The Treatment of Oden vs. Bynum

10 02 2009

The phrase “injury-prone” is completely subjective when comparing Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum.

Greg Oden’s major injuries

  • June 2006 – surgery for torn ligaments in right wrist
  • Sept 2007 – surgery on right knee

Andrew Bynum’s major injuries

  • May 2008 – surgery on left knee
  • January 2009 – current right knee injury

Supposedly, Bynum’s newest injury won’t require an operation.  However, after he injured his left knee in January 2008, the team doctors stated in mid-March 2008 that he’d be “a couple, three weeks before he’s doing some things on the court.”  I guess they meant he’d be in street clothes because they waxed optimistic until Phil Jackson kept it real in mid-April.  That May, Bynum went under the knife two months after the “doing some things on the court” statement.

Is history repeating itself?  Phil Jackson said, “if it’s not an operation… we have to be pleased with it.”

The LA Times comes to the rescue, stating that “the latest injury to Andrew Bynum probably has more to do with bad karma than inherently bad knees, medical experts say.”  They report that Bynum’s two knee injuries “are unrelated… and don’t foreshadow a career punctuated by knee problems.”

And then they contradict themselves here:

Bynum will not walk away from back-to-back knee injuries completely unscathed, however. His kneecap injury suggests that he is a bit loose-jointed. And both knees probably will be sensitive to contact injuries in the future, DiNubile said.

Good thing basketball isn’t a contact sport.  Oh, wait…

What’s interesting is how Greg Oden’s injuries have been treated in relation to Bynum’s.  Although an SI article points out after Oden’s surgery:

What makes all of this complicated — as anyone with a serious medical issue will attest — is that different doctors will have different opinions. Provide the 30 NBA franchises with the same MRIs and medical results, and their team doctors will arrive at a variety of diagnoses and predictions.

And yet Oden has been called the “glass man” or “as brittle as a saltine cracker.”  People called this kid everything but a leper.

The beat down got to a point where JA Adande wrote that Oden “complained of fatigue after making the news conference-talk show-promotional appearance-ESPY rounds in the weeks after the NBA draft. Now, after a college season of 32 games (50 fewer than in the NBA regular season), he has a serious knee injury.” 

Ever heard of fatigue?  You know, like maybe when a 19-year-old kid travels from suburban Indiana and gets thrust into the national media spotlight.  Apparently, multiple television appearances and a cross-country trip are sure-tell risk factors for major knee injury.  Hurry, someone should warn Suri Cruise.  She could be next…

It seems as though the label “injury-prone” is more for those with selective labelling skills.  When one article is named “Oden following in footsteps of misfortune in Portland,” and another is “Andrew Bynum’s injuries probably just bad luck,” you’ve got to scratch your head for a second. 

It must be noted that Oden is the top pick of a more recent draft.  There is definitely an expectation of immediate results from a #1 draft pick as opposed to #10, where Bynum was taken in 2005. 

High school players — even those drafted in the lottery — generally garner more patience than collegiate players.  There’s definitely an expectation that former NCAA players are more polished than their high school counterparts.  So expecting more production from Oden at a much faster rate is certainly normal for the public.  However, it should be noted that Oden had spent only one more year playing collegiately than Bynum did.

Oden and Bynum have suffered arguably the same amount of injuries.  Both have great potential, they’re three months apart in age and yet criticism of Greg Oden, by far, outweighs that of his NBA colleague.

Once again, consistency matters.


The Celebrity of Greg Oden

21 01 2009

“Oden comes alive!” exclaims Yahoo! Sports.  Leave it to a website with an exclamation point in its name to delve into hyperbole every now and again.

“It was damp and chilly so I decided to put on my sweatshirt!” Get rid of the exclamations.

I like Greg Oden, he has been my muse at times but he’s just not that good right now.  

Sure, whenever Oden has played over 30 minutes this season — with two exceptions — he’s gotten double doubles.  But what about the other 30-some games where he’s sat on the bench in favor of Joel Przybilla.

Oden’s a rotation player in the league but there’s a reason why rookie Rudy Fernandez is getting more burn than the big man.

Oden (8.3 points) scores more than Przybilla (5.4) but he’s also attempting twice as many shots (GO’s 5.7 shots to JP’s 2.9).

What I find interesting is that Oden and Przybilla are both blocking the same amount of shots per game — 1.1 and 1.0 blocked shots.  So although he’s been billed as this impact defenseman, statistically, he’s doesn’t have much to show for it.

I think it’s unfortunate that so many people have written Oden off simply because he was injured last year.  But it’s just as unfortunate to sing his praises after he hangs 24 and 15 on the Milwaukee Bucks.  Because… they’re the Milwaukee Bucks.

