As you may or may not have heard, #1 overall pick, Greg Oden, of the Portland Trailblazers, had season-ending knee surgery Thursday.
First off, from a fan’s perspective, this news is terrible, as I think the whole basketball community was looking forward to Durant/Oden in the 2007-08 season.
But what does it really mean for the Portland Trailblazers? If Kevin Pritchard were told before the draft that Oden would need microfracture knee surgery, would he have taken Oden #1? Of course not, because of the presence of Kevin Durant. But let’s say Pritchard then takes Durant, would Seattle’s GM, Sam Presti, NOT take Oden? I say no. I do not think any GM in the NBA takes a healthy Al Horford (or Mike Conley or whoever) over an injured Greg Oden, even knowing the latter is going to miss a full season.
The history of players recovering from microfracture surgery is not a GREAT one, as you have Chris Webber, Kenyon Martin, Penny Hardaway, Brian Grant and Jason Kidd never truly recovered from it (especially Webber, Grant and Hardaway – Kidd is so awesome he just began dominating players in a different style…man, Jason Kidd is awesome). The difference being is that those players had the surgery late in their career. Same with Jamal Mashburn and Allan Houston, neither of which were able to resume their NBA careers after the surgery. On the side of hope, does anyone even REMEMBER John Stockton having it? Well, he did, and he sure didn’t look any worse for wear.
But overall, yeah, that list is pretty damned scary, but hope is not lost, mostly because of Oden’s youth. As seen with Amare Stoudemire, you CAN recover from it, especially if you catch it young. In addition, Oden is a different type of player than Stoudemire, and where Stoudemire is still hurting a bit (the explosiveness of his leap) is not a problem for Oden. Also, unlike Stoudemire, Oden is not going to try to rush back. The Trailblazers will give him the full year to recover, and I think the chances are quite good that he will recover in time for next season, at a similar level to Stoudemire.
In fact, another TRAILBLAZER even had the surgery and recovered from it fine – current Knick, Zach Randolph.
So yeah, this is a big blow for the Portland Trailblazers, but the way I see it, it’s basically going from having the #1 pick in the draft to having the #2 pick in the draft, and that is not so bad. Especially as they weren’t planning on being a playoff team this year ANYways, so now they can get a high draft pick to work in with Oden next year. True, it pushes their plan a year back, but there is still a lot to be happy about if you’re a Portland fan.
Now, if Durant somehow becomes Michael Jordan….