I think Oden's best 5-game stretch last year gives a preview of what we can expect as he moves towards his potential. He had 5 games in January (Jan 19 - Jan 28) where he played decent minutes and played well during those minutes. We played Mil, Cle, Was, LAC, and Cha during that stretch, all but the Clips at home.
During these games he averaged 31 minutes 16.4 points and 11.4 rebounds. Normalized to 36 minutes gives 19.0 and 13.2 rebounds. For comparison's sake, it wasn't until Dwight Howard's 4th year in the league (07-08) that he averaged 19.8 and 13.5 per 36 minutes.
Two things really jump out about Greg's performance during this five game stretch: offensive rebounding and shooting.
He averaged 6.7 o-rebounds per 36 (5.8 in the 31 minutes he played). This is phenomenal. In the best rebounding season Moses Malone ever had, he averaged 6.6 o-rebounds per 36. This was a year in which he had 573 o-rebounds. For comparison, Howard led the league last year with 336.
Oden also shot .659 (29/44) from the field and .649 (24/37) from the line during this stretch. This works out to a True Shooting % of 0.786. The all time leader in TS% over the last 25 years is Tim Legler during 95/96, at 0.688. And the leader over the last 10 years is Amare Stoudemire during 07/08, at 0.656. Oden during this stretch shattered those records.
Usually, I wouldn't take a five game stretch and put much store in it, but I think it has relevance for several reasons. Oden was a rookie, he was recovering from microfracture surgery, he was never in shape, and he was hurt twice during the year. This was the one stretch in which he played closest to his potential. I don't think anyone thinks that Greg LOOKED good out there last year. But his statistics belie that: during the time on the court, he was incredibly effective. It's not unreasonable to expect a much more effective Oden this year, with the sophomore performance jump, the almost full recovery from the knee surgery, and starting the year in good basketball shape. The stats from the his best 5 game stretch last year give us a preview of what he'll become over time. I would not be surprised to see him average 31 minutes, 16.4 points, and 11.4 rebounds this season.GO GREG, GO BLAZERS!!!