The 2007 NBA Draft class was top-heavy with plenty of promising talent entering the league. That was led by Ohio State big man Greg Oden being atop the board as the first overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. However, things fell apart due to injuries that never truly allowed Oden to flourish or meet the potential he had before him to become a star big man in the NBA. It’s something that may have labeled him being a bust for failing to reach his massive potential, but one of his former teammates believes the blames lies on the Trail Blazers’ shoulders.
Greg Oden’s NBA career
Oden had entered the league with plenty of hype after an impressive freshman year at Ohio State as one of the guiding forces that led the school to the NCAA tournament championship game.
However, his NBA career was never able to match that potential as he was marred by injuries from the get-go. Oden underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right kneed that forced him to miss his entire rookie campaign.
He had gotten off to a promising start the following season as he was averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes. However, he suffered yet another season-ending injury that required surgery as he had a severe fracture in his left patella in the 22nd game of the season.
The injury struggles didn’t stop there as he was dealt another discouraging blow as he had a setback with his recovery from the surgery that eventually forced him to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February 2012. That was followed shortly after by the same operation to his left knee to repair the damage that was caused by the previous surgery. Oden was cut by the team the following month that saw him play just 82 games with the team over four seasons.
Oden made a comeback with the Miami Heat for the 2013-14 season but wasn’t the same player as he was rarely used. He attempted to play with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2015, but that never transpired and had a stint overseas in the Chinese Basketball League for Jiangsu Dragons.
Travis Outlaw believes Trail Blazers hold the blame
It has been several years since Oden’s once-promising NBA career headed south due to injuries.
However, it’s still a topic of discussion of what it could have been had he remained healthy. During a recent episode of the Talkin’ Blazers podcast, former Trail Blazers swingman Travis Outlaw voiced that he believes that the team had pushed him too hard when he may not have been physically ready.
“I felt like they tried to push him too hard. I really thought, like, let him feel his way out first and then you feed him.”
The Blazers may have had pressure as Kevin Durant was proving to be the real deal for the Seattle Supersonics after being taken with the second overall pick. There was building chatter that the team made the mistake by passing up on Durant for Oden.
Nonetheless, the big man’s health issues were a two-way street as the team was patient with him over his first few seasons while Portland could have handled the situation differently that may have seen the entire matter unfold differently.
Was Greg Oden a bust?
Many have tossed around the word bust for Oden as he never fulfilled his massive potential in the NBA.
Although that would apply many situations for various players, the Ohio State product’s career was derailed by injury. When healthy, he had proven to have the talent to become a star in the league on both ends of the floor. There wasn’t a lack of talent by any means for Oden, but rather his poor luck with his injuries that continued to pile up and prevent him from
Ultimately, It’s one of those what could have been stories that will always hold a great deal of wonderment.