After watching Greg Oden last night, one couldn’t help but think to themselves: what could have been?
What could have been if knee injuries hadn’t derailed Oden’s NBA career? What could have been if Oden was able to show his true potential with the Portland Trail Blazers?
Unfortunately, Oden will likely never shed his tag of being one of the biggest draft busts ever, if a “bust” is what you want to call him.
For those who remember, Oden was dominant in his only season at Ohio State. So dominant, NBA on TNT analyst Steve Kerr went to the extent of saying he was a “once in a decade player”.
Oden essentially put the Buckeyes on his back, and helped lead Ohio State all the way to the National Title game before falling to the Florida Gators.
The Portland Trail Blazers thought so highly of Oden, they drafted him ahead of Kevin Durant, who is currently the games best pure scorer. Looking back, it’s easy to think “what were they thinking??” Oden though, was that good.
Portland felt the repercussions of Oden not panning out for years, before finally appearing to get over the hump this season with LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard bringing the Blazers back to respectability.
He only played 6 minutes in last night’s game against the Clippers, but in those 6 minutes, showed small glimpses of that unfulfilled potential.
You saw Oden soar through the lane and finish emphatically at the rim.
You saw Oden in just 6 minutes be tied for the team lead in blocks with Chris Anderson who played 27 minutes. You saw Oden haul in 3 rebounds, the same amount Dwyane Wade had in 35 minutes of action.
Since being drafted in 2007, Oden has appeared in just 89 games, which is equivalent to just over one full NBA season. Before he played his first game with the Heat on January 15th, he hadn’t played in an NBA game since 2009.
At only 26-years-old, Oden certainly has plenty of time to resurrect his career. Hopefully there will be a time when people won’t think “what could have been” when talking about Greg Oden’s time in the NBA.