Will Greg Oden ever realize his potential?

Will Greg Oden ever realize his potential?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Will Greg Oden ever realize his potential?

For years in Cleveland, the Cavs fans believed the name Ilgauskas in Greek must mean “man with bad feet.” Now the fans in Portland are wondering if Oden will ever realize his potential or will he be a first choice bust due to injury.

By Bill Smith

There is no question that big men are at a premium in both college basketball and the NBA. Look at this year's draft. There were only 2 7 foot players in the top 50 as ranked by most experts. One of those, our own BJ Mullens was rated the 16th best prospect and he was not a regular starter for the Bucks in 08-09. He got picked 24th overall in the first round.

But Oden was not just 7 feet. He has more talent on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor than all but a couple starting C in the league. He also has an NBA body. He has spent the hours in the weight room necessary to build up his body to withstand the banging of the NBA lane. Even so, in 2 seasons, he has yet to be able to stay even close to 100 percent healthy.

The human body was not designed by a structural engineer. When a body is as large, muscular and heavy as Oden, the hips down to the feet are subject to stresses well beyond those of the average body type. Yau Ming was hurt in what seemed like an insignificant injury will keep the Rocket C out of the game next year and may end up being a career threatening problem.

Oden worked out for more than 3 hours in Columbus for the Trail Blazer staff this week. According to most reports, he looked good. More importantly, he looked healthy. The question is will his health carry him through an entire season and playoffs?

Portland hopes so. If he is healthy, Portland will be very dangerous. He can be a difference maker and has a young and very talented team around him. But history is not in Oden's favor.

Having watched the NBA game for 5 decades, I have seen many more players that suffered injuries in college and early in their pro career never reach their potential. That is Oden's history as well and that is too bad. He is so talented and dedicated to his game that should his body let him down it would be a loss to the game.

That's what I think. Tell me what you think.

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