December 6, 2009

The End of the Greg Oden Experiment?

Through 21 games, this team wasn't putting together performances warranting some huge playoff run, but the growth and learning that they would have endured throughout the season is what they will now miss.  The Portland Trail Blazers #1 draft pick is gone for another year and will come back next season having to start all over again.  It feels like the end of the Greg Oden experiment.

This post isn't about Sam Bowie or the fact that many would assume Oden as "injury prone."  This isn't about being a "bust" while Kevin Durant is performing at an MVP level.  This isn't a plea to trade the big man.  This post is simply about time.  About a window of opportunity that seems to have closed.

The 2009-10 season was supposed to be the most important season yet for this group of Portland Trail Blazers.  This was their growth year.  This would be the year that LaMarcus Aldridge takes his game into an elite level.  The year that Brandon Roy would solidify himself as one of the top 10 players in the entire game.  The year that Greg Oden appeared as the force we had all dreamed about.  The year that these 3 fixtures would learn to play together, leading this team into NBA history.  And now that year is lost.

Writing this post the day after an injury of this magnitude may not be the most ideal time, but ideal is a word this franchise knows little of.  These 21 games, or even more fitting, these 2 and a half years have not been kind to players, coaches or fans, yet we'll all have to keep moving forward.

We won't know until sometime next year if Oden will fully recover.  And we won't know until at least a year after that if he'll be a championship level center.  We don't know if the owner that provides this team with financial freedom will still be with us.  And we don't know if Brandon Roy's quickly aging body will continue to produce at an All-Star level.  There are so many concerns to have now that Greg is done yet again.  The bright lights of the future have surely dimmed.  Is it time to move on?

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Anonymous 12/6/09, 8:15 PM  

You say 2.5 years of non-impact, when anybody with eyes in their head can see how much impact Oden has when he's on the floor? Brandon Roy's "quickly aging body"? You're a complete joke man. The real question is why you don't quit your lame experiment and move on insead of continuing to post ridiculous crap...

kellex 12/6/09, 9:20 PM  

I ask a few simple and completely reasonable questions and look how offended you just got. I'm impressed especially since that wasn't the point of this post. Relax.

Thanks for continuing to read this "experiment" which has more games and years under its belt than Greg Oden.

Anonymous 12/7/09, 1:30 AM  

I guess I agree with the basic idea of your article. Losing this year of learning to play together and figuring out how to incorporate a newly dominant Greg into our offense (something we were struggling with as of late), is certainly a big set-back. I do wonder about where you get the thing about Roy's "quickly aging body," but whatever.

The questions about what's going to happen are valid ones, but I don't really understand your final, "Is it time to move on?" question. Move on from what? The team? Greg Oden? Roy? Regardless, I definitely don't think it's time to "move on." As a fan, I'm going to continue to support this team regardless of the hardships it faces. My suggestion, just wait and see. This season will likely be much less successful than we'd hoped, but I think we'll be okay in the long run. Oden will recover, Aldridge will figure his business out, Roy will being asserting himself again, and when Oden gets back they'll figure out how to play together and become an unstoppable force.

kellex 12/7/09, 8:24 AM  

My question is asking if it's time to move on from our high hopes of Oden taking us to the promised land. Losing a guy to injury should never affect how big of a fan someone is, but it can change your expectations moving forward.

I'm just not looking forward to waiting another year or year and a half and coming away disappointed again.

Just very frustrated right now, that's all.

Anonymous 12/7/09, 12:53 PM  

Every fan is frustrated right now, but this is not the time to "move on" as you put it. Greg has had some bad luck, his injuries are not the repeating kind that can cripple a career, they are unrelated and more of the "freak injury" type than anything else. The Lakers have gone though something very similar with Bynum, with a player as skilled as Oden or Bynum you have to keep the faith and keep trying.

Oden is very young, (and so is Roy btw, crazy comment there by a paranoid fan) and even the long time tables predict him to be back at full strength during this summer. Which will give him time with Bayno to work even more on his game for next year.

The biggest thing this injury does, you only hit on for one sentence, and that is it loses valueable time for this team to come together. What I would say is that this injury actually saves Nate his job, because if he went through a whole season failing to get these guys to jell then another coach would have been called on to do it. Now Nate will have another summer to try and come up with a plan to change the offense.

I'll leave with this, Bynum, Big Z, and Yao. All big centers with histories of injury, none of their franchises gave up on them, and neither will the Blazers give up on Oden.


kellex 12/7/09, 2:31 PM  

It's just hard to look at freak injury after freak injury after freak injury and not start to prepare yourself mentally for a change. How much more of this can we all take?

And I understand that he is a #1 pick and supposed franchise changer, but find me another job where you can not show up for 3 years and still keep it. And still have your entire company drooling over your every step.

About Roy, you've gotta be worried about his future health. He's an old 25 after knee and foot issues starting back in college. By the time Oden is at a level where he'll contribute at a championship level, Roy could be 28 or 29 and who knows if he'll still be playing at his current level. I know many players peak at that age, but his early years put a lot of stress on that body.

In the back of my mind I'll keep hoping Oden comes back better than ever and maybe this just isn't the time to have this conversation. :)

Anonymous 12/8/09, 2:08 AM  

Honestly, I'm not ready to give up yet. I understand your concerns, and if Oden gets back to 100% (which I'm really hoping he can and should considering there wasn't really any ligament or tendon damage or anything), and gets injured like this AGAIN, then I'll be ready to maybe face the fact that he's simply not the answer. But not yet. It seems like when it comes to sports of all varieties people want instant gratification. I mean, I know how that goes, believe me, but patience always seems to be missing when it comes to sports. I think we need to just wait it out, keep looking in the long term, and see what happens.

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