With the NBA Lottery less than a week away, BBall coverage is heating up around the web. In his newest Insider post Chad Ford makes the case for Oden, claiming he has the biggest upside in the draft.
Sunday night, after I described Oden's workout to a respected NBA general manager who stands a pretty good chance at getting the No. 1 pick in Tuesday's lottery, the GM had four words for me:
"I told you so."
He continued, "Oden is not just a big guy. He's a big guy with great athleticism and skill. It's what I've been telling you all year. This guy is a lock as the No. 1 pick.
"If Kevin Durant had broken his wrist and come back way early with a cast on his shooting hand, I don't think he would've dominated the Big 12.
"We haven't seen the real Greg Oden yet. What we've seen is 50 percent. That's enough to make him the No. 1 pick.
"If we saw it all, we'd laugh about the Durant comparisons. Don't get me wrong, Durant can play. He may be great. But I'm taking Greg Oden. My guess is every GM in the league will too once they see him up close."
It alludes me how claims like this can achieve such traction amongst the "expert" analysts. The major problems I see with this claim are:
- The love for Oden is based off of a workout as opposed to a season's worth of playing
- His excuse for the poorer-than-expected play of Oden this season was that his wrist wasn't healed-- claiming that he was playing at 50% of his potential the entire season and that we didn't even get a glimpse of what the guy is capable of. I'm sorry, but could it have made THAT significant of a difference? His wrist sure looked fine during those monstrous dunks when he nearly brought down the backboard. How crucial is a wrist injury to the play of a 7 1" Center as opposed to a pure shooter and ball handler?
Maybe I'm just offended that this GM wrote Durant off without even thinking twice. Depending on the team given the first pick I would not be surprised if either player went first in the draft. But to write off the best freshmen season EVER in college basketball in favor of another guy's play on the practice court just seems stupid.
What do you guys think?