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Oden - Pritchard



Decisions that have been made and may be made...

I don't know if, what appears to be Kevin Pritchard on thin ice, has anything to do with the Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant debate, and don't want to beat the already dead horse on this subject, but want to speak on the issue of Greg and the issue of Pritchard if there is a potential link.

To start - in trying to be realistic, I just don't have a good feeling that Greg will ever be healthy enough to develop to be the player that most envisioned when he was picked. There were red flags when he was selected - questions about his knee's surfaced around draft time. I had my own questions due to how fatigued he would get in the games during the NCAA tournament and how easily he would get into foul trouble - often due to fatigue. I didn't want to just fall on the fact that he missed most of the first part of the season due to his wrist, as why he was out of condition, because it was his wrist and not his legs that was hurt. It made me question his work ethic. I remember reading at the time just before the draft about how Greg, as a teen, was more interested in watching cartoons then working on his game - at the same time reading about how Durant was focused since age 11 on basketball and getting better - constantly working on his game. In some respects I was okay with this as there is more to life then basketball. Greg wasn't and still isn't a very polished player - his game was all about power and athleticism - his injuries have taken away a lot of the latter (just started to see some of it before he hurt his knee). I recall John Thompson, speaking of Oden during the NCAA tournament, saying Greg wasn't ready for the NBA, while at the same time watching Durant, who had a wonderful stroke and looked very smooth, and wondering if Durant should be the pick.

While I think it logical to say the team (in hindsight) should have drafted Durant, the reality is that what was likely known at the time, even with everything stated above, Oden was the pick that most felt was the right decision and I don't fault Kevin Pritchard for the selection. The only way Durant would have been the pick, for the Blazers or anyone else (with perhaps the exception of Orlando) was If this team got the second pick. Had this happened and the team selected Durant, they, in my opinion would have likely traded up the following year and taken Brook Lopez and would be challenging for a title this year and this whole debate thing wouldn't be the Blazers debate, but the Sonics/Thunders debate - just like in 1984 no one would be talking about the team passing up on Jordan had the team won the coin flip and taken Hakeem (I think the Blazers would have went on to win 4-6 championships and not Jordan and the Bulls - Jordan would have actually gone to Houston in this scenereo).

I'm concerned about the health of the franchise should Allen fire Pritchard - in my opinion they would be cutting at the roots of this team and would question what this team will look like moving forward. I don't want them to look like the Nuggets, or the Blazers in their Jailblazer years. I credit Pritchard for turning this team around and putting them on a solid path. He hasn't been perfect, but I think what he understands is that team chemistry and character matters and how these things can take a team further then the lack thereof...letting go of Pritchard (from what I'm aware of) would be in my opinion, be the biggest mistake Allen has made since being owner of this franchise...seeing him go away while the team seems to be moving in the right direction, would feel a lot like the time when I could see them making decisions that was sending them in the wrong direction, scratching my head at the time and thinking they (Trader Bob and the group that followed) just don't have a clue how to put a team together.

I hope Greg is doing all he can in therapy as there is a lot he can do to increase his hand eye coordination and quickness, core strength and over all conditioning while isolating his leg as much as it needs to be.  

I'm hoping that Greg will develop and come close to, or perhaps even fulfill his potential. He has a fun personality and the story of his career is far from over. I'm hoping that two years from now, as Durant is likely the second best player in the NBA, that Oden isn't in his third year of G.O. on the Go, coming on 95.5 and telling Wheels what movie he recently watched, how he sometimes watches the team on TV and talks about his plans for getting back on the court...and at this point, from what I know, my hope is that Pritchard remains the GM and given the freedom to make decisions, and if anyone goes away, my hope is it's the Vulcans.

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