Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Most Dominating Player To Dominate Nothing


I sat alone in my apartment this evening watching the No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes take on their hated rivals, the Michgan Wolverines. I am a graduate of The Ohio State University, so it is in my interest to catch as many games as possible as the Buckeyes make their run to the tournament of 65. Since I do catch my fair share of Buckeye's games, I get a chance to analyze Greg Oden a bit more than your average fan who only catches highlights on "Sportscenter." After seeing this guy play I have come to one conclusion that no one else seems to agree with me on.

Gred Oden is not that good, in fact, he's not even the best player on his team! (See Mike Conley Jr.)

Throughout the course of the game, I heard the game's play-by-play crew refer to him as "dominating", a "freak", a "game-changer", and an "exception-to-the-rule". What has Greg Oden dominated at all this year?? He is 7'1", which makes him a mortal lock to be the biggest player on the court and his stat line reads 15.9 ppg 9.5 rpg 3.5 bpg. This isn't a bad line by any means, but dominating?! Has anyone seen Kevin Durant play? 24.9 ppg 12 rpg 1.7 spg 1.8 bpg 42% 3p. That is true domination at the college level.

I mean seriously, let me give you a list of five big men who were considered dominating players at the college level and you tell me who Greg Oden reminds you of most.

A. David Robinson

B. Tim Duncan

C. Patrick Ewing

D. Akeem Olajuwon ( Who knows how he spelled it then)

E. Michael Olowakandi (who knows how you spell it now)

The obvious choice is "E." Both Oden and the "Kandi Man" were the biggest players on the court, both lacked polished offensive games, and most of all they are both super soft. (on a side note, Olowakandi averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds his last season at Pacific). I know you can't teach 7'1", but you can't teach tenacity either, just ask LeBron James, version 20.07. As for defense, Oden is unequivocally the top shot-blocker in all of college basketball (not counting the top 15 shot blockers...which he's not one of).

I know, I know...Oden has been battling a right wrist injury that has been hampering his game all season. Does he jump with his wrists? Does he head fakes with his wrist? Does he get position with his wrists? Don't get me wrong, he's as ambidextrous as it gets. He's just as good at sitting on the bench with foul trouble, right-handed or left-handed.

I know that some lucky team is going to get the number one draft pick when all the ping-pong balls settle, and here's my advice to them. In an era where crappy coaches last two years, and crappy GM's last four, make it Kevin Durant, because Greg Oden will be good once you're fired.

Submitted by guest columnist Justin Welsh

28 comments:

Ken Johnson said...

Truth be told, I was a more dominating defensive presence.

Angry BK Managers Unite said...

While I can make no argument with your analysis, your conclusion is entirely faulty. It is completely true that Oden is a victim of his own hype. He was built up for so long that only Lebron (now a victim of his own hype) could only surpass it. As far as your fruitless attempt to compare Oden to Olowakandi, can you even tell me what the other players on that list did in their collegiate careers? Tim Duncan was not demolishing teams at Wake Forest his first year, David Robinson wasn’t making noise at Navy his first year, Patrick Ewing wasn’t the next savior at Georgetown his first year, and Hakeem Olajuwon wasn’t the most amazing player at Houston. I could compare Durant (not that I would) to any of the sweet Duke players of the 90s that fizzled in the NBA. This all resolves to a few main issues. The first being, it’s partly Thad Matta’s fault for not feeding the ball to Oden some of the times he is open. He is on a team where he doesn’t need to be the absolute focal point and have the ball all the time because of the young depth (like your boy Conley). Not to mention Oden is doing things with his left hand that some NBA players couldn’t do in the same time period. The second issue being, defenders create NBA championships. Durant is compared to Dirk and Marion…how many rings do they have playing on sick teams? There are multiple defensive Centers on the other hand not known for their offense, but still owners of a championship ring (Ben Wallace). Oden absolutely owns Durant on the defensive end. As for your statement about Oden not being one of the top 15 shot blockers (which he is anyway you look at it), try looking per game. Uh oh big man, he is number 6 swatting balls with his LEFT hand. It’s an obvious no-brainer that Durant will be a level above Oden his first year or two, it’s impossible to predict whether he will maintain that. You think the worst team in the NBA is really worried about winning an extra 5-10 games the next two seasons? Had Carmelo been another year ahead of Lebron and tuned his skills just that much more, would you also pick him over Lebron for the quick fix?

