This post is my transcript from a clip of thursday's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN radio with guest analyst Steven A. Smith. Cowherd has been highly critical of Greg Oden recently, and starts the segment again with a rant on Greg's offense. But Smith doesn't bite. While I'm quite often not in agreement with "Screaming" A. Smith when he is on TV posturing for attention, he does know basketball and this thoughtful answer makes perfect sense to me.
Here is the original audio dowload (they first talk about the LeBron situation, then Greg, then the Lakers).
Cowherd: "You know we said about Greg Oden, we got this theory, that if somebody can match him in body weight or within 10 pounds, he is really struggling offensively. When he can play against a European center, a 4 trying to be a 5, then he'll get his double figures. But offensively, Steven A., he is a tough watch. He is clumsy, he is remedial. I wonder if the Blazers aren't watching him and wondering 'wow, should we lower our expectations'?"
Smith: "Well maybe they are. I think it's too soon to tell. I think when you draft a guy like Greg Oden, despite him being awkward, you have to remember the national championship game when Ohio State lost to Florida. He looked sensational in that game. I think he had like 25 and 12 in that game going against Joakim Noah and all of those boys. Florida was a juggernaut. We all knew that. But you know Greg Oden he is ambidextrous, he could score with his left hand, his right hand, he had the jump hook going for him and what have you.
Offense is something that's developed over time, tutelage, and what have you. It's rare that you can find a seven footer that focuses on defense, and blocking shots. And if Greg Oden is somehow able to give that to you, then Portland is so extremely formidable. And I'd say that you put them ahead of Golden State, ahead of Denver, ahead of even Dallas to propel them to the NBA playoffs.
I mean, this is what you bring a big man into the NBA to do for you. When somebody is willing to focus on defense and rebounding and blocking shots you can teach the rest of that stuff. Certainly, you look at Patrick Ewing, [when] he came out of University of Georgetown, his offensive repertoire was not that significant. He was brought in, he was considered a force to be reckoned with, because he focused on defense, rebounding and blocking shots and everybody knew that would resurrect this franchise. No one knew that Patrick Ewing would ultimately develop the jump shot that he ended up developing from the baseline, that 12 foot baseline jumper that was so prolific for him.
So, in Greg Oden I'm quite sure time will tell... I think injuries have been an impediment to him more than anything else because he hasn't had an opportunity to be out on the floor receiving the tutelage that is necessary. But once that happens I think he will be just fine, because I think Nate McMillan and his staff know what they are doing.
Cowherd: Steven A. Smith, it's the Herd on ESPN radio, he has addressed LeBron, Greg Oden, we move to the Lakers who are 12 and 1...