I've heard the word 'bust' thrown around with alarming regularity where Blazers center Greg Oden is concerned. I've watched enough Portland games this year to tell you right now that Greg Oden will NOT be a bust. He's a solid rebounder and shot blocker. He's a good guy who works hard. His teammates love him. And he's quite popular with drunk white chicks.
Now for the bad news.
Comparing his first year stats to those of other high profile pivots is a sobering endeavor. Granted, right now Oden is being outplayed by Joel Przybilla (who's shooting over 80% from the field, for fuck's sake!) so he's not getting a full 30-40 minutes of PT. Oden's also fouling a lot, which rookies tend to do. But if the first third of this season is any indication, Oden will certainly not be one of the all time greats when all is said and done.
Here's Oden's 'big man' numbers to date:
8 pts, 8 rebs, 1.5 blks
Kind of underwhelming, yes?
Now here's the rookie statlines for other famous centers chosen in the lottery:
23, 14, 3.5
Dominant immediately. The Diesel was a superstar from day 1.
16.6, 12.3, 3
Interestingly enough, Deke posted his best numbers ever in his rookie campaign.
12, 10, 1.7
Has improved steadily every year. Hopefully, Oden will mirror this rise.
20, 9, 2
Money from the jump, although he continued to develop the J and improve his range.
20, 12, 2.6
I can't tell you how many times I've heard experts say that The Dream was 'raw as a rookie'. 20 and 12 is raw? Fuck you.
The NBA didn't keep track of blocks in Russell's day. But look at that gaudy rebounding total!
5, 4, 1
A career scrub. Started that way, will end that way. Makes me mad when people compare Oden to this douchebag.
11, 6, 1.8
The Dunkin' Dutchman. Worst nickname ever. Developed into an All-Star after a mediocre beginning, though.
Big Z Ilgauskus
14, 9, 1.6
Hasn't changed much, in skill or appearance. Here's Z on draft day (pictured).
10, 6, 3
See my column about the NBA's Biggest Asshole.
Jordan called him a pussy. Years later, so did Phil Jackson. They were both right. What a shocker that he's not working out for Detroit.
9, 8, 1.2
Yikes. These are eerily similar to what Oden's numbers look like.
9, 7, 1
The Bucks drafted this Aussie dork over CP3 and Deron Williams. Double doh!
1.4, 1.2, .4
Speaking of draft day mistakes, Dumars chose this dumbfuck ahead of Melo and DWade.
6, 6, 1
I can't say anything. Kaman's too easy a target.
6, 5, 1.3
A skinny teenager straight out of high school. Now look at him- one the league's best defenders and rebounders.
I picture Oden gaining steam and finishing the year closer to 13/10/2, which would put him in the Big Z/Rik Smits/Dwight Howard category for rookie production. I'm not sure that justifies a number one overall selection, though. Ten years from now, will we look back and mock Portland for passing on Al Horford?