Across professional sports, there’s always the opportunity to call a player a draft bust. The NBA, NFL and MLB how major draft events where teams pick players in hopes that this individual is the “missing piece” towards a championship. Unfortunately, we often see these players quickly fall from grace and whether it’s due to injury or poor play, they’re quickly pushed off into the “draft bust” category. Some may consider Greg Oden to be in that same category, but even in 2013 that doesn’t keep teams from showing interest in the former college standout.
Greg Oden was a college standout at Ohio State University where he played for a year to help the team get to the 2007 National Championship. While they were unsuccessful in that run, he still did enough to place himself as the next great NBA big man in many scouts, fans and media expert’s eyes. In June the Portland Trail Blazers decided to agree by taking Oden first in the draft, ahead of Kevin Durant. What occurred next was the start of his downfall due to repeated injuries in what became a heartbreaking sports story.
In September of that same year, Oden would have surgery on his right knee that would end his season without playing a single game. The 2008-09 season would be his opportunity to show what he can do on the court but injuries kept him out of the lineup for extended periods of time as he played in only 61 games that season, while starting 39. In the next season he would only play in 21 games after being stretchered off the court in December of 2009. Since then, Oden has had three more surgeries on his damaged knees. Since being drafted in 2007 Oden has played in just 82 games during that span.
Still, as the 2012-2013 season picks up teams are still interested in signing Greg at this point in the year. Recent rumors of both the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have come up in talks. While the 25 year old center has decided to sit out the entire year, he is looking to get back onto the court next season. Along with the Heat and Celtics, San Antonio, Dallas, Charlotte, New Orleans and Indiana are looking after the player’s recovery throughout the year.
Teams that would be interested in signing Oden would most likely offer the league minimum in order to protect their side of the investment. According to Basketball-Reference.com, in just 82 games played in his career, Oden has made approximately $23 million dollars which equates to more than $280 thousand dollars per outing.
The interest in Oden at this point shows the lack of high level talent at the center position in the NBA and among players ready to make their professional debut. As many of the big money centers, such as Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Brooke Lopez seem to deal with injury just as much as they play, teams are forced to shore up their bench through any way possible. Making a move to pick up a player that at 25 years of age has had five major operations on his knees may be more risk than reward.