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What If: The Portland Trailblazers Drafted Kevin Durant Instead of Greg Oden?

February 16, 2011

Hey FMFS Readers. I appreciate all readers and want to give you guys more blogs, thoughts and crazy ideas that go through my head. Therefore, I have a weekly column that takes a look back at recent and some not-so recent NBA events that were larger than life and changed the NBA spectrum as we know it.

With this first week’s column we will examine the unfortunate mistake of the Portland Trailblazers front office of taking Greg Oden over NBA phenom Kevin Durant. Let’s look at the facts first:

In April of 2007,Greg Oden just led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the NCAA national championship game and took over the NCAA as the best big man in the land. Oden dominated with 15.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 3.3 BPG. Even though he suffered many nagging injuries during his only season as a Buckeye, Oden was a monster in the paint. Standing 7-foot and 270 pounds, he was the next Russell to be. So they claimed.

Down in the Big 12 a scoring sensation was gaining national press. Kevin Durant was a college basketball sensation at University of Texas. He scored, scored, scored and scored. Averaging 25.8 PPG and 11.1 RPG in his 6’10, 230lb frame, the thin, linky kid from Seat Pleasant, MD won Freshman of the Year and, along with Oden, be named to the AP All-American 1st Team. It would only be the tip of the iceberg for his bright, young career.

That June, the Portland Trailblazers had the #1 pick in the NBA draft. Seattle Supersonics (R.I.P.) had the #2 pick and it was widely known that whoever the Blazers didn’t take, the Sonics would. Even with all the red flags surrounding Oden’s body from doctors and his history with injuries, the Blazers remained optimistic and selected him with the first overall pick. Next, the Sonics grabbed Kevin Durant, respectively. That is how quick the life of Blazers fan would change for the next 3 years and beyond.

Now, in 2011, Kevin Durant is the NBA’s leading scorer and is coming off an MVP-candidate season where he won the scoring title (youngest ever to do that). He is attending his 2nd All-Star game this weekend (first time starting) and has the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle Supersonics) in playoff contention as the 4th best team in the West. As for Greg Oden, he’s out. Oden tore his knee apart and had to receive surgery on it, again. Third major surgery in as many years. As far as his legacy in the NBA, Oden is considered a bust. Since he’s been drafted, the Portland Trailblazers have played 301 regular season games, Oden has only played in 82. The Blazers have an option of picking up another year on his contract or releasing him this summer. In my opinion, Oden still has some worth. What worth, I don’t know, but I can see him as a solid role player with limited minutes for a team. Good thing about Greg is that he just turned 22. Don’t be surprised if the Blazers use him in a trade to get some value back. When you compare these two it doesn’t even come close. Imagine your a 16 year old and your dad says you can choose between the speedy, up-to-date sports car or the old, always-has-car-trouble truck. I think this is a no brainer. Zoom Zoom!

Now, lets head back to that faithful night in June of 2007. Oden and Durant are both dressed to a T waiting out the stressful NBA process. David Stern approaches the podium. “With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers select.. Kevin Durant from the University of Texas.” *Crowd Applause* Now, I’m not saying that the Blazers ultimately become great, because they don’t, but they are surely better than what they are now. Durant and Brandon Roy become the best, young 2-3 combination in the league and learn to share the ball. Immediately, the Blazers make the playoffs and in 2011 are one of the favorites to challenge the Lakers. Durant most likely doesn’t win the scoring title in 2010, but due to Roy being out for most of 2011 he takes the reigns and shows the inner dominance that was inside of him. It will propel him to be the scoring champion in 2011. As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oden goes through many ailing injuries and team drops to the bottom of the league. Team continues to sputter and loses home support. Luckily in 2009, the Oklahoma City Thunder win the NBA lottery and are granted the #1 selection. They take Blake Griffin.

It’s funny how things fall right?

Tell me what you guys think.




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