|Greg Oden is trying to get back on the court after not playing in the NBA since 2009. (sports.yahoo.com)|
Greg Oden's NBA career has been a punchline and example of how quickly dreams can come crushing down. Now he has a chance at redemption.
Oden is just 25 years old, a relatively young player with years before he reaches old-man status on the court, but it seems like a lifetime ago that Oden wore an NBA jersey. It was December 5, 2009 to be exact, just two years from being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 1 overall pick. But injuries took Oden down swiftly and quickly as he played in only 82 games in those two years, and has had three knee surgeries since entering the league.
Now Oden is making his comeback, working out for several teams and Deadspin reports the two clear favorites are the two teams that met in this year's NBA Finals: San Antonio and Miami. Not a bad choice for a guy looking to make a fresh start in the league.
Teams should take another chance with Oden. The reward is a 7-footer with great low-post skills that averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds his first two years (remember, those stats were with him playing with one good knee most of the time). He's not going to expect a huge paycheck and 40 minutes a night. He just wants another chance, and has proven it by getting himself back into playing shape and at a respectable NBA weight. It would be different if he was a bust because he wasn't able to adjust to the NBA style of play. He proved he could play in the NBA, his knees just didn't cooperate. The potential gains outweigh the losses on this one.
Oden has a chance to take back what his knees took from him, which is a chance he deserves. An NBA player can only go as far as his body will take him, but Oden had too much potential to have his career end after basically a season of play.
Oden probably won't be an All-Star next year and won't be competing for any scoring titles, but size can't be taught, and the value of a skilled 7-footer is worth the risk of injury.
For Oden, it's just about getting back in the game he was forced to leave too soon.
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