And here we are. The original question that prompted this list asked, "Where would Greg Oden rank among Blazer disappointments if he never played for Portland again?" That practically begged for an enumeration of disappointing acquisitions. The caveat here is that this is where Greg ranks currently by our (completely subjective) measures, not where he'd rank if he remained injured or left the team without further significant playing time. We'll get to that in a minute.
Part of the value of mentioning the nine players who have preceded Oden on the list was showing us the various ways in which disappointment can manifest in a player's career. Oden is pretty much the Perfect Storm with the potential to encompass all of them. High draft pick? Check. Huge reputation and hype? Doesn't get any bigger. Depended upon to transform the team? Oh yeah. Talented players passed up in his favor? Yup. All of it happens in the crucible of the internet media age when every little thing is magnified and broadcast for all to see? You better believe it.
Mentioning his production is almost like putting frosting on the cheesecake. We'll not pain you. Just a few numbers:
- In the four years he's been drafted he'd played in 82 games, 1/4 of his potential total.
- In his career he's scored a total of 773 points. Kevin Durant scores that much every year by the end of December.
- Greg has notched more personal fouls (322) than free throws attempted (290) in his career.
- 9.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg are not bad but not exactly the transformational totals expected of a #1 overall pick, particularly this one.
One can also make arguments for Oden's effectiveness, particularly using more advanced stats. But the bottom line is that Greg's success has to be taken on Greg's terms rather than absolute terms. Comparing him to other significant #1 overall picks or even his more successful 2007 draft-mates leads to frustration and head-shaking.
We won't belabor the subject. You're Blazer fans in 2011. You know the story. Having given him a lighter touch than other members of this list because his Blazer tenure is still in progress, let us say this: Oden has the potential to work his way off this list entirely. If he comes back with a few really good years disappointment will fade. Plenty of guys who under-performed and even more who performed well but made total horses rears out of themselves during their Portland tenure did not make our disappointing acquisition roster. But if Greg doesn't play again for the club, either because of injury or worse because he takes a contract somewhere else and excels for them, he will immediately rocket to the #1 spot on this list and it'll be hard to imagine anyone ever dethroning him. All the ingredients for Ultimate Disappointment are there. That's why he's earned our #6 spot already. He'll need health and plenty of dedication to work his way off of it.
Let's hope that happens.
Should Oden be higher? Lower? Not on the list at all? Comment below.