The Impact of Losing Greg Oden

Posted on December 6, 2009 by


My latest post for Huffington Post Sports is a comment on the latest injury suffered by Greg Oden. Here is how this column begins:

The most coveted player in the 2007 NBA draft was Greg Oden. The elation of the draft, though, has been followed by much disappointment. An injury cost Oden his entire rookie season. Last year he was only healthy enough to play 1,314 minutes across 61 games. So after two years, Oden hadn’t played much. And now, after just 21 games, he’s going to miss the entire 2009-10 season.

The fact that Oden hasn’t played is certainly disappointing. But a more important question is how much it matters that Oden isn’t going to play anymore this year. And that question depends upon how well Oden has performed.

Oden averages less than 24 minutes per game. So his per game statistics (i.e. point scored, rebounds, etc…) don’t look very impressive. When we turn to per-minute performance – or per-48 minutes performance – Oden’s impact is far more striking. Read the rest at Huffington Post Sports

The primary purpose of this post was to highlight how well Oden had played this season (to see how good Oden has been, please read the post).  Certainly it’s possible that the Blazers could overcome this loss.  But it seems fairly likely that Portland’s season is not going to go quite as well as I thought earlier this year

And I should add – as others have noted – the Blazers franchise seems cursed.  First it was Bill Walton (see Is it Teamwork? A History Lesson).  Then we see the story of Sam Bowie (see A Little Bit of Hindsight Bias: Reviewing the Drafting of Sam Bowie).  And now we have the story of Greg Oden.  Although all of this is just a coincidence, one suspects that any highly touted center drafted by the Trail Blazers in the future is going to be more than just a bit concerned about starting his career in Portland.

– DJ

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Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.