Justin Welsh said...

Very good..First off, LeBron is not a victim of his own hype, he is a victim of his own lack of work ethic.

Very true, many of the elite big men that I compared him to were not "demolishing" their respective ooponents in their first seasons at the collegiate level, but they were also playing in an era where players weren't coming straight from H.S. and/or being "forced" to participate at the college level for one year. My conclusion was that Greg Oden is not the "dominate" player, nor is he a "freak of nature". He is simply a large man/boy who hasn't yet reached his potential. AS STATED in my article, if you have the first pick in the draft I would go Kevin Durant. The reason being, nowadays (again as stated in the article) coaches and GM's have very little time to resurrect their teams. I'm glad to see that you agree that Durant would be a better short-term fix, therefore helping the very argument I was trying to create.

By the way, some of your points fall very short. You mention Oden is on a team where he "doesn't need to be the focal point". I assume you mean the other players I wrote about were the focal point? Ewing (David Wingate), Olajuwon (Clyde Drexler), and Duncan (Randolph Childress) certainly didn't have any other scorers on their teams that come to mind.

I made an admitted mistake on my judgement in blocks, but please don't act as though Oden is blocking his shots "left-handed". His right hand exists pal, and he is able to block shots with it just like he is able to dribble, shoot, and do everything else with it. Your mistake there.

As my millionth point, I never compared Oden to Dirk Nowitski or Shawn Marion. That is you pulling opinions from other sources. There are great offensive players and defensive players on every NBA championship team. Oden is a better defensive player that Durant, and Durant is a better offensive player than Oden. Who says Detroit won a title beecause of Ben Wallace? Maybe it was Rasheed Wallace or Richard Hamilton, their underrated offensice players. Hey, you take your pick. I'll take Durant.

Use a name by the way.

Flight #23 said...

Both of you are wrong. BK, Lebron has been lazy as shit, it's nothing to do with hype. Justin is also right with regards to Ben Wallace. I do think that youre right overall though. A great center isnt found nearly as much as a great forward. Oden is using his right hand now, but you were right that he started out with his left for a short time.

Justin, your argument about being in an era where college basketball is down is just suspect all around. The game is at an entirely different level today as compared to the 80s. College players, while shit compared to the NBA, are probably at a higher skill level than most were in the 80s. The spotlight on the money has grabbed the interest of more people, generating more players. Lets not forget the league was white a few years back (those guys were real good). As for your argument about the NBA guys, you were just asking for that comparing Oden to Olowakandi. Duncan had similar, if not worse, numbers than Oden when he played with Childress (9 and 8, 12 and 10?). So yes you can compare Oden in pretty much every category to a young Duncan. So I gotta go with him on that one.

Considering the caliber of centers coming into the league (Bogut) id have to say Oden #1 right now but its a hard choice.

Elliott "Not a Welsh" Feldman said...

There is an easy answer to this. Oden is going to be more valuable but you have to take Durant right now hands down. Justin is right with regards to coaches, look at Mike Brown a few years in?

Time to lighten things up. I still hate Justin for the insane amount of "are you his brother" questions I got at OSU. I look nothing like Justin, aside from a large head and globs of back hair (that goes for you too J Fine). I am also way way hotter than Justin (me saying that is like vomit telling shit it stinks). I was also not the metrosexual king of Columbus. Seeing as how he prides himself on being the prettiest, I figured Justin's debut topic would be "100 reasons why John Amaechi is my hero". I joke I joke. Justin, you were probably one of my favorites in that house on 18th...then again you did live with Sportsboy and Sustar so it can't be that hard. I'm sure this just opened the flood gates for people to comment on one of the many donkeys I have had in my life. I also have to be the coolest person on earth posting this at 11:53 on a saturday night. Law school sucks, I know Lima agrees.