His second most recent 30 minute game came against the Los Angeles Lakers where he only managed 10 points and 4 boards.  All that to say that there’s a big skill differential between the Bucks and the Lakers.  And although 24 and 15 is a great night and a good starting point… I think it’s prudent to temper our enthusiasm just a tad.

Greg Oden is my muse

11 09 2008

Big fan of Greg Oden and community service.

LeBron James Is Like An iPod

16 04 2008

I’ll make a confession right now. I’ve gone to the Dark Side.

I bought an iPod.

After six years of rockin’ the Dell DJ, I caved into the persistent and ubiquitous iPod marketing and bought an inferior MP3 player that blatantly tries to turn you into a captive consumer.

It’s pretty, that cannot be argued. But the iPod is far from flexible.

I mean, iTunes is the only way to put music onto it? Really? And the files aren’t “.mp3” Come on.

I really have to buy a $30 adapter if I want to plug it into the wall?

Wow. I just got scammed. And I’m actually enjoying it a little bit. I like walking around feeling like everyone else now. Let’s go get McDonald’s after our Starbucks coffee and bash on Barack Obama! Well alright! I love being fiscally conservative! Go unbridled consumerism!

I can now wear those white earphones proudly, displaying my social status. I don’t have to cringe when people ask about my “iPod” and I have to respond using the noun “MP3 player.”

I thought years ago: Man, I know I’m a consumer but I’ll find an intelligent alternative to the iPod. Surely, I won’t get sucked into the marketing and hype. I was wrong.

And now I am confused and wallowing in a feeling that isn’t quite buyer’s remorse.

Having gone through this conversion, I’m now staring straight at another paradigm shift that I’m not looking forward to.

Becoming a LeBron James fan is something I dread. But it’s pretty much inevitable, isn’t it?

Who else can the NBA marketers bank on? Dwyane Wade really came on strong a year or so ago. He won a ring playing “selfless” ball next to Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a smooth dresser, a nice guy and has a great smile.

But sadly, D-Wade is about to go the way of Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill. I can’t even remember the last time I saw him play 10 consecutive games. I’m sure that you can’t either and that’s very alarming.

So where does the NBA find another incredible athlete that is a winner and knows how to work the cameras?

Carmelo Anthony, the Larry Bird to LeBron’s Magic Johnson, needs some time to clean up his image problems.

Kobe Bryant’s image is probably too tainted at this point. He’s also a bit old and his name is a bit tired at this point.

Chris Paul never gets on TV. He’s a pretty boy though so look for cameramen to key onto him in the playoffs.

Tim Duncan is great. But he’s old and watching his game is like staring at Mount Rushmore at noon. It’s cool but kinda boring and I don’t like how his thumbs are upturned when he runs.

So what’s an NBA to do?

Witness LeBron.

Over the years, I’ve turned into a big Allen Iverson fan and I now enjoy watching Kobe Bryant play. But for some reason, the thought of enjoying LeBron repulses me.

I dislike him for a few reasons.

His Hype

I’ve heard the name “LeBron James” for almost a decade now. Much like Greg Oden, the media has surrounded this kid since his early high school days.

Do you know anyone that is a late adopter in the iPod consumer bell curve? Those people will never be impressed. In the same sense, I’m not really all that impressed with LeBron James. Nor am I impressed with Oden but that’s another story…

A microcosm of the LeBron hype machine is his nickname, “The King.” It says it all. He was crowned at a young age and he won’t be dethroned until a clear heir emerges.

His Game

Broadcasters love to marvel at LeBron’s game. I know he’s talented, athletic and incredibly strong. But is his game really that marvelous at this point?

The man’s go-to move is essentially a fullback dive. He puts his head down, covers up the ball and runs for daylight. LeBron can get called for charging twice each time down the court.

Up until the last month or so, his outside shot was atrocious. He seems to be knocking down longballs with more ease now but he’s still streaky at best.

LeBron’s got very good court vision but he’s really not that great of a passer yet. LeBron gets assists but he forces shots like a half-Irish guy on St. Patrick’s Day.

One of my college roommates was in the Ohio Catholic conference that LeBron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary’s belonged to. He told me that LeBron was incredible live but he would cherry pick for 3/4 of the game. I imagine it was like watching Leandro Barbosa play.

If LeBron had the letter “D” in his name, I would make another fairly obvious observation. But I digress.

His Facial Expressions

Damon Jones is definitely rubbing off on LeBron. Both are continually snarling throughout the game. The difference is that Jones does it while sitting next to the Gatorade. LeBron, why are you so mad? Big Z did all the work for you by giving you an incredible outlet pass. You’re up by 20 and no one contested your dunk. Why are you snarling?

He looks like Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson out there.


There are few certainties in life. One is that I was eventually supposed to buy an iPod. The second is that I will eventually become a LeBron James fan.

I’ll do it but I won’t enjoy it.