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?