Monday , Sep , 17 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Forget Medical Reports: Greg Oden Safe Pick For New GM Kevin Pritchard & Portland Trail Blazers

Medical reports, a poor pre-draft workout, and Kevin Durant weren’t enough to stop the Blazers from drafting the game’s next great center. Fair enough. After all, you can’t teach height and teams build around the five-spot …

The Oregonian reports on Portland GM Kevin Pritchard missing the warning signs that Oden could be an injury-prone player:

Still, several media outlets have published comments from unnamed front office personnel from the Eastern Conference that said they had red-flagged Oden’s physical, which was taken at the league’s pre-draft camp in Orlando, Fla., in early June. The inference in those quotes was that Pritchard and the Blazers should have seen Oden as an injury-prone player.

My Quick Take: Think back to when you started your first real job. It’s the first time you ever had any real power. And you are, as they say, wet behind the ear. During the first few months, you must make a major decision, which will impact your company’s well-being for the next fifteen years. You can go two ways. You can make a smart, conservative choice or you can roll the dice and take a risk. What do you do?

This is the scenario Pritchard faced last June with the first overall pick. He was a new GM, so he lacked that Joe Dumars-Jerry West front office pedigree. He also knew his pick would determine the Blazers’ future. So the former coach did what most of us would do-Pritchard went with what seemed like the smart, conservative pick in taking Oden.   

Medical reports, a poor pre-draft workout, and Kevin Durant weren’t enough to stop the Blazers from drafting the game’s next great center. Fair enough. After all, you can’t teach height and teams build around the five-spot.

Bryan Colangelo, Toronto‘s current GM, used to run the Phoenix Suns. He signed Amare Stoudemire to a max contract days before the team doctors recognized STAT’s microfracture injury.

Point being, these mistakes happen. Pritchard is in charge, so he should rightfully take the fall. But Portland‘s GM did what most of us would do in his circumstances-he played it safe. We should remember this before throwing Pritchard under the bus and feeding him to the lions.

Is Kevin Pritchard to blame for Oden’s injury? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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