Oden and the top 5 centers of all time

  I know there has been a lot of hype for the Blazers center Greg Oden this year, along with the rest of the team.  I have to admit that I get excited thinking about the expectations of the team with Greg in the middle.   I find it easy to imagine that Oden will be one of the great centers.  Especially with all the hype on him out there.  It's easy to get caught up with the thought that the Blazers might have one of the greatest centers of all time.  Reality is that no one will know until it actually happens, and he at least plays a season.  Even though so many prognosticators have said things like "he is the one of a once in a decade centers.", or "he is the next Bill Russell".

I decided I would go and compare him to the top 5 centers of all time.  I reviewed their impact as rookies and their overall careers.   I personally don't believe that he will have to be one of the top 5 centers of all time for the Blazers to be an eventual championship team.  I think he only needs to be a top three center in the league now.  I base that on the other hype which is the surrounding cast around Oden, The overall team and the hyped job that the miracle worker Kevin Pritchard has done. 

The top 5 centers I have selected were not based on my research.  But, I do feel that it is hard to argue with these 5.  I will attach the website at the end so you can see where I got my info.  I'm only looking at the main statistical factors, Points, Rebounds and Assists.  I would include blocks but can't find the stats for some of the old timers in that category.  These top five were based on stats not championships.

#1 Wilt Chamberlin Rookie, Points 37.6, Rebounds 27, Assists 2.3/ Career, Points 30.1, Rebounds 22.9, Assists 4.4

#2 Kareem Abdul Jabaar Rookies, Points 28.8 Rebounds 14.5, Assists 4.1/ Career, Points 24.6, Rebounds 11.2, Assists 3.6

Bill Russell Rookie, Points 14.7, Rebounds 19.6, Assists1.8/ Career, Points 15.1, Rebounds 22.5, Assists 4.3

Hakeem Olajuwon Rookie, Points 20.6, Rebounds 11.9, Assists1.8 / Career, Points 21.8, Rebounds 11.1, Assists 2.5

Shaquille O’Neal Rookie, Points 23.4 Rebounds 13.9 Assists 1.9 /Career Points 25.2, Rebounds 11.5, Assists 2.7

Overall averages from all 5 Rookie, Points 28.7, Rebounds 17.3, Assists 2.3 / Career Points 23.3 Rebounds 16, Assists 3.1

Now after reviewing the stats of the first three I decided that the generation the first three played in were not numbers they would be capable of getting now.   It is obvious that they had such a huge physical advantage during that time.  Realizing that the NBA now has SF's that play at 7 Ft. tall.  But really looking at Hakeem and Shaquille I would think that if Oden is a dominant center like they say HE COULD BE, why we wouldn’t look at those rookie stats they had. 

Shaq and Hakeem combined rookie avg. Points 22 Rebounds 12.9 Assists 1.85 Blks 3

There are always factors involved.  You can use history for so many statistical facts.  I can just imagine him getting rookie of the year.  Especially if Oden has anywhere near Shaquille's or Hakeem's rookie years stats.   I would have to believe that if he does have anywhere close to 18 points and 12 rebounds the Blazers would be looking at a bigger jump then 7 or 8 games.  I would have to believe they would see more of the jump that Orlando had when Shaq came into the league.  The team has so much going for them, chemistry, inside game, outside game and more important a major facilitator in Roy, and several major finisher with the addition of Rudy and Bayless.  I can't wait till November.

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