Greg Oden Scares Me

Greg Oden made his preseason debut Tuesday night, at home against the Kings. As you'd expect, Trail Blazers fans combusted on Oden's introduction and after just about every play he made. And he made plenty of plays ... ESPN's J.A. Adande and The Oregonian's Jason Quick talk about Rudy Fernandez's premiere, which had some irresistible moments, but Oden was everything that has been promised.

Within the first three minutes, Oden has hung three fouls on Sacramento starting center Spencer Hawes, a normally mammoth looking fellow who instead resembled an aardvark next to Oden's elephantine stature. But despite the overwhelming size and strength advantage, Oden was the player fighting for position and lunging after rebounds and twisting through traffic to get closer to the ball. He has David Robinson's size and Dennis Rodman's energy.

This isn't to crown Oden so early ... it was 20 minutes in a preseason game against, again, Spencer Hawes. G.O.'s offense is limited to getting good position and dunking the ball at this point -- he didn't show an inclination to face up or watch for cutters (not that Portland cut much around him). Defense, of course, is his calling card, and he showed real affinity for keeping Sacramento's bigs away from the rim. But he has a lot of work. And he needs to stay healthy.

Honestly, though: the Western Conference should be scared of this guy. Hawes should be scared, Chris Kaman should be scared, Shaquille O'Neal should be terrified, Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer should acquire some Advil. LaMarcus Aldridge has it right in a quote in Quick's piece: "Greg is a man-child." Greg Oden means business, and he showed Tuesday that he is finally ready to play.

UPDATE: Lest you consider me too prone to exclamation, the most rational writer in the land, Kelly Dwyer, has similar thoughts.

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