Oden logs best game as a pro

January, 20, 2009
Greg OdenSam Forencich/NBAE/Getty ImagesGreg Oden went to work on Dan Gadzuric and the Bucks Monday.
I am coming to you live at 3:34 a.m. ET from an office in downtown Washington, D.C., where I am camping out in anticipation of today's inaugural festivities. Not a lot of amenities, but I can do all the Xeroxing I want.

If you ever do decide to make to our fair capital for the Inauguration, I can offer only one tip: Do not drive around in a car you borrowed from your father-in-law that is still drenched in "McCain-Palin" bumper stickers. Trust me, the 46 percent of the country that voted for McCain is nowhere to be seen within the borders of the District of Columbia.

I finished the rest of my column 23 minutes ago, but have been sitting here contemplating what 10 days ago would have seemed inconceivable.

I may pick up Greg Oden.

You should never let sheer physical exhaustion govern your fantasy decisions, but I need a center, and it's down to Oden or Andray Blatche. Both had huge games Tuesday; Blatche went for 22 points, 9 rebounds and a block, while Oden had a career-high 24 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Both performances also carry an asterisk; Blatche was playing against the Warriors, while Oden was playing against Dan Gadzuric.

Blatche doesn't carry an inordinate amount of mystery. Pencil him in for 10 points, 8 rebounds and a block and hope he curbs his thirst for Washington nightlife.

But Oden is another story.

Right now, it's popular to proclaim that "I always knew Oden wouldn't pan out." In my mind, I've always felt he's somewhere between Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard; very good, with a chance of being great if he stays healthy. He's been nothing short of a bust so far in fantasy, but his name value has led to him still being owned in 88.4 percent of all leagues.

To me, his nadir was last week, when he scored only two points against the Nets and found himself totally outperformed by Brook Lopez. Would I rather have Lopez? You bet, but someone picked him up while I was writing that you should run out and pick him up. Grrr!

Under the Boards

Jason Kidd, Nets: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 6-of-8 3-pointers at Philadelphia.
Greg Oden, Trail Blazers: 24 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, only 2 personal fouls in 35 minutes against Milwaukee.
J.R. Smith, Nuggets: 24 points, 7 rebounds, five 3-pointers at the Rockets.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs: 6 points on 1-for-11 shooting against the Nuggets.
Jason Richardson, Suns: 8 points, 3 rebounds, no 3-pointers, no assists at Boston.
Amare Stoudemire, Suns: 3 points (0-7 FG), 1 rebound, 4 turnovers against the Celtics.

Eric Gordon, responding to my picking him up in the ESPN Writers' League, celebrated by hitting three 3s and ringing up 25 points against the Timberwolves. And to think, I was initially irked Mardy Collins was unavailable. … Scott Skiles was my favorite guard in the history of NBA Jam, but as a coach, he's going to be remain in Don Nelson territory until he figures out that starting Charlie Villanueva is a win-win. It showcases him for a trade and helps my fantasy team. What's extra nice is that Charlie V was enormously productive (23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal) despite chucking six 3-point attempts (and predictably making only one). … I'm normally not the world's biggest Lou Williams fan, if only because he has a tendency to score and do nothing else. But Williams is averaging more than five assists a game in 2009, which is two above his season average. … Peja Stojakovic is strictly a 3-point specialist at this juncture in his career, but he had a vintage explosion (26 points, five 3s) versus the offensively accommodating Pacers. … Danilo Gallinari announced his presence on the fantasy radar, prying time away from Wilson Chandler on his way to 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. You have to keep in mind the Knicks used a top-10 pick on Gallinari and will seek to legitimate their faith in him by getting him involved ASAP. … The Dr. Jekyll side of Tyrus Thomas showed up against the Knicks, as he swatted three shots and scored 19 points. … There was a Josh Howard sighting (10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) as he returned from his latest injury and logged 34 minutes. … Joakim Noah may have snared 18 rebounds, but I beseech you Bulls fans not to run out and snare Noah. You're looking at a momentary blip until Drew Gooden comes back from his various maladies. … For no good reason whatsoever, I've always been convinced that given minutes, Craig Smith could be a fantasy factor. Well, that's never going to happen now that Kevin Love is in town, but Smith did drop 20 points and 9 rebounds on the Clippers on Monday afternoon. … Randy Foye scored 17 points in the same game. If I weren't so sick of being jerked around by Foye, I'd tell you to keep an eye on him. … Hakim Warrick's production in the past five games (14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds) has been eerily Marvin Williams-esque. Good news for Warrick, not so hot for Williams. … Steve Novak, who looks conspicuously like the guy who works the flavored pretzel concession at Lakers games, scored a career-high (and I think it'll stand for the rest of his career) 18 points. He also drained three 3s, laying claim to the coveted "poor man's Chris Quinn" label. … Not that it has any real effect on his overall production, but it will be interesting to those of us who don't get out much if Kobe Bryant's newest finger injury (he dislocated his right ring finger Tuesday) affects his field goal percentage one bit. I'm guessing it doesn't.

John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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