Friday , May , 25 , 2007 Oly Sandor

How Will Greg Oden Change The Portland Trail Blazers?

The ping pong ball madness has stopped … It’s official: the Blazers have the first overall pick and appear set on taking Greg Oden … The big center will surely bring Rip City back … But what can we expect with Oden suiting up for the Blazer franchise? …

The NBA draft lottery was settled a few days ago. The Pacific Northwest ruled the day. The Portland Trail Blazers won the lottery ceremony and now own the coveted first overall pick.

The Blazers will likely select super-center Greg Oden. How will he change the Portland franchise?

1) Portland has too many posts, so Zach Randolph will have to be moved. Z-Bo’s had his  struggles in Portland, but he was much-improved this past year. He shed some pounds, posted impressive numbers, and even called a team meeting at the end of the season.

No doubt about it, he’s made significant strides. Unfortunately, he still holds the ball for too long on offense. But Randolph won’t change because he sees himself as a number one option.

Oden also likes his touches and would get frustrated with Randolph’s shot-first style. Think back to the NCAA Tournament. The man-child was frustrated with his lack of shots in Ohio State’s offensive sets.

Would Oden be able handle Randolph’s demands to be the offense’s focal point? Probably not.

Portland should cut bait with Randolph and build their frontcourt around Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Randolph earns a ‘max’ salary, so the Blazers may find it tough to move him.

2) Portland suddenly has the best young nucleus in the NBA. Oden and Aldridge will man the middle. Joel Pryzbilla is a solid reserve forward/center. There’s also Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, and Jarrett Jack.

But Sergio Rodriguez is the sleeper of the bunch. Yes, he plays no ‘D’. And, yes, he’s unorthodox. But he also lacks fear, which is a great quality for a point guard to have.

3) I have relatives in Portland. During the eighties and nineties, they loved their Blazers. They couldn’t get enough of Kevin Duckworth, Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler, and Jerome Kersey.

Things changed the last few years. It wasn’t the Jail Blazers-thing. It was apathy. The players didn’t care, so the fans lost interest. There were even rumblings the Blazers would leave town.

No more apathy. The Blazers are officially back. And Rip City has once again fallen in love with their NBA team. With G-Oden in the mix, this franchise is destined for great things.

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