Revisiting the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant Decision: Should We Have Seen This Coming?

Divya ParmarSenior Analyst IApril 19, 2010

It's fascinating to examine the great debate of the 2007 NBA Draft, Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant, in hindsight.

Before the 2007 draft, there was talking going both ways about which player would be a better draft pick. Some argued that a center in the NBA is very hard to find, and Oden should be the pick. Others argued for Durant and his swing skills.

Now, we know what happened. Oden has been injured most of his three years and has had no significant playing time. Durant is averaging almost 30 points per game on a playoff team.

The question has to be: Should we have seen this coming?

Durant had all the tools and the ability to take over a game. Plus, he had no injury history whatsoever. Oden, in contrast, was already dealing with multiple injuries.

It didn't help that Oden had one leg longer than the other, and, as media members noted, he walked like an old man. To add further insult to injury, Oden had recurring issues in his left wrist.

The whole situation had many parallels to the Michael Jordan/Sam Bowie situation.

Bowie already had a fractured bone in his leg before draft day. The Blazers conducted a seven-hour physical to see if the leg had healed. Yes, you read that correctly: a seven-hour physical. Yet that was not enough of a red flag to take Michael Jordan.

The rest is history. Jordan wins six titles and Bowie becomes a bust.

Maybe we should have seen the parallels. Many in the media did not predict this outcome, but some did.

Bill Simmons saw it coming, and his 2007 NBA Draft Debate with Chad Ford looks comical three years later.

All the signs were there. Of course, it's easy to say this with what we know now. But as the saying goes, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. If we had looked back and seen the parallels in history, we may have foreseen this outcome.