Yesterday, the Portland Trail Blazers extended a qualifying offer to Greg Oden that should keep him in Portland through the 2012-13 season. And with that offer comes an opportunity for Oden to finally live up to the promise he showed when he entered the NBA four years ago, and finally shake the label as “The Next Sam Bowie.”In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers famously selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan with the second pick of the draft. 20-three years later, the Blazers had the top pick of the draft, and once again chose the big man (Oden) over the electric scorer (Kevin Durant).
Four years later, Oden has missed 246 of the Blazers 328 games. That has drawn some unfortunate comparisons to Bowie who only played in 63 games in the four seasons following his rookie campaign.
Meanwhile, Durant is a two-time defending scoring champ, and is the leader of an Oklahoma City Thunder team that some think are the favourites to win it all in 2011-12.
Here is a look at how Oden’s first four seasons in the NBA compared to the first four seasons of Durant and Bowie.
It certainly paints an ugly picture. But Oden will only be 23 when the 2011-12 season is scheduled to start. Bowie, on the other hand, was 27 at the start of his fifth season.
Oden’s career has been a colossal disappointment. And there is a good chance he will never be a dominating force in the NBA. But at such a young age, and with a team that refuses to give up on him, there is still hope.
And hope is more than a lot of people thought Oden would have at this point.
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