June 13th, 2007 | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Sports

Can We Please End Any Debate? The Blazers Must Pick Oden


The Portland Trail Blazers today unveiled what they're calling a "micro" website where fans can weigh in on whether the team should pick Greg Oden or Kevin Durant with the top pick in the draft.

Let's save everybody the trouble of hashing this out between now and the June 28 draft: The pick must be Oden.

Please hold the comparisons to the 1984 Draft when the Blazers screwed up and chose injury-plagued center Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. There is no parallel conclusion to be drawn here that the Blazers should learn from that 23-year-old mistake and now be haunted by Bowie's ghost and pick Durant in 2007 because he has the potential to be the next Jordan.

What spinsters of that scenario ignore is that the Blazers used their #2 draft pick in 1984 to choose the Second Best center of that draft, not the best. The best center was Hakeem Olajuwon, and he went to Houston with that year's top pick.

Olajuwon, like Oden this year, was as sure a thing as exists in the NBA's annual draft. And Olajuwon, of course, went on to win two titles for the Rockets.

So let's see: this year's choice then becomes between a center whom history dictates can virtually guarantee a title at some point vs. the next Michael Jordan. Yes, Jordan won six championships with the Bulls. But if the choice is between a virtual sure thing in Oden who is likely to win a championship vs. the "next Jordan" who might win more titles than two, take the sure thing.

And who knows? Durant also might be the next version of this guy who can't get out of the playoffs' first round.
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