Blazers’ Greg Oden: worst #1 overall pick ever?



Since leaving the Ohio State Buckeyes for his predicted one-and-done season, Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden has played 82 games in the NBA. That’s a full non-lockout shortened season. Problem is Oden wasn’t drafted first overall in 2010 or 2011. It was 2007.

Oden had an arthroscopy to clean out his left knee, but doctors determined there was additional damage that required more invasive surgery. Oden has now had five knee surgeries: two microfractures on his left knee and another on his right. He also had previous surgery on a fractured left knee cap.

The 7-footer has not appeared in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009.

He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, so Portland will be free to move on from him then. He’s averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in his career games since being taken one spot ahead of Kevin Durant.

Is Oden the worst overall #1 ever? Well, you could compare him easily with another tremendous bust, Kwame Brown, the 2001 #1, who’s played for numerous teams, and put up weak numbers. However, Brown has started nearly 300 games, so at least he plays. He’s still in the league.

The current Blazers big man also doesn’t compare favorably against 1998 Los Angeles Clippers #1 Michael Olowokandi, another big man who massively underwhelmed.

In 500 career regular season NBA games (399 games started), Olowokandi averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.39 blocked shots per game. In 15 playoff games (2 starts), he averaged 2.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.73 blocks per game. In the 2001–2002 season, Olowokandi saw the most playing time of his career and averaged 11.1 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Oden’s #1 overall career soul mate is more likely LaRue Martin, the 1972 pick out of Loyola Chicago. Yes, another Portland Trail Blazers pick.

After the Blazers drafted Bill Walton in 1974, Martin never had the chance. In four seasons Martin averaged 7.0 points per game and shot .452 from the field. He notched both of those numbers during the 1974–75 season, when Walton missed most of the year with injuries. Over his 4-year sint, Martin totaled over 1,400 points; number 2 overall pick McAdoo totaled over 1,400 points in his rookie year alone.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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