Greg Oden and the Portland Trailblazers, excuse me, the Blazers featuring Greg Oden, will be in town Friday night.

Not that Oden’s been terrible, but Brandon Roy (21.1 ppg) and LaMarcus Aldridge (15.9 ppg) have been outstanding.

Obviously, a lot is expected out of Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. Probably too much. But as Kendrick Perkins said, “He wasn’t the No. 1 pick for nothing.”

Doc Rivers was complimentary of the big fella, pointing out that at as a center, you’re expected to contribute right away.

“You may lean on that position more,” he said. “When they throw a big on the floor they want you to be a defensive stopper now. (It’s), ‘OK, go and make sure no one scores. Get all the rebounds. You’re still trying to figure out how to play and all that. I think when a big is drafted high like that, I think teams rely on that position more immediately.”

Great centers usually dominate as rookies. Oden is averaging 8.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and about 22 minutes per game.

Here’s an unscientific sampling:

Shaquille O’Neal (23.4 ppg, 13.9 rpg)
Wilt Chamberlain (37.6 ppg, 27.0 rpg — OK that’s freakish)
Hakeem Olajuwon (20.6 ppg, 11.9 rpg)
David Robinson (24.3 ppg, 12.0 rpg)
George Mikan (28.3 ppg, ? rpg)
Ralph Sampson (21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg)
Bill Russell (14.7 ppg, 19.6 rpg)
Kareem Abdul-jabbar (28.8 ppg, 14.5)
Moses Malone (18.8 ppg, 14.6 rpg)*
Willis Reed (19.5 ppg, 14.7 rpg)
Eric Montross (10.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Bill Walton (12.8 ppg, 12.6 rpg)
Robert Parish (9.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
Yao Ming (13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg)
Patrick Ewing (20.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)

Couple things to point out.

Parish was with Golden State. Clearly hadn’t hit his stride yet. Four years later he was averaging 19 and 9 for Boston.

Walton only played 35 games as a rookie. His injury problems had already begun.

Russell “only” averaged 14.7 points a game. Obviously we all know he wasn’t a scoring machine.

Gotta love Montross. Made me want to have a wiffle in the fourth grade.

After I wake up tomorrow, I’ll post a piece I wrote on Oden. Thad Matta, the Ohio State coach, was pretty insightful.

‘Til morning…

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