Oden goes down in Game 1

October, 29, 2008
After he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Trail Blazers in 2007, Greg Oden's NBA debut was delayed a year by microfracture surgery that kept him out all of last season. And his luck wasn't much better on opening night Tuesday, as a bum right foot sent him to the showers in the first half against the Lakers. He went 0-for-4 with zero points, five rebounds and one block. We'll know more about his injury after his MRI, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

With an average draft position of 46.4 in ESPN leagues, Oden is counted on as a No. 1 center on most fantasy teams, and although he played just 13 minutes, a couple of concerns regarding Oden's value this season came to light. He went 0-for-2 from the free-throw line, after shooting less than 63 percent from the line at Ohio State (although, in fairness, he shot them left handed). He also had two turnovers, and while turnovers are harmless in standard leagues, it wasn't a reassuring performance considering it's an open question as to how much offense Oden will contribute. His two fouls also are worth noting; it's rare to see young big men not foul often, and with Joel Przybilla, Channing Frye and even Ike Diogu all capable big men on the roster, it's going to be interesting to see whether Oden can stay out of foul trouble and consistently cross the 30-minute mark in games.

It also was revealed Tuesday that Travis Outlaw will start at small forward for the Blazers after all, not Nicolas Batum. Outlaw played more than 35 minutes, second on the team behind Brandon Roy, and finished with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Asked for his justification for the move, coach Nate McMillan said, "There are a number of reasons, and one of them is Travis is at the point now that he needs the opportunity to show what he can do." That implied it might have been an audition of sorts; either way, it was comforting to see Batum play for just four minutes. Outlaw immediately becomes a strong free-agent grab, especially if he extends his range beyond the arc (two 3s Tuesday) after averaging just 0.5 3s per game last season.

Under the Boards

Mo Williams (13 points, two assists, four turnovers) had a miserable debut in Cleveland, but cut him some slack: Rajon Rondo might be the premier defensive point guard in the league. Williams also hit three of five 3-pointers after attempting 3.5 3s per game last season. He could see his attempts (and conversions) shoot up this season playing off LeBron James. … Forty-one minutes from Tyrus Thomas qualifies as big news, and fouling only three times was key to him garnering that playing time. But keep in mind that Andrew Bogut (four fouls in 26 minutes) was playing with a sore ankle and the Bucks have a soft interior. Either way, Thomas is worth a pickup. … That sound you hear is the air dissipating from Charlie Villanueva's fantasy bubble. Villanueva, a sleeper favorite in some circles, had three fouls in nine minutes the same day coach Scott Skiles flirted with starting Luc Mbah a Moute over him. Skiles' love for defensive players is well known, and Villanueva owners have to fear Mbah a Moute might eat into his minutes.

Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball and baseball analyst for ESPN.com.



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