Today we continue our look at expectations for individual players in the coming season by checking out the Big Guy, Greg Oden.
In some ways it feels like we've been talking about expectations for Oden forever. We've covered this topic before this summer even. Every time you mention the guy it's all about what he can or can't do. Therefore for my part I'm going to consider that field well-sown. Feel free to treat this as a normal "expectations" thread. If you wish to quantify what you need to see out of him this year to be satisfied, go ahead. I'm going to leave it at "stay healthy and just play" and refer you to the litany of other posts I've written on the subject.
(By the way, did you know Blazersedge has a search feature? Just type in "Greg Oden" in the field at the top, right hand corner of your page and you'll have access to everything we've posted about Oden since forever. </PSA>)
At this point, Oden reminds me of one of those uber-powerful cards in Magic or whatever collectible card game you're passing familiar with. In every kid's deck there's at least one card that takes 13 mana to play. It doesn't get drawn, let alone activated, every game. But when it does make it onto the board it can tip the balance of power big time. Oden hasn't made it into many games. He's difficult to rely on at this point. But if he makes it out there in any shape to play he'll make the Blazers better. He's probably got some special text that specifies the longer he's in play the more powerful he'll get and the harder he'll be to counter. To me this season feels like a fresh re-shuffling of the deck. I feel like that kid hoping and praying that my Big Card will make it out there and I'll finally have a chance to employ it fully. Unfortunately if you've ever played Magic you know that this doesn't happen as often as you'd like. A deck full of smaller, more reliable cards juxtaposed correctly and employed skillfully almost always beats the trump-card-heavy deck. But here's hoping.
What I'd like to hear from you, in addition to any expectations you'd care to share, is your answer to the question Casey and I debated in yesterday's podcast. By what criteria do you decide whether Oden is the starting center on this team again over Marcus Camby? When will we know that moment has arrived? Does it happen at the moment he shows up healthy or is there more? Keep in mind that if you say he has to beat out Camby you need to define what that looks like, as they're quite different players on both ends of the court with the remarkable similarity of grabbing boatloads of rebounds. How will you know the first unit needs Greg over Marcus? Let us know.