Trying to Avoid Sam Bowie

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….

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18 thoughts to “Trying to Avoid Sam Bowie”

  1. I think so, as long as you don’t play a game, you’re still a rookie. Regardless of when you are drafted.

  2. In the long run this could benefit the Blazers. If they had passed on Oden just because they wanted to win sooner, they’d kick themselves down the road.

    Plus, Frye gets to start at center and make the all star team…

  3. I don’t think this bad new will make Frye an all star, don’t forget he’s in the West now: you have TD, Yao, Amar?, Elton Brand, Dirk, Al Jefferson far ahead of him, Marcus Camby could have a well-diserved spot as much as Boozer and Okur.


  5. It might mean one more road win for the Knicks this year than they otherwise would’ve had…I was picturing Oden blocking a few Curry lay-ups, Eddie may have his way down there now…

    Does Portland still own their own number 1 pick for next year? If so, they may be back in the lottery and grab another stud, get Oden healthy, and be a force for ten years…but this year will be dismal for them…

  6. Frye will get plenty of PT and will probably put up OK numbers, but I don’t think he’s a very good player (although I know Z’s post above is sarcastic).

  7. Wasn’t the Frye “all-star” comment by Z more sarcastic than serious? I think we all know Frye is merely a good back-up big man with a finesse game. No way will he ever be an All-star in the West, unless he develops a mean streak in the low post on offense and defense.

    Would a winky-face help? Channing Frye All-star club ; )

  8. Great perspective Brian. I’d forgotten all about Zach having microfracture.

    Seattle Seahawks mammoth DT Marcus Tubbs had microfracture this past offseason, and by all accounts his rehab went really well. Of course he went and blew out the other knee on virtually no contact in the pre-season, but the repaired knee held up quite well. I think they’re just getting better and better at the procedure all the time.

    I won’t go so far as to say this is a sure-fire blessing in disguise for Oden or the Blazers, but if Portland plays this right it could be the best thing that ever happened.

    You rarely get the chance to “redshirt” the top pick. If the Blazers are smart they’ll put a team together to a) get him through rehab without rushing and b) focus on developing his skills independent of his athletic ability even further once he’s cleared to get on the court. If you’re Portland or a Portland fan, everytime you start to hang your head about Oden just think about what this year could do for his learning curve.

    Imagine if Oden were a Knick and we had the chance to just put Mark Aguirre on him for 6-10 months and say, “Mark, all we want is for you to work with Oden on footwork, shooting, and positioning. By the time he jumps tip in his first game we want good habits to be second nature.” Think of how much LJ developed in the year following his back surgery. Then imagine if he could have somehow gotten back just 75 or 80% of his “Gramama” era athleticism.

  9. “Would a winky-face help? Channing Frye All-star club ; )”

    Yeah– I don’t really think Frye will make the All-Star team next year. He won’t.

    But I like Frye and wish we hadn’t traded him for Randolph, so the winky-face wouldn’t have really conveyed the right message. It was an emotionally conflicted remark I guess… ;)

  10. Ok were talking bout Zach having Micro Fracture Zach plays the game using his body alot basically he plays the “Fat man game”. So that why the surgery never affected him much. Oden plays a more leaping game where he jump around to block shots dunk etc. Thats a huge difference. Also Oden been injured prone I mean the risk the fact that one leg is longer than the other an now this. Besides Matthew how would you take Oden over durant. Oden may never recover from this surgery like sad to say most players who do this surgery. Plus he wasnt polished offensively and had major trouble playing defense in the league he fouled out once in one summerleague game after 10 mins I believe. Come on guys lets be realistic Durant was the better choice an this injury to Oden will prove it even more because Oden will never come back the same player he was. Dont believe me Even Amare Stodemire didnt come back as explosive

  11. a) the problem isn’t so much the surgery but the underlying ailment. I’m guessing this is a degenerative prob rather than a cartilage injury.
    b) the diff between Stockton and Oden is that between a Fiat Panda and a Peterbilt. Which do you think would perform longer w/a cracked ball joint?

  12. Apparently word around Portland is that Oden actually hurt himself playing Dance Dance Revolution.

  13. I agree that it’s not a long term setback for the Blazers, and might actually be beneficial in the long run without another great draft player next year.

    My only concern will be to see Oden come back and play at about 90% (which I think where Amare is and will stay at). Once that happens, the Portland title hopes are back on in my book.

  14. Narbeh you gotta be kidding me Oden is proving hes injure prone he probably will never play a full season.

  15. “he’s injury prone and he probably will never play a full season.”

    Kurt Thomas was considered injury prone his first few years in the league. He became one of the most durable players in the league.

    A lot of guys get better in the wake of an injury. It requires them to fill the holes in their game and become complete players (to depend more on their head and less on their body). (I almost hope Jamal’s foot isn’t fully healed. I think he’d play better at 90% than 100% for the rest of his career).

    All in all, I don’t think the injury to Oden is good news for the Blazers, but in the long run they will turn out just fine. Jordan had injuries early on. The Bulls certainly didn’t wish they had landed Bowie instead…

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