutes tonight, he wouldn't have made a difference.

I need him to make a statement before I can ever truly become committed to the thought that this guy is going to take this franchise to incredible places.  If I have to see another image of his frowning face on the bench, I'm going to turn the channel.  Why is it that he's either frowning and getting all weepy and down on himself, or he's "back to being the old Greg."  Where is the consistency?  The only consistent thing we've seen with him so far is damn injuries.

I could also care less that he has a ton of pressure on him and huge expectations to live up to.  So do Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Paul Pierce, yet they continually find a way, year after year, to bring their best.  Pressure is something that comes with the territory and until he stops pouting at every mistake, he'll never be what Portland needs him to be.

Maybe he's just missing those intangibles that the greats are born with?  For Blazer fans (and myself), I hope Jason Quick is wrong.

On a side note:  Can he quit with that obnoxious swooping/leg kicking/backboard slapping annoyance of a dunk?  Just dunk the damn ball and come back down.  You don't need to try and rip the basket down with each dunk there big guy.  You practically kicked Amare Stoudemire in the face tonight because you are incapable of just dunking and dropping straight to the floor. 

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12 comments:

Alan 11/23/08, 12:17 AM  

It would be nice to see some fire in his eyes, but that may not be his style. I totally agree about the dunk thing though, he just needs to slam it home and then scowl at the guy he just posterized

MedZag 11/23/08, 8:50 AM  

Tim Duncan isn't particularly fire-y. He's steel-y but doesn't show emotion except in the largest of moments.

And he's one greatest of all time.

That's my one annoyance about the Michael Jordan era. He's stereotyped what a player "needs" to be in order to be "great." Just let the damn kid find his own damn way and quit worrying about whether he fits into your own expectations of what a "great center" should look like.

kellex 11/23/08, 1:01 PM  

I'm all for giving him time, but right now I want him to be fired up, knock somebody over or do something to really make me go "hell yes Greg!"

He's definitely had a couple of moments but then the rest of the time I feel like he's still hiding and worrying about pressure and expectations. I'm sick of pouting basically...

Anonymous 11/23/08, 7:41 PM  

This is a whiny-ass post.

Anonymous 11/23/08, 7:43 PM  

Why are Blazerfans so fickle? I guess you are only as good as the last game you've played.

Anonymous 11/23/08, 7:54 PM  

He's a 20 year old kid. You think he's going to come out and own Shaq in their first meeting ? Shaq is one of the most physically dominating players to play the game, to think Oden was intimidated is pretty reasonable. As a Portland fan, I somewhat agree with the "whiny face" on the bench, but he sure as hell shouldn't be smiling if he's riding pine either. He'll figure it out, like most of media, sit back give him some time.

kellex 11/23/08, 8:53 PM  

I would call it realistic rather than whiny.

By no means did I expect him to come out and "own" Shaq, but what I am waiting to see is some fire in his eyes that show us he can be a dominant force.

Guys like Tim Duncan may not show emotion, but when they play, you feel the emotion.

Anonymous 11/24/08, 1:07 PM  

"I could also care less that he has a ton of pressure on him and huge expectations to live up to. So do Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Paul Pierce, yet they continually find a way, year after year, to bring their best."

Um....you do realize that Greg is a rookie coming off major surgery right? Any of the other guys you mention have to deal with that? I didn't think so.....try giving the guy a full season before you bash him for not being a superstar

Anonymous 11/24/08, 1:20 PM  

Might also be a good idea to look at Kobe's first year. He wasn't all that awesome.

Maybe there's a community college course in semiotics you could take. Greg's adapting to a new situation, and in so doing, he needs to defer much of his intensity. If he didn't, it could upset the team. He's a rookie, and he knows that coming in and acting like the man's not going to get him anywhere.

Because you don't realize this, I bet that most of the people you know don't actually like you. They may act like it, but I'm betting your social skills lack the qualities to really be liked. That's not an angry reaction to your post or anything. You simply fial to understand the nuanced social culture a team or life represents. At least, you do so analytically.

Bleah 11/24/08, 2:59 PM  

You do realize that last year was the first year where Chris Paul looked good? I mean seriously, Greg is in a completely different situation than any of those others you mentioned. The only point I really agree with is your woman's point of "why does it seem Greg doesnt really talk to anyone on the bench?" But I'm not too concerned about that, heck Brandon and LaMarcus acknowledged they didnt start hanging out till the end of last year. The biggest thing to remember is; hes a kid. He's 20 years old, hasnt played competitive basketball for a year and a half, and has tons of expectations on him. How about giving him a break instead of breaking down every breath the kid takes.

kellex 11/24/08, 3:06 PM  

Whoa!!!!!!!!!!!

Best comment to date. Insulting a person's social life on the internet as an Anonymous user is about as good as it gets. That seriously just made my day.

He's "adapting" to a new situation and needs to "defer his intensity"? Haaaaaha! Wow I really needed a good joke today and that was it right there. You really have no idea how the world of sports works.

And none of you in all your Blazer honk-ness, actually read that post.

By the way, Kobe has exactly what that post was talking about. A swagger. A confidence. Whether his first year was good or not, we all knew how good he was going to be. With Greg, it's all speculation as he has never been a superstar at any level of basketball. And he's continuing to disappoint even when he puts up semi-decent numbers.

I'm all for Greg turning into a great player, but mentally, he's obviously not there. Just hoping that starting him tonight well set his career off on the right path.

Anonymous 11/24/08, 5:21 PM  

Let Greg be Greg and enjoy him. Those dunks get hime fired up. He is young, inexperienced and coming off a major injury and layoff. So, use some perspective and get off his ass.

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