ESPN released a list of the 25 players in professional sports history who for a number of reasons whether injuries, on or off the field or court, caved to the pressures that were somewhat out of their control.
You should probably not read the rest of this article if you’re a Blazers fan.
The top two players on the “What Could Have Been” list were NBA draft busts (I feel bad even typing it) Greg Oden and Sam Bowie.
Oden was the number one pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, ahead of Kevin Durant, yet was never able to bank on his massive potential to be the next big great man in the NBA. Instead Oden suffered through a slew of knee injuries that caused him to only play 105 NBA games during three seasons of his 7 year NBA career, averaging only 8 points and 6 rebounds in less than 20 minutes per game.
Sam Bowie was the No. 2 pick of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, ahead of Michael Jordan. He dealt with a litany of foot, ankle and knee issues and managed to carve out a decent career as a solid starting caliber big man for the Nets before retiring as a Los Angeles Laker in 1995.
Pretty crazy to think that a panel of over 60 sportswriters and journalist with hundreds of combined years covering sports have determined the two saddest what if stories were both NBA players drafted by the same franchise with eerily similar stories.
One can only hope there is not another legendary what could have been player in the 2016 NBA Draft, and that the Blazers should forever stick to drafting point guards or wing players with their high draft picks for the remainder of their existence as an NBA franchise.