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NBA / Feb 22, 2012 / 11:00 am

Greg Oden’s Broken Career & The Reason Why It Hurts So Much

Greg Oden

Greg Oden

I found myself two tables away from a conference room’s closed doors in June of 2007. I watched Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge and the rest of the Trail Blazers walk into the restaurant’s private section, and then close the doors.

It was a day before the NBA Draft, and Portland had the No. 1 pick. Soon enough there was clapping and a few muffled yells coming from the pre-draft banquet. It sounded like excitement.

Then Pritchard stepped out to take a call. Reading his lips failed to grasp, Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?

Either way, it looked like the future.

He walked back in and no one would know for another day. Now, no one needs any more time, of course. Oden’s an unmitigated failure while Durant ascends to MVP status.

We’ve seen this coming for a long time, but it became official yesterday. Oden, going into surgery to clear out debris in his knee, instead had it turn into his third microfracture surgery. He’s out for another year, but let’s be honest, his career is probably finished. I had been at that restaurant, outside the conference room, by chance that day. Portland’s decision, however, was weighed by every indicator. Something was missed in those evaluations.

[RELATED: Greg Oden’s Top 5 Basketball Highlights]

There are several reasons it doesn’t feel good to write that. First, I’m a Blazer fan. Second, in Dime #63, I wrote a feature with the idea that, if given another chance, Oden could develop into a younger man’s Marcus Camby or Erick Dampier. Even at that point, there was no mystery that two microfracture surgeries in, he’d lost the spark that made him the No. 1 pick. But, I figured, he could still be more than productive given a narrow role of rebounding and defense.

Chance plays a role here, too. I believed his injury run — even at that point — was just too random to be a pattern and that chance had stolen his first two years of his NBA career. Mike Conley and Grant Hill believed he was in a rut of serious bad luck, but nothing he couldn’t work out of.

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  • Promoman

    Greg Oden’s one of the worst bad luck cases ever.

  • http://ufl.edu Big Freeze

    I can’t help but feel terrible for Oden. His knees just couldn’t handle the pressure of supporting a 20 lb cock for all those years.

    Seriously though, I hope he proves the doubters wrong and comes back to play in the NBA one day. It doesn’t matter if he’ll be a shadow of his former self, I just wanna see him suit up for an NBA game again.

  • IGP

    I feel bad for Oden too. He’s still a millionaire, and I’m sure he can coach someplace. You don’t want to wish injuries on anyone, but I think at the end of the day he will be okay.

    @ Dime…way to spell Baron Davis right in the Linsanity poll.

  • First & Foremost

    ^^^LOL

  • mhitch

    All I have to say is the Portland training staff must SUCK!! Thats all it could be!! Remember a couple years ago when the whole team was down and they had to have Nate suit up to practice and he tore his achillies… Look at Brandon Roy knee problems…. Rudy Fernandez knee problems…… Martell Webster knee problems…. I just find it very ironic that all these players get “hurt” at the end of the day my theory is there training staff must SUCK… Case in point!!!

  • the cynic

    its amazing how oden has essential taken 1 decent season of college ball and made 40 mil off of it

  • 2 cents

    if the NBA wants to avoid these continuous issues with big men having to retire early from injuries, maybe they need to invest in better education of the youth leagues and how to prevent injury.

    but i am with mhitch. good point about the training staff. trade him to the suns and their magic staff for nash and gortat. win win for both sides.