He stands 7-0 tall and weighs 285 pounds. He's Greg Oden, the #1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft but after missing all of last season is still a rookie. First overall picks have always garnered alot of attention, but after LeBron's 2003 draft, where the expectations were thrown into overdrive, the player (un)lucky enough to get picked first also gets compared to James, who met and exceeded every expectation thrown his way. That, of course, is unfair. It is particularly harsh for Oden since he is a big-man, and the rules for big-men have always been a big different.
Oden has always been compared to someone. The next Wilt, or Shaq, or Bill Russell. Those are lofty comparisons to deal with, even if the 20 year old looks 10 years older. Oden then had to deal with the injury concerns. A broken wrist during his one season at Ohio State, then the knee injury. Even before Oden stepped on a NBA court words like 'bust' and 'flop' were being tossed around.
Oden's first appearance for the Blazers in a regular season game did little to quiet the talk. Oden played aboout 2 minutes before falling awkwardly and hurting his leg. He was out of action another couple of weeks.
Oden has come back, however, and comeback strong. His minutes and production have steadily been increasing for a surprising Blazers team that has re-established a tough home-court at the Rose Garden(14-4).
|2008 - Greg Oden||35||22.7||3.0||5.7||53.5||0.0||0.0||0.0||2.3||3.6||63.0||2.7||4.3||7.0||0.7||1.5||0.4||1.1||3.7||8.3|
The pinnacle of Oden's season came on Sunday night when Oden tallied 24 points and 15 boards against the vertically challenged Milwaukee Bucks. That has been Oden's specialty so far this season, taking advantage of teams that lack front-court size. Next in line, the Cavaliers.
Oden is not the main point of concern for the WIne and Gold tonight. That role is held by PG Brandon Roy who is hving a monster season - 22 pts / 5 ast per game. He likes to attack the basket, and without Delonet West the Cavaliers are going to have to help defend him. If Oden starts to dominate underneath, the way Andrew Bynum did on Monday Night, the Cavaliers may have to stuff the lane with defenders. That would open up the perimeter for Roy and others to rain down the jumpers.
The Cavaliers haven't lost two games all season. To keep that streak alive, Cleveland will need to find a way to win the frontcourt battle against a team that is bigger than them.