Now that I have pissed everyone off that reads this shit i'm going back to studying.

Oh yeah, Bryan Smith loves Ryan Cabrera and cries when he hears "On the way down". NOW everyone that reads this shit hates me.

James said...

Flight #23..are you saying there have been no centers as dominant as oden in recent memory??

Common Sense said...

Since when do coaches make draft picks? Yes, the shelf life on a coach is extremely short, but they're not the ones making the picks. GM make picks, and most GMs are given at least 5-6 years to prove themselves, regardless of how many awful decisions they make (Billy King, Kevin McHale). And it's already been mentioned that you can get a quality forward much easier than a quality center. No one would have a heart attack if I made the claim that Oden could be the best center in the game in 5 years (Yao will be 30+, Duncan will be 35-36, Shaq will be a cop) because it's highly reasonable to think he might be. However, NOT ONE OF YOU can definitively think that Kevin Durant will be the best forward in the league in 5 years (Lebron, Carmelo, Dirk, Bargnani, Aldridge). One of those guys will likely be better than Durant in five years. Can you name one true center who will be in Oden's wheelhouse in 5 years? Think hard. I'll wait. So consider your starting forward if you draft Oden and compare that to your starting center if you draft Durant. Chances are you would be much happier going to war with Oden & replacement forward than Durant & replacement center. For instance, Oden & the 15th best SF (say Josh Smith or so) or Durant & the 15th best Center (say Nenad Krstic or so).

Anonymous said...

You're a fool. To just throw out the FACT that Oden is playing at perhaps 75 percent proves that anybody can write about sports these days and come off as a genius. EVERYTHING he does is affected by the injury: jumping, running, shooting, posting up, battling for position, playing defense, etc. But because he's 7'1", we should just expect more from an injured guy, right?

Oh, and he's still a kid, despite his looks. Big guys need time to grow into their bodies. He'll become more polished.

Is he overhyped? Yes, we agree there. But to go overboard and compare him to the Candy Man is pure stupidity. They are night and day apart at this point of their careers. Don't look at their numbers. Look at their GAMES.

And my name is anonymous...

The Anonymous Imposter said...

Obviously the writer was using hyperbole and humor to prove a point. I completely agree with his assessment. Oden probably will be pretty good in the NBA (In the same mode as Dwight Howard), but Durant is superstar to build your team around. I'm not sure Oden will ever be that guy, healthy or not.

Justin Welsh said...

Anonymous said it's pure stupidity to compare Oden and Kandi Man because I need to look at their games?...

There were quite a few GM's who looked at Kandi Man's game and at the end of their assessment, he became the NUMBER ONE pick in the draft. So how am I foolish to compare them? Everyone thought he was then next great big man, remember? They were wrong, and there is no way to tell right now if Oden will develop the same way. I wasn't posting all my information as factual, it was simply an opinion. Don't write back acting as though it's an impossibility that a Kevin Durant led team could win an NBA title.

Elliott Feldman said...

This comment section has gotten way too long.















But to be fair, no one gave Olowakandi the hype that Oden is getting now. He was getting the "this is a 7 foot monster coming out of the rough and tough pacific". Oden was labeled as a game changer before last year.

Anonymous said...

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This comment section is almost as long as Greg Oden's...nevermind

Patrick said...

I attended a school that played in the same conference as Oden's Lawrence North. From the time all of this hype started, I've gotten to see Oden play probably half a dozen times at both levels. And what you're suggesting, that Oden isn't that good, is something I've been wondering aloud. Many wondered if Conley followed Oden to Columbus because he's not any good without the big guy. But what if it's the other way around? Conley is an incredibly good college point guard. He's got a quick first step, pretty good defensively. I think Oden is a nice player but he is not a great player. By any stretch, you could argue, as much as I'd hate to, that Josh McRoberts is a better post player than Oden is. I don't know how good of a shooter Oden is... because I've only seen him dunk. www.patrickdonohue.wordpress.com

Elliott Feldman said...

