In a column obviously written before Portland’s Greg Oden scored 16 points and collected 10 rebounds against the Raptors Saturday night, The Oregonian’s John Canzano refused to mince words regarding the Blazers’ Center, insisting “a team aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons is starting a player who hasn’t earned it.”
Paul Allen’s customized jet has a bedroom at the back. The bedroom is for Allen’s personal use, and while the Trail Blazers utilize the 757 aircraft “Blazer One” for travel during the NBA season, Allen’s room has been off limits to players.
All, except one.
Greg Oden used the bedroom last year so he could stretch his injured leg out on flights. And even this season, team insiders tell you the now-healthy Oden will sometimes disappear to the back of the plane, and close the door, and spend the flight by himself while his teammates socialize up front.
I bring this up today because the franchise has one set of standards, rules and expectations for the majority of players — and apparently another for Oden.
I know Joel Przybilla deserves to start at center. You know he does. Your spouse knows. Your children know. Your dog knows. Even Oden knows.
You can talk about defensive issues. And offensive issues. But if we can’t talk about the elephant standing in the Blazers locker room we’re all in trouble. And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise’s decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap, pamper his psyche and hand him a starting position that should belong to Przybilla today.