Monday , Jul , 09 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Should The Portland Trail Blazers Worry About Greg Oden’s Slow Feet?

Summer league has shown that Greg Oden is a work in progress … Most of his shortcomings are to be expected and can be corrected … What about Oden’s average quickness and slow feet? … Click here for news and analysis …

ESPN’s Mark Stein reports on Oden’s summer league:

Yet if there’s a real worry about Oden, two games into his new life, it’s what would be described — in scouting parlance — as his "motor" lagging well behind that impressive, beyond-his-years physique. One example: He has yet to show sufficient quickness and/or hunger to be a factor on the offensive boards.

Oden doesn’t deny it, either. When asked what Portland coaches are telling him he needs to improve immediately, he volunteered his No. 1 trouble spot without hesitation.

"Just get a sense of urgency," Oden said.

My Quick Take: Throw out most comments about ‘s mediocre summer league. He’s 19-years old and has only played a year of NCAA ball. So he’s raw. Fair enough.

However, Stein raises a fair point when discussing Oden’s lack of quickness. Part of this can be blamed on poor conditioning. Leading up to the draft, Oden spent more time socializing on the banquet circuit then working out with a personal trainer in the gym.

I watched Oden’s first summer league game; his 10 foul debut against the Celtics. Oden’s weakness: his footwork.

The rookie’s footwork wasn’t terrible.  And I wasn’t expecting Oden to have nimble feet like Hakeem Olajuwon. But his movements seemed somewhat awkward and slow.

Part of this can be blamed on poor conditioning. And part of this can be blamed on having to adjust to a new team and league. Eventually, when Oden becomes more comfortable, his instincts will take over.

But his footwork wasn’t great-even for a rookie power center. A young moved with grace. And’s footwork has always complemented his brute strength.

Still, this isn’t a major issue for Oden. Just something to watch as the rest of summer league unfolds.

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