Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a Sam Bowie fan. I watched the guy play in high school and he had the sweetest jump shot from anywhere. He could also dominate a game at the drop of a hat.
He was a seven foot one inch presence anywhere around the basket. Over the years he’s been remembered as “the guy Portland picked instead of Jordan.” He’s also been known as the high draft pick who kept getting hurt.
Greg Oden is quite familiar with these associations. Over the years Oden has been quietly referred to as “the guy Portland picked instead of Durant.” He’s also been known as the draft picked who keeps getting hurt. When Portland released Oden, they opened the door for any prospective team willing to roll the dice on Oden’s recovery. Eventually, the Miami Heat took that chance. This is where I would like to bring the Sam Bowie reference back one more time. However, this is to remind the Heat about the part of Bowie’s career people don’t mention all that much. The career that Greg Oden can still have with the Miami. A career of healthy numbers and healthy seasons.
In four seasons with the Trailblazers, Sam Bowie’s first year was his healthiest, playing in 76 games. The next three seasons, he was often injured and managed to play in just 63 games. After four disappointing seasons Portland had enough and cut Sam loose, much like they did with Oden. However, the glimmer of hope for Oden, and the Miami Heat, is to carry the Sam Bowie factor forward into the years after Portland let him go.
Sam signed with the New Jersey Nets after his injury-plagued years in Portland. Bowie played a total of 139 games in four years with Portland. In New Jersey, Sam nearly doubled his output in 270 games with the Nets. He averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds per game during his time with New Jersey, respectable numbers for anyone. He even averaged just under 2 blocks a game. During his four seasons in New Jersey, Bowie helped them make the playoffs twice.
These numbers need to be mentioned with regards to Greg Oden. Bowie had his most productive years during his late twenties and early thirties. Greg Oden is still a young man.
In an age where our culture is built on immediate gratification and quick result, Oden could prove to be a wise investment for Miami. His body is still at an age where it can heal and recover. When healthy, he could be the complete package in scoring, rebounds, and blocked shots.
While he might not be able to carry a franchise, one day Greg Oden might find himself, like Sam Bowie, helping to lead the Heat into the playoffs and beyond.