Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Just In: Paul Allen's Blazers Are A Terrible Organization That Drove Greg Oden To Drink

All the rage in Blogfrica; a story that the 26-going-on-50 broken-down center Greg Oden, the cursed first pick of Portland ahead of Kevin Durant in a cruel echo of the Sam Bowie / Michael Jordan Experience, fell into alcoholism and poor habits while a member of the Blazers.

Oden seems to have gone for a tell-all on this one, and I'm not, as usual, terribly interested in the details; it is, after all, Not Game, and as Oden is trying to come back from his third microfracture surgery, this is unlikely to be about game for, potentially, ever. Rather, I want to speak to what this says about Paul Allen, the owner of the Blazers, who told his fan base that he's not selling the team.

Gosh, what a relief for the fans.

To draft Oden over Durant, in the first place, required a wilfulness and stupidity that defies description. At his healthy best, Oden was going to be a top 10 center, a defensive anchor who was not going to be an exceedingly effective offensive player. At Durant's best, he was going to be, well, exactly what he is: a once in a lifetime scorer who should put up 25+ effective points a game for the next 12 to 15 years. In terms of ceilings, there was no comparison, but that water is under the bridge. They drafted Oden.

Here's what they did next: they put him on a roster that was more or less devoid of winning veteran players. They made him the focus, along with similarly cursed shooting guard Brandon Roy, of a team that was always going to be on the draw, never with a made hand. They set him up for life in a community where he was more or less adrift, and pressured him to race back from injury, making a bad situation worse.

It's easy to pin how this wound up on Oden: no one put a gun to his head and made him drink, after all, or be so undisciplined as to have dong shots make the Internet. Even if he had gone to a franchise that's actually good at developing young talent, the annals of NBA history are filled with big men that can't stay on the court.

But at no point did Allen and the Blazers treat this resource as an endangered asset. At no point did they seem to have a greater plan in place other than Plug Oden In And Win; in short, they committed an optimal misuse of talent.

In other words, they treated Oden like everything else that Allen touches: seagull management, neglect that had more of an eye towards putting the blame on the player than winning games, so long as they had the Oh, So Unlucky defense.

Blazer Fan, you might want to pick up on this.

Because your team, right now, does not have a coach or a GM.

But it does have an owner that squanders resources as if they were infinite...

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule