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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Greg Oden (Part 2)

By Rob

NOTE: Statistics are valid as of December 30, 2008

Greg Oden has played in 26 of Portland’s 32 games. He’s started in 19 of those 26. What does he have to show for it? (Other than a 16-10 record, of course)

His season averages aren’t overly impressive (even for a rookie):
8.1 PPG, 53.2% FG (2.9-5.5), 7.4 REB (2.8 OFF; 4.7 DEF), 64.8% FT (2.3-3.5), 0.7 AST, 1.5 TO, 0.4 STL, 1.3 BLK, 3.8 PF

As it stands, New Jersey Nets' center Brook Lopez has been the best of all first-year big men. He's played in all of New Jersey's games and, with the exception of FG% (Lopez is shooting a more modest 45.9%) and TO (Lopez is averaging 1.7 TO per game), has Oden beat in every statistical category.

But when Oden plays 20 or more minutes, his average numbers are as good as any other rookie big man:

11 PTS, 58 FG%, 9.53 REB, 68.9 FT%, .86 AST, 1.8 TO, .3 STL, 1.46 BLK, 3.73 PF

He shoots 58% from the field and 69% from the free throw line. He averages 9.5 rebounds and 11 points per game. He turns over the ball 1.8 times and blocks 1.46 shots... Plus the Trail Blazers at 9-6 in such games.

If you removed his 21-minute performance in Portland’s December 22nd loss from the equation (a game in which Oden had only 3 rebounds) then he’d have averaged 10 rebounds per game over 14 games with 20 or more minutes.

There aren’t many guys who can shoot nearly 60% from the field and nearly 70% from the free throw line. There aren’t many guys who can average 1.5+ blocks per game while turning over the ball less than 2 times per game, either. Toss in a double-double and you’ve got a special kind of player…

How special?

26 players finished the 2007-2008 season averaging 8.0 or more rebounds per game. (8+ rebounds is a pretty common expectation for a big man, although I admit I chose it somewhat arbitrarily.)
Notable players, capable of 8+ rebounds, who otherwise would have made the list: Lebron James (7.9) and LaMarcus Aldridge (7.6). Seven more players averaged between 7.2 and 7.7 rebpg. Chris Kaman (56 games – 12.7 rebounds per), Andrew Bynum (35 games - 10.2 rebounds per) and Elton Brand (8 games – 8.0 rebounds per) were ineligible.

20 [players] of those 26 shot 60+% from the free throw line.
The 6 players eliminated: Ben Wallace (42.6%), Jeff Foster (59.3%), Andrew Bogut (58.7%), Emeka Okafor (57.0%), Tyson Chandler (59.3%), Dwight Howard (59.0%)

17 [players] of those 20 also averaged 10.0+ points per game.
Players eliminated: Joel Przybilla (4.8), Nick Collison (9.8), Marcus Camby (9.1)

10 [players] of the remaining 17 averaged 1.0+ blocks per game.
Players eliminated: Antonio McDyess (.7), Dirk Nowitzki (.9), David Lee (.4), Al Horford (.9), Antawn Jamison (.4), Carlos Boozer (.5), Lamar Odom (.9)

That’s 10 players who averaged 10+ points, 8+ rebounds, and 1+ block per game, while shooting 60+% from the FT line last season. To me, those minimums represent the basic expectations of a well-rounded center in the NBA.

Who were the 10?
1. Josh Smith
2. David West
3. Amar'e Stoudamire
4. Kevin Garnett
5. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
6. Brad Miller
7. Andris Biedrins
8. Samuel Dalembert
9. Al Jefferson
10. Tim Duncan

Even if you’re kind about the guidelines I’ve set in place, you’d have 21 players*** on that list.

*** Those on the fringe:
Lebron James was .1 rebound off. Dirk Nowitzki, Al Horford, and Lamar Odom were .1 blocks shy, while Antonio McDyess was off by .3 blocks. Marcus Camby was .9 points per game away.
Nick Collison averaged 9.8 ppg and .8 blocks. Dwight Howard shot 59.0% from the FT line; Tyson Chandler shot 59.3%, Emeka Okafor shot 57.0%, Andrew Bogut shot 58.7%.

So what? Well, there's a lot of non-believers coming out recently, and what I'm trying to do is put 20-year-old Greg Oden in context; explain through use of statistics why he's hyped up the way he is and why not to jump off the bandwagon just yet.

In a recent article by Johnny Ludden for Yahoo! Sports, Ludden sums up my point well:
...[Oden is] also a little more than two weeks shy of his 21st birthday and his NBA career has spanned all of 28 games. He spent one year in college then sat out all of his first season with the Blazers after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee.

Even healthy, few big men have dominated with so little experience. The same Dwight Howard who now terrorizes the league is the same Dwight Howard who averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in nearly 33 minutes per game as a rookie. Oden’s averages this season: 8.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 23 minutes per game.

Patience everyone. The time of Oden may be right around the corner.

Greg Oden's 20+ Minute Game Log:
Dec 30 (W) 35:35 – 5/9 FG, 3/5 FT, 4-7=11 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 3 PF, 13 PTS
Dec 27 (W) 28:21 – 5/7 FG, 6/6 FT, 7-3=10 REB, 0 AST, 1 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 3 PF, 16 PTS
Dec 25 (L) 25:25 – 2/6 FG, 0/3 FT, 2-3=5 REB, 1 AST, 3 TO, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 4 PF, 4 PTS
Dec 22 (L) 21:36 – 4/5 FG, 2/2 FT, 2-1=3 REB, 2 AST, 0 TO, 0 STL, 2 BLK, 6 PF, 10 PTS
Dec 16 (W) 21:11 – 3/6 FG, 2/2 FT, 3-7=10 REB, 0 AST, 0 TO, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 4 PF, 8 PTS
Dec 12 (L) 42:03 – 6/10 FG, 3/4 FT, 6-9=15 REB, 0 AST, 2 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 2 PF, 15 PTS
Dec 11 (L) 31:53 – 4/6 FG, 0/3 FT, 4-5=9 REB, 0 AST, 3 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 3 PF, 8 PTS
Dec 7 (W) 27:35 – 3/10 FG, 4/6 FT, 5-5=10 REB, 0 AST, 2 TO, 0 STL, 2 BLK, 4 PF, 10 PTS
Dec 3 (W) 31:06 – 4/6 FG, 5/6 FT, 3-7=10 REB, 0 AST, 3 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 2 PF, 13 PTS
Nov 30 (W) 30:49 – 3/4 FG, 5/6 FT, 2-11=13 REB, 1 AST, 2 TO, 1 STL, 3 BLK, 5 PF, 11 PTS
Nov 28 (W) 23:53 – 0/2 FG, 1/4 FT, 3-5=8 REB, 3 AST, 1 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 2 PF, 1 PTS
Nov 26 (W) 25:38 – 4/6 FG, 2/2 FT, 4-6=10 REB, 0 AST, 1 TO, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 4 PF, 10 PTS
Nov 18 (L) 29:40 – 8/12 FG, 6/8 FT, 4-6=10 REB, 2 AST, 5 TO, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 5 PF, 22 PTS
Nov 15 (W) 23:53 – 4/8 FG, 5/8 FT, 2-6=8 REB, 1 AST, 2 TO, 2 STL, 3 BLK, 5 PF, 13 PTS
Nov 14 (L) 24:10 – 3/3 FG, 5/6 FT, 1-10=11 REB, 0 AST, 0 TO, 0 STL, 4 BLK, 4 PF, 11 PTS

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