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#pounditMonday, September 20, 2021

Kevin Durant defends Greg Oden, calls bust talk ‘nonsense’

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Most people would agree that former No. 1 pick Greg Oden qualifies as a major NBA draft bust. The man selected immediately after him is not one of them.

Kevin Durant, who famously went No. 2 in the same 2007 draft, very firmly believes that Oden wasn’t a bust, as his failures were due to circumstances largely beyond his control.

“Nonsense. That’s nonsense,” Durant told ESPN’s Chris Hayes Sunday night. “In order for you to be a bust, you have to actually play and show people that you progressed as a player. He didn’t get a chance to.”

Durant remembers when Oden was healthy enough to play, and he strongly believes that the skills he had were plenty good enough to disqualify him from the bust conversation.

“He didn’t want to get hurt. That was the last thing he wanted to do was to get hurt,” Durant added. “That wasn’t even in the cards, and he got injured and that was unfortunate. But when he did play, he was a force. Protecting the paint. They were so good with him and LaMarcus [Aldridge] down low, with Brandon Roy [and] Andre Miller at the time. They had a nice team. So he was a big part of that.

“He’s not a bust. He just didn’t play a long time because of injuries, and that’s just what it is.”

Unfortunately, most people do not make the distinction between a failed career that the player was responsible and one that his body just couldn’t handle. Oden is even one of them. It may not have been all his doing, but there’s no denying that Oden will be appearing near the top of lists of famous draft busts for years to come.

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