Again, look to the current players. Are all the Durant lovers THAT confident that he will be better than Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal, Sheed, Garnett, Dirk... Being in the Oden camp, I have complete confidence that Oden would be a top 5 (true) center today in the NBA. Sure Yao, Ben Wallace, and Dwight Howard are all better but can you really name anymore? As sweet as Z or Francisco Elso is...I'll take Oden. Sweet forwards are common. Durant is a very quick fix but Oden will be worth more in a short time.

Thunder Arms said...

Not a very accurate article point. He gives us something that can actually help us win, dominating defense in the middle. Do you look at anything besides him shooting with a cast on his hand? Now we can play with teams like Georgetown in the tourney b/c he came to osu, otherwise its the same story as last year. He was hyped more then anyone this year, but thats not his fault and he will definitely be sweet in the nba when he is 100%. I had a cast on my hand and still won the benching contest at my college....the point is I could only bench half of what I usually do, which was 515 lbs. Goes to show maybe oden is only performing half as well as he could.

Anonymous said...

Hey thunder arms, not an accurate point in your post. The author never said anything about Oden not being good, or not being a good player at OSU, or not a player who can help us win in the tournament. You're basically making things up. He's talking about Oden not dominating, which he isn't, at least on the same scale as Durant. He's right.

Biggest defensive threat said...

i would say its dominating when teams can't drive to the hoop b/c oden is there. I don't care if he doesn't lead in blocks because teams are missing shots b/c they are trying to shoot around him. I never led the leaugue in blocks when I played high school, but everyone knew I was the biggest defensive threat in the conference, state, and possibly the country. Since when do people say he has to be better then durant? He was hyped, but I think a lot of people are comfortable with his performance as a freshman who has a cast on his wrist. Lets see how good durant will play with a cast on his wrist, i will fly down to texas tomorrow and break his wrist to prove my point. Give it up man...Oden is playing great for his situation. How can anyone in the country say otherwise when they have no idea what its like coming off his injury and wearing a cast. He does look like he should be in a geico caveman commercial though.

Anonymous said...

conley the best player??? that proves you know nothing about sports and you just write to raise controversy. oden gets double teamed everytime and gives people like conley more looks. conley is only here because of oden. conley is the second best on the team, but to say the best is the most retarded statement i have heard all season on osu ball! what if he was double teamed and had a wrist injury...would he even score a basket a game or be able to have the assist he does? would he be able to steal the ball, which is one of his best talents. Guy I like taking the other road and trying to be different, but you need to know when its the right time. I didn't expect oden to lead any category with a cast on his damn hand! Yes, the cast effects everything he does while handeling the ball. No it doesn't affect his pump fakes, jumping, but everything when he touches the damn BALL, which is what bball players are judged on and he has a damn cast covering his complete wrist and partial hand. I have no idea who your trying to convince?!?

Anonymous said...

Yeah..Saying Mike Conley is the best player on the team is SO retarded. He is definitely the SECOND best. It would be like saying Kansas is the best team in the country and OSU is the second best. I mean, geez! It's such a clear cut answer, I mean how could anyone get that confused!?

On a different note I can't wait to fill out my march madness bracket, where I will be picking all the favorites, since the perceived better, higher ranked team wins every game. GO OBVIOUS NUMBER ONES!

Remember opinions...? said...

Yeah, Mike Conley definitely couldn't be the best player on the team.

He is just some measly point guard who shoots 53% from the field, is in the top 5 in assists in the entire NCAA and in the top 25 in steals.

I'm not saying he is definitely the best player, but to say "You obviously don't know anything about sports" because someone wrote that is ridiculous. I'm really glad you based your argument on facts. Oh, wait..It's called your opinion...like the writers...

