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.