Greg Oden's Career Was Ruined by Injuries, So Can You Really Call Him a Bust?

Two mircofractures on his left knee. One microfracture on his right knee. He hasn’t played a game since Dec. 5 2009. Since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2007 – hate to remind you, Portland, but Kevin Durant went 2nd (yes, I thought Durant should have been the No. 1 pick) – Oden has played in 82 games. He only turned 24 last month, so it’s not a lock that his career is over, although prospects certainly appear grim. We’ve certainly enjoyed posting about him over the last few years, in happier times.

I saw some folks calling Greg Oden a bust on twitter Monday. Can you call a guy who barely got a chance to play a bust? I don’t think you can. Even if Durant wins a few scoring titles and MVPs and a title or two, I’ve got a tough time putting the bust label on Oden. If Oden never plays again, words like injuries, knees and microfracture should trump “bust.”

These are true NBA busts:

Sam Bowie over Jordan? Massive bust. Bowie played in the league for 10 years, averaged double figures six times and a double-double just once. Jordan … yeah.

Kwame Brown? Major bust. He’s been in the league a decade and done nothing, while Pau Gasol has two titles and a Hall of Fame resume (11 straight seasons averaging 16 or more ppg).

Darko over Melo? Epic bust. Darko’s bounced around the league and never done anything of consequence; Melo is a Top 15 player in the NBA and the [Ed. direction of the Detroit franchise was altered dramatically. Yes, they won a title Darko’s rookie year when he played 14 minutes in the postseason.] Pistons haven’t been the same since not taking him.

Shawn Bradley over Penny Hardaway? Big bust. Bradley spent a long time in the league, but did next to nothing (except when he was getting dunked on). Penny’s first four years in the NBA were terrific, and he looked like a franchise player. Then he fell victim to injuries.

I feel terribly bad for Oden. Remember when he and Mike Conley defeated Georgetown in the Final 4? I’ll never forget this attempted dunk on Jeff Green:

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