Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Blazers center Greg Oden is out for the season following surgery Sunday to repair a fractured patella in his left knee. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the sad news ...

Blazersedge"... the costs to the team are pretty obvious: rebounding, defense, post play, intimidation factor, the other team having to factor Greg into their game plan. How can the team overcome these costs? They can't right now. There's no magic wand to wave. I'm not saying it's a disaster that will kill the season. I'm just saying there's nobody on the roster who brings all of the same things that Greg did. Joel will make up some of the defense and rebounding. LaMarcus will be called back into post duty. They'll have to get by without some things and try to substitute in what they're still good at. One of the trickier aspects of the situation is avoiding a mental or emotional letdown. I tend to think that we in the public probably valued Greg more highly than his tangible positive effect on his teammates' games warranted, so I don't believe that anybody in that locker room is waving a white flag at this point. If anything once past the initial shock they're likely to view it as an opportunity for more time and responsibility. But on the whole they'll still have to avoid the temptation to just accept the season as it comes now instead of fighting for their position. They'll also have to avoid the temptation to make it all about their individual effort/opportunity. I don't think you'll see these things early but 3-4 losses strung in a row could make them vulnerable."

Hollinger, TrueHoop"I know what you're all thinking, so before we go any further: All you second-guessers out there, just stop it. All 30 NBA general managers were prepared to take Greg Oden(notes) over Kevin Durant(notes). All of them. There wasn't even any question about it. One can fairly ask whether this consensus was borne more of the hope that infects every personnel evaluator upon seeing a talented 7-footer than of common sense. That said, it's hard to single out a front office for doing what everybody else would have done too. A more salient point is how Oden's injury puts the rest of Portland's season in a much different light. As Blazers coach Nate McMillan noted, Oden had been the team's most consistent performer in what had otherwise been a largely disappointing season for Portland."

Hardwood Paroxysm: "Greg Oden has had multiple injuries since being drafted by Kevin Pritchard and during the same time, Kevin Durant has evolved into one of the best players in the league. This is a coincidence. The two are not outlined in the stars. They're not bound by that draft. It was just a coincidence. And to consistently compare the two is madness, like comparing a barn fire in Jersey and a stock jump in California. Assess each within the context of themselves."

Larry Brown Sports"Hate to say I told you so, but now I have to say I told you so: over two and a half years ago, I wrote that if I were the Blazers, I would have taken Kevin Durant with the top overall pick. I said then that Durant was the special player who could be a 30 and 10 guy in the league. Now he's in his third year and he's averaging 28 ppg and 7 rpg. While it sucks that Oden is done for the year, there is some upside; the colorful personality will have more time for karaoke videos, filming commercials, and updating his Yardbarker blog. Furthermore, don't feel badly for the Blazers; this might actually help their offense run smoother and put Brandon Roy(notes) at ease. We shall see how they respond. And memo to Greg: maybe you should think about wearing knee pads from now on to protect yourself, just a thought."

David Berri, The Huffington Post: "Oden was turning into the player teams were willing to lose games to acquire in 2007. After 21 games his WP48 was 0.322. To put this mark in perspective, let's consider the 188 players who played more than 1,500 minutes last season. Of these players, the following six were the only players to post a WP48 mark beyond the 0.322 we saw from Oden this season. Chris Paul(notes), LeBron James(notes), Dwight Howard(notes), Troy Murphy(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes), Jason Kidd(notes): 0.329 WP48. Oden's mark of 0.322 surpasses everyone else who played 1,500 minutes last season. And that means Oden — on a per-minute basis — was more productive than Kevin Garnett(notes), Tim Duncan(notes), and Kobe Bryant(notes) last season. Yes, Oden was very good before he broke his kneecap. Despite how little Oden played, his per-minute production allowed him to lead the Portland Trail Blazers in Wins Produced this season. But now he's gone."

The Knicks Blog"Why would the Blazers trade for [Eddy] Curry if he cannot get on the court? That said, I do think there will be various rumors in the next few days involving these two teams. With rumors that Andre Miller(notes) might be moved and with rumors that Portland has been looking for an athletic forward, perhaps a swap of Jared Jeffries(notes) and Andre Miller can form the basis of a potential deal. Especially with Oden out now, Jeffries can play the 5 alongside Aldrige. If not, then he can also come off the bench and fill in at multiple positions. As for the Knicks, Andre Miller would be an upgrade over Chris Duhon(notes), and he is under contract for next season. I know this does not help alleviate the cap situation, but in my opinion, spending 7 million on Miller, who would likely be our starting PG through next season, would be a wiser use of capital than paying Jeffries close to 7 million. But that is just me."

Knee Jerk NBA: "Realistically, this could be the last we see of Oden. We're talking about a guy who previously destroyed his other knee getting off his couch. He's like Samuel Jackson's character in Unbreakable. It seems improbable that he'll ever be sturdy enough to play professional sports. If you're Pritchard, do you resign Oden to big money after this season knowing how fragile he is? Hell, no. If Oden does eventually come back, it probably won't be in a Blazer uniform. It's a sad day for Portland fans any way you look at it. No way this team competes for a title without Oden. No way. In fact, it's entirely possible they drop out of the playoff race altogether. Without Nic Batum, Charles Outlaw AND Oden, they're forced to rely on suspect talent like Juwan Howard(notes), Jerryd Bayless(notes) and Dante Cunningham(notes). Get ready for a long winter."

Blaze of Love: "This post isn't about Sam Bowie or the fact that many would assume Oden as 'injury prone. This isn't about being a 'bust' while Kevin Durant is performing at an MVP level. This isn't a plea to trade the big man. This post is simply about time. About a window of opportunity that seems to have closed. The 2009-10 season was supposed to be the most important season yet for this group of Portland Trail Blazers. This was their growth year. This would be the year that LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) takes his game into an elite level. The year that Brandon Roy would solidify himself as one of the top 10 players in the entire game. The year that Greg Oden appeared as the force we had all dreamed about. The year that these 3 fixtures would learn to play together, leading this team into NBA history. And now that year is lost."

Tomasson, NBA FanHouse: "Until Oden returns, Pritchard knows he's going to 'get criticized for missing some games.' Missing the rest of the season means he will have played in just 82 of his possible first 246 NBA games. Further adding to Oden's misfortune, he happens to man the pivot for the team that has had the two most banged-up centers in the history of the NBA. Bill Walton couldn't stay healthy after being the top pick in 1974 and Sam Bowie couldn't after going No. 2 in 1984. 'It's just coincidence,' said Prichard, who hasn't ruled out Portland making moves before the February trade deadline to replace the big fellow. 'There's no bad luck.' But don't bring that up to Oden. He's liable to resume apologizing. Oden is so conscientious that before the game was over, he had issued a statement that was handed to the media. How many times has that happened immediately after a player sustains a season-ending injury? 'I'm obviously disappointed having worked so hard to get to where I was,' the statement began. 'This is a setback, but I'll be back.'"

Mike Barrett's Blog: "We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves as Blazer fans, but all I could think about at that moment the injury happened was how badly I felt for Greg. He had battled so hard to get to where he was, and now he faces another fight. And, as bad as we all feel for what happened, it doesn't come close to how he's feeling. It certainly changes things, but Oden will be back. And, maybe I'm being unrealistic, but it wouldn't shock me to see him playing again this season. It's just a feeling."

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