While you're basking in the post-game glow of that riotous smashing you can take time to consider the words of Henry Abbott from TrueHoop.
If you've missed the discourse in the last 24 hours, Henry wrote a piece on the readiness and effect of Greg Oden which you can read here. Our own Ben Golliver, followed by a legion of fans in the comments, responded in this post. Henry, having read those responses, would like to clear the air. He writes:
My whole post is in response to the notion that this is it. That he scored more than 20 and has thus arrived.
My thesis, and I think we'll all agree -- is that this ain't nothing yet. Yeah, he got his 20 and yada yada yada, but the team was pretty bad, and he was a big part of the reason why.
As I make clear, it's all just because he's a rookie, not because he's a bad player, or someone I love any less than the day we drafted him. It was great to see him last night. I'm happy. At stage one of a ten stage process, he's way ahead of the class.
But ladies and gentlemen, this is a player who will lead us to championships. He could be an MVP. On a night when he led the team, bumbling, to a loss to a miserable, depleted, starless Golden State team, he did not arrive. Please. You insult him with that talk.
That's like saying some aircraft carrier has arrived after it left the dock and made a loop of the shallow waters. This sucker is going to war, and it's going to win. You'll know when it has arrived, and it won't be some night when the team would have won with Joel Przybilla in his place.
My take on this whole thing is that Henry's explanation has merit, though I'm not sure I would have downplayed Oden's contributions thus far so thoroughly, nor do I perceive his effect on the team as detrimental. His effect on Lamarcus Aldridge right now may be detrimental, but that will pass. Henry's point is well-taken, though. We haven't seen anything yet. The stumbling and awkwardness that Henry himself cites proves the point. We are still seeing a semi-crippled version of Greg Oden. Yes, he looks far better than he did a few weeks ago but he's not at full strength or health yet. That makes me view his contributions in an even more positive light. He's no more than three-quarters of the man he will be, maybe as little as two-thirds, and he's already warping space and the game. Look at how many of his teammates are watching for opportunities to pass to him. Look at how many opponents are getting pushed aside as if they were nothing. Look at the opportunities opening up for other Blazers because defenses are scared of Oden's rebounds and dunks. Look at the boxscore. Look at the way Greg Oden being on the court affects everything.
Granted, not every effect is positive. The offense stalls a little when Greg can't find a shot. He's in the way defensively sometimes. The whole thing is new and we're adjusting. That was always going to happen. The negatives don't bother me a bit. Using Henry's language, we got the aircraft carrier built and launched. As long as it doesn't sink during the shakedown cruise everything is going to be OK. After it's fully operational things are going to be more than OK. That's what matters.
Let's face it...the team isn't close to being there yet. It wouldn't do much good for Oden to arrive early. After a rough start everything is back on course and progressing. Good enough for me.