“The two toughest calls in the column. Oden would be in "Group I” if I didn’t invoke the Darko/Dumars Corollary: Namely, that his Trade Value is artificially high only because his GM would never admit, “Holy mother of $#%@ did I screw that pick up!” House and I discussed this during our preview podcast, but it’s worth rehashing here: Oden lacks a basketball fluidness that every other great center had. He has more of a power game — all quick bursts, some occasional flashes, some “wow” rebounding/defensive plays, but ultimately, it’s just hard to imagine him consistently dominating games. He’s just all over the place. And that’s before we get to his structural issues, the cloud lingering over him and the way he apparently retreated into a shell off the court. Awesome person, interesting talent, some real promise … but would you bet on his putting it all together? If I offered you $10,000 on “over/under for Oden’s career All-Star Appearances: 4.5,” would you want the over or the under? I’d want the under. It’s just the safer bet. As for Bynum, I would have jumped him to Group E if Kobe hadn’t intentionally injured his teammate’s knee Jeff Gillooly-style. (Just kidding, Lakers fans. Just kidding. Jokes. Settle down.) Either way, it’s a bad sign for Portland’s 2007 draft that (A) the Blazers don’t even have the best under-22 center in their own conference, and (B) we’re still four groups away from getting to the guy the Blazers passed up."
It is funny because last night I was thinking how Oden’s limp appears to have gone away and his game is looking more and more fluid. What are your thoughts?