Oden (Rose Garden): You know I have enough chips on my shoulder right? But to say my presence this season is good for a one game difference from last season? Now I have a buffalo chip on my shoulder!
John Hollinger: Lots of Blazers fans complaining about the projection. Here's the disconnect: If Oden had been out fo this season too, how many games would you have Portland pegged to win? My answer would be in the low-to-mid-30s. So saying Oden adds only one win is putting words in my mouth -- it's more like he offsets what otherwise would have been a regression.
Rudy (Portland, OR): Portland would be a 30-win team without Oden??? Wow! I'm pretty sure they were a 41-win team without Oden last year!!! And they young core of talent is a year older, wiser, and better. And they are arguably the deepest team in the NBA. They would eclipse their mark from last year again this year without Oden, and with him, they'll easily win atleast 48-50.
John Hollinger: I think a lot of Blazer fans think that way, which is why I brought the point up. They're excited about the young guards, and so am I -- but rookie guards normally struggle, and they're replacing two productive players in Jack and Jones. They're excited about the other young guys, but Portland also got unusually strong years from a couple older guys (Blake, Pzybilla) that aren't likely to repeat, and whlle they had a few injuries they were more healthy than most. They also had the point differential of a 37-win team, not a 41. So that's where the disparity is between what a lot of Blazer fans project and what I'm projecting.