When looking at some of the biggest “What If” moments in Portland Trail Blazers history, many stem from the mid-2000s.
What if Greg Oden stayed healthy?
What if the Blazers drafted Kevin Durant?
What if Brandon Roy stayed healthy?
All of these scenarios, if they went as anticipated, could have led to the second Blazers title in franchise history.
According to Bleacher Report, the biggest “What If” in Blazers history comes at the top of the 2007 NBA Draft.
“Oden’s career swiftly dissolved from fantastically promising to doomed by injury,” Bleacher Report editor Bryant Knox said. “One day after the draft, thousands of Blazers fans rallied downtown around him. A few days later, the 20-year-old graced the cover of ESPN The Magazine, ready to win ‘like 15’ championships. But five years, 82 games and three microfracture surgeries down the road, the experiment ended. On March 15, 2012, the Blazers held a fire sale at the trade deadline, waiving Oden. Three months later, Portland watched Durant lace up in his first NBA Finals.”
Of course, the 2007 NBA Draft might be a year the Blazers would like back, but Oden was the obvious choice at No. 1 that year. It looked like a great decision to take Oden, and it never truly felt like it was a two-horse race for that top pick. Oden had the more successful college career and the NBA was still slanting towards dominant big men rather than lanky forwards like Durant.
Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes you have to accept the past in order to move forward to the future.