On June 28, 2007, Greg Oden rose from his seat, gave his mom a kiss, shook hands with those around him, and made his way up to meet NBA Commissioner David Stern, who just announced that he, the Ohio State Buckeye who just finished up his freshman season, was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. A life dedicated to basketball: the preparation, the practice hours, the blood, sweat and tears, all came to fruition, culminating in Oden reaching the highest point of his life. It seems though, that this defining moment was not one that reflected the player (or the man) that Oden was supposed to become.
Hailed as the best center prospect since Patrick Ewing, Oden recorded 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game at Ohio State during his one-and-done season. He surpassed the likes of Kevin Durant in terms of potential, according to many NBA scouts, including those working for the Trail Blazers, who selected him. Leading the Big Ten in almost every defensive category, and making 61.6 percent of his field goals on the offensive end, there was much hype surrounding this rare find leading into his rookie NBA season.
But then, disaster struck. Oden needed surgery; microfracture surgery on his right knee in the preseason to be specific, which kept him out of the entire 2007-2008 campaign.
Upon his return, he seemed to be a shadow of the player he was projected to be, as he averaged 8.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 21.5 minutes per game in 63 contests. The following season, he only played 21 games and put up 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes.
Then came microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010. And then the same surgery after re-injuring the same knee while rehabbing in 2012.
Oden didn't log a single minute since 2010 before this past season with the Miami Heat, in which he averaged 2.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.6 blocks, and 9.6 minutes in 23 games for the team. He never emerged as a viable threat to opponents.
In a potential seven-year career, Oden played in just 105 games, averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 19.3 minutes per game. Notice how I just used the past tense -- because with the recent developments last week, any NBA team would be even more stupid to take a chance on Oden.
Here's what I'm referring to.
Police in suburban Indianapolis responded to an early morning disturbance last Thursday, which led to Oden's arrest for then-misdemeanor battery and now-felony battery in an incident with his ex-girlfriend. According to police reports, when police arrived, they found a woman lying down with blood on her face with swelling to the nose and lacerations to the forehead and nose. It seems like Oden joined a dangerously-growing list of cowardly and despicable athletes who decide that committing violence against women is an option.
If you're a sports fan, or just a decent human being, you have to be getting sick of these stories.
It was once a promising career for the former Ohio State big man, but it turned injury-plagued and ugly really quickly. And oh yeah, if you can remember, Kevin Durant was the second pick in the draft that same year. The 2013-2014 MVP has played in 542 games and averages 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in his career. The Blazers must be kicking themselves every day about that one.
Do you think Oden will ever see another NBA minute again? Comment below.
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