I was reading Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, mail bag and came across him ripping Greg Oden. I figured my fellow mgobloggers would get a kick out of it.
Q: Your willingness to write off Greg Oden (birth date: 1988) goes against everything I like about your columns. We get it Simmons -- Portland should have taken Durant over Oden. Why does this have to mean that he's a bust? It's too early to tell and you know it.
--Mike B., Vancouver
SG: I have to apply The Darko Corollary here. You can trot out every tired excuse you want to explain why a "can't miss" prospect is missing -- and remember, Oden was a "can't miss" 22 months ago -- but at some point, we have to see something. Remember when Detroit fans kept making excuses for Darko as he toiled away on their bench and looked spazzy and overwhelmed during games, and the months kept passing, and he wasn't showing anything, and, eventually, all those games added up and we realized, "Wait, Darko doesn't have it"?
We're getting there with Oden. Look how well Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah played in the 2009 postseason. Look how much Rajon Rondo grew from Season 1 to Season 3. Look at some of the beauties Durant had this season; same for Kevin Love or Brook Lopez, or even Russell Westbrook. If you're headed toward greatness, or even goodness, you're going to show us flashes of your ultimate destiny in your embryonic years. That's just the law. You can't go from "I am doing nothing" to "I'm an All-Star!" unless you're Jamaal Magloire (who immediately went back to nothing). It's a series of baby steps. And through two seasons, Oden has shown nothing other than a remarkable ability to suffer bad luck with injuries and draw empathy from his fans. I don't know what else to say. If he's good, let's see it. We could always use more blue-chippers. But he hasn't even shown hints of flashes. It's been a full-fledged blackout for two seasons. When you're clumsy, you're clumsy. We should have seen something by now. Just remember the lessons of the Darko era. After a while, it stops being an accident.
(And by the way, after watching Melo in the 2009 playoffs, can we officially say that "Darko over Melo" was one of the worst NBA front-office decisions ever? Are we there yet? What else needs to happen? Remember, this was a crazy decision AT THE TIME. At least in my mind. See my 2003 Draft Diary and 2003 Season Preview for further evidence. Personally, I think Joe Dumars got robbed for 2009 Executive of the Year -- he did a better job turning the Nuggets into a contender than Mark Warkentien did.)