Considered one of the biggest “What ifs” in history, Greg Oden unfortunately was only able to play 114 games in the league between 2007 and 2014 (105 in the regular season and 9 in the playoffs).
Blame it on his physical fragility, which has constantly plagued him during his career, between Portland then Miami.
” Over the years, I was really, really worried about my knees. I would even say that I was too much “says the first choice of the 2007 Draft, chosen in front of a certain Kevin Durant. ” I had more than five knee surgeries and some were pretty serious. I tried to come back, but my knees couldn’t handle it and I finally put it behind me. »
A talented but unlucky trio
Currently visiting Greece, the president of basketball operations at Butler University (through which Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens went) also took the opportunity to look back on his years at the Blazers.
Where he rubbed shoulders with LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, another injured player…
” If we had all been healthy, maybe the results would have been different and the choices [des Blazers] in the draft too “Says the former pivot, now “only” 34 years old. ” LaMarcus [Aldridge] and Brandon [Roy] were extremely talented in our time. In Greece, I also saw Rudy Fernandez again and we remembered our time in Portland. All of them were extremely talented, but they were even better people off the pitch. »
For the little anecdote, between 2008 and 2010, note that the Roy/Aldridge/Oden trio was able to be aligned 80 times by Nate McMillan, allowing Portland to post a (solid) record of 53 wins and 27 losses.
His best year? the university
What give regrets to fans of the franchise, but also to the leaders and players of the time. Like Greg Oden of course, who averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 against in Oregon…
” There were certain times in the NBA where I started to figure out what my ‘prime’ could be. Then the injury that destroyed my knee happened and I never got to be the player I was starting to become in my second and third seasons at Portland. Looking back, I’d say the pinnacle of my career was probably my year in college. “, he admits as well.
In 2006/07, Greg Oden actually played for Ohio State, where he averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Performances which therefore earned him the first player selection in the 2007 Draft.
Precisely, Greg Oden – who recognizes that he would have ” absolutely loved playing with Damian Lillard — was also asked to speculate on the player he might have been, had he remained healthy over the long term, and if he had played in the current NBA.
” A healthy Greg Oden would be a decent and consistent player! This is how I see things. But it never happened, because of my wounds “, he delivers at first, before continuing. “ [Aujourd’hui]I should have extended my game in many areas and worked more on my ball handling as well as my 3-pt shooting, because all the greats are shooting from long range now. »