Greg Oden- our future no stats allstar?

First, let me preface this post by stating that I am a member of the Greg Oden fanclub. I have an Oden 52 hat, wear it to games along with my Rudy Jersey, and ooh and ahh when Oden performs a vicious dunk. However, I will not be disappointed or offended if he fails to produce like Dwight Howard, and believe that there is a strong chance that he won't ever do so on the current incarnation of this team. I have two reasons for this: 1. our style of low post offense and 2. Greg's inherent unselfishness.

1: There seem to be 3 ways that our bigs get points in our half court sets, the pick and pop, the pick and roll, and isolation.

Pick and pop: Aldridge (and Outlaw if you want to call him a big) are the only guys capable of executing the pick and pop right now. Oden doesn't have a jumper and Przybilla has never had a jumper. Frankly, I would be stoked if Oden took one of those 18 footers from the top of the key when the bigs leave him open and drained it, but I'm fairly certain that Oden will never shoot the ball as well as Aldridge does. That creates a vicious cycle because since Oden can't shoot it, we won't run the pick and pop with him, and if we don't pick and pop with him, he won't ever learn to make the shot. But lets table this technique for now, as we don't really want Oden to become Memo Okur.


Pick and Roll: We have seen this executed beautifully before by our guards, and we have also seen it executed poorly. Even now Oden's length is enough for him to cover large distances quickly, which when combined with his massive size makes him a difficult cover for slow, large bigs or fast, small bigs. However we just don't execute this play that much, and I suspect that it has to do with the successful nature of the first technique and the next one:


Isolation: By now we've seen Yao's effectiveness when he's isolated in the low post, and really he is probably the best center besides Duncan (who's a tweener)
at playing isolation post offense. Aldridge is still developing his abilities, but he's got a few moves of his own such as the running hook, the fade away, the up and under, and so on. And really, he's the most effective big at playing isolation offense, and I am fairly certain that he is unequivocally the guy you would choose right now to play iso when compared to Greg. Here is the vicious cycle again: since Aldridge is better at the iso, we would prefer to throw it into him over Oden, which means Oden doesn't get a chance to improve his post moves (he'll just have to wait till summer).

Considering these things, I find it difficult to imagine that Oden would ever become the blazers featured low post scorer, especially if it came at the expense of LMA. That is not to say that Oden won't get touches, but there's only so many post entry passes that a team can do and still get the perimeter players their shots. So it will be interesting to see how that dynamic shakes out between these two. second point was about Oden's general unselfishness, but I've made this post too long already so I'm going to make this one short and sweet.

I have seen more games this year than any other year, and the one thing that intrigued me about Oden's off ball play was how he boxed out even at the expense of the actual rebound. While he is a phenomenal rebounder, I think he makes more of a concerted effort to box out as many guys as he can so that the wings can get at offensive and defensive boards, and he taps the ball out all the time when rebounding, leading to more of those offensive boards for the other players on the floor. LMA I think has been the biggest beneficiary of this as he gets more offensive boards as a result (I think Przybilla has the same effect as Oden in that sense). Is it possible then that Oden won't get 5-6 offensive boards a game (and therefore 5-6 putbacks), simply because the other players on the floor benefit from his box out and collect his boards?


On defense, I think he is being groomed to be the mobile big man as others have stated, essentially playing free safety in the post, altering shots and providing help defense, closing off lanes to the post. Right now he can't do it w/o getting fouls, but when he is fast enough to get in position, it will be interesting to see how much the defense might improve. With these thoughts in mind:the probable scarcity of touches on offense, his willingness to allow teammates to collect O boards and his potential ability to be a lock down help defender, I don't know if he will be able to collect the statistical numbers that reflect his true production on the court. But the fanboy inside me wearing that 52 hat certainly hopes so.


Oh by the way, sorry about the epic fail on keeping this post short.

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