Got nothing said...

still a stupid comment? Are you saying conley is better then an injured oden or overall better nomatter what? Look who had better stats when they played in high school? or i guess that doesn't prove anything b/c oden was healthy?! Would conley have gone to osu without oden b/c he was so good. How come nobody ever mentions conley going in the first round?! Yes conley is the second or third best, but there is a long line between oden(first or second pick in the nba draft) and the second best on the team. The writer said oden wasn't the best player on the team-see mike conley. How can you keep this arguement up? Answer three questions? 1) Is mike conley jr. the best player on the team?2)Does greg oden having a cast on his wrist affecting his play?3)You think osu would be a top ten team without oden?Maybe conley will go right after oden in the draft, I mean he is the best on a number one ranked team?! I am not sure where you stand...bc/ the writer definitely wrote and said conley was the best player(oden isn't even the best on the team) on the team mid-way article....just not in those exact words!

Derek Moore said...

First of all, the tired argument that Oden doesn't block more shots b/c guys are scared of him is moronic. Don't you think the same is true for each and EVERY guy ahead of him on the blocked shots list. Or do you think the only player in the NCAA that teams gameplan against is Greg Oden.

Also, in my humble opinion, Conley is right there in terms of leadership and knowhow with Oden. Who do you guys feel more confortable at the end of games with? Exactly. Nobody is saying Oden isn't a good player. The writer expressed that Oden isn't as good as others have said. I think that's pretty accurate.

As for his cast, that certainly slowed him down and hindered his progression. But, that wouldn't have stopped him from getting in foul trouble (which he routinely does).

and..as for the last commenter who said asked if the team would be as good w/o Oden. Another moronic point. I can easily flip it around and say the same thing about Mike Conley, so you're not getting anywhere w/ that argument.

Finally, stop using platitudes like "They double Oden on every play." While that sounds good on paper, that's just not the case. Sure, smaller teams have to, but smaller teams do that to all teams with a decent big man. I guarantee opposing coaches are much more worried about the overall damage Mike Conley can do then Greg Oden at this point.

So again, the premise of this article was dead-on. "The most dominating player to dominate nothing."

Webmaster said...

"X-man," I regret to inform you that your most recent post has been removed from the comment section. We recognize that ad hominem attacks are often the centerpiece of this website (as opposed to humor). The difference between our personal attacks and yours is that we use our real names. You, however, have been asked numerous times to back up your constant acerbic postings with a name (and possibly a phone number if you're remotely good looking). Since you've failed to step forward, your comments are being deleted.

You're more than welcome to come back if you summon the strength to admit your identity on a comment section read by roughly 10 of our friends. Now that would be gutsy!

SBT

Thanks for your continued support.

Elliott Feldman said...

Derrick Moore...did Justin brainwash you on a trip to sam's club to buy blush and hair gel? I'm pretty sure they have interviewed a few coaches that say they design their gameplan AROUND Oden. Now Tom Izzo doesn't know much about basketball so I could see how you think it's moronic.

Derek Moore said...

Elliot, nobody said coaches don't gameplan against Oden. All I said was that he's not the only guy who gets that treatment, even though many people

Are you only reading what you want to read at this point? And if that's the only aspect of my rebuttal you could take issue with, then I think I must be doing a solid job.

Nice to see the comments section getting interesting. I think I'm enjoying your little site! To see writers jousting with each other is quite comical.

sex panther said...

mr. moore ..Umm yes OSU would be a top ten team without conley b/c some other guy would get more touches and feel the shoes of someone who is only here b/c of oden. He does well for the touches he gets and defense he plays, but we can win without him buddy. Not having a big guy...well you saw the georgetown game last year I hope.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would you guys want Oden to get more touches? So he can unathletically fumble the ball in the paint? or so he can shoot line drive hook shots into the front of the rim? Sorry, but he stinks. And if he doesn't stink, he's vastly overrated

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