Greg Oden has played the equivalent of exactly one season since Portland drafted the 7-foot center out of Ohio State with the number one overall pick in 2007. He’s scored 165 fewer points for his career than Kevin Durant scored during his 29-game streak of 25 points or more.
But Blazers guard Brandon Roy isn’t complaining about what could have been.
Roy, Portland’s 25-year-old franchise player, told Yahoo! Sports that the Blazers made the right selection in Oden, attributing his assumption in part to concern over whether him and Durant could have worked. Durant was drafted second overall by the Seattle SuperSonics.
Can me and Kevin Durant even coexist? We’re similar. We’re both creators. We are both perimeter players. I don’t know if there is enough room for both of us. But that doesn’t say Kevin Durant isn’t a great player. He’s right there for the MVP, so not a knock to him at all. I think he’s a great guy off the court. He’s cool. He’s humble. But as far as me having the career I wanted to and him having the career he wanted to, it was the right decision for him to be with Oklahoma City and for us to take Greg Oden.”
Roy, a three-time All-Star in his fourth NBA season, is saying all the right things. By questioning his effectiveness if teamed with Durant, he’s indirectly supporting Oden, who has fallen on tough times and likely is in need of a groundswell of support from the entire state of Oregon. The Blazers and their fans have admirably stood behind their big man every step of the way despite his plentiful pitfalls. Oden missed the entire 2007-08 season after undergoing microfracture surgery, sat out five weeks in 2008-09 with foot and knee injuries and missed all but a month this season thanks to a fractured patella.
But there is absolutely no question whether Durant and Roy could coexist. Look at Russell Westbrook and Durant. Westbrook, much like Roy, has the ball in his hands the majority of the game, controlling the pace and orchestrating the offense. Durant, over the past 1 1/2-plus seasons, has never had an issue with getting shots or finding a way to get into the flow. That’s not to say the Blazers made a mistake in selecting Oden. He was the consensus No. 1 pick, and Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard has said he’d draft him first overall again if he had to do it all over. And I believe him. Most GMs would have drafted Oden, too.
But Roy and Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge would be a sight to see. I think it could have worked and worked well.
Fortunately for Thunder fans, the tag team of Durant and Westbrook and Jeff Green and James Harden and Serge Ibaka looks like it’ll be even better.