This morning, Colin made the statement that Durant over Oden is a no brainer. He claimed that we Blazer fans get excited when Oden does well against people who can't play, and that we are myopic. He claimed that Greg doesn't move well. (Did he not see Greg moving last night?)
He went on to support his claim that Oden would never be an offensive force, and said that Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a game. Could Cowherd have picked a worse comparison to support his argument? No. It's a terrible comparison that no one else on Earth would genuinely make.
Wilt is arguably the most impressive statistical big man ever to play. (I still think Shaq has it on him when considered in context). I'm no historian, but who did the 7-1, 275 pound Wilt Play against? Did he play against Yao, Dwight Howard, or Shaq? Apart from 6' 9'', 215 pound defensive wizard Bill Russell, Wilt was fairly uncontested in the early part of his career, which began at 24. Wilt was featured in Philly's offense and took more than 30 shots a game, many of those over three or four guys at a time. His opponents were tiny compared to him. On the other hand, when Greg draws double teams, both guys are bigger than Russell (though not likely better). Oden has taken fewer than 6 shots (hitting 57% of them) a game through his first 70 games in the NBA. 70 Games, Colin. Bad comparison, Herd.
Durant was a 17 shot / 43% guy through his first 80 games. He's also featured in OKC, and his team did not make the playoffs. He's also the same size Bill Russell was. Colin, would you ask Durant to guard Oden? Bill Russell would have been asked to do just that.
But what I really have a problem with is not Colin's claim that Oden will never be an offensive force, it's that he does so without consideration of context. If Oden causes most NBA teams to address the potential threat that he poses to the interior, thereby causing the perimeter to open up for Blazer shooters, then he is an offensive force. Period. When he is out, the offense must change to adapt to the change. Force is in this context, after all, about exerting influence.
What center would you take over Oden, Colin? Dwight Howard is the obvious answer.
Howard presents a more compelling comparison. How do the numbers compare?
Through his first 82 games, Howard played 32.6 minutes a game, shot 52%, scored 12 ppg, blocked 1.7 shots per, and grabbed 10 RPG.
Oden's numbers after 70 games? A slim 21.8 minutes, 57.3%, 9.0 ppg, 1.3 blks, and 7.2 rpg.
I try to find another center in order to make another comparison, but I can't seem to find anyone Greg's age who measures up.
Colin is the typical diagnostician who offers little in the way of big picture analysis. Had the Blazers taken Durant, Portland would have Joel as its starter. When was the last time teams collapsed from the perimeter to defend Przy? When was the last time a team dominated the league with a small forward as their best player? Would Brandon Roy be B-ROY playing alongside Durant? Would Durant be Durant playing alongside of Roy? Where would this leave LaMarcus? Something would have to give. At center, Oden is more valuable in the NBA economy.
I for one can see what Oden is going to do. Sure, he might not throw down 20 against Howard. But he'll be a handful, and Howard will have to defend him. This will mean he'll spend less time patrolling the key. How many times do they even play each other? Twice.
Face it, 'Herd. Oden was the right pick, and going forward, he'll be a handful.