• Greg Oden’s career was picked no. 1 in 2007 Draft by Portland Trail Blazers
  • Knee injuries kept him from embarking what could have been a solid NBA career out of Ohio State
  • Zion WIlliamson has been averaging 22 points per game after missing his first 44 games

Concerns about the knees of New Orleans Pelicans’ rookie Zion Williamson before he made his debut made a lot of noise, questioning how his body would hold on to his 285-pound frame.

His rookie season debut was delayed due to his knee injury. The former Duke star had arthroscopic knee surgery to address a torn meniscus just a day before the opening of the 2020 season. Per CBS reports, the 6-foot-6 highlight reel will be out for at most eight weeks to give time to his rehabilitation.

From an NBA first overall pick to another, Greg Oden’s rookie year was also hounded by injury as he was dealing with a knee injury of his own on what was supposed to be his debut season. Picked by the Portland Trail Blazers, the seven-foot Oden had microfracture surgery and that procedure forced him to sit out his rookie season.

An interview with the 32-year old Oden via HoopsHype discussed a somehow similar situation between him and Williamson given the fact that they both had knee surgeries to start their pro careers and the pressure on being the no. 1 pick.

Asked about what he would tell the Pelicans’ star rookie, the former Ohio State University standout gave nothing but positivity to the top pick of the most recent draft. “Have fun! Enjoy every minute of it, but also make sure that you’re understanding what’s going on. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of the situation that you’re in,” said Oden via HoopsHype transcript.

“Really, the biggest thing that I want to say to him is take advantage of this. But have fun,” insisted Oden. “Don’t take yourself or all of this noise too seriously. Enjoy it!”

After an impressive debut, Williamson is having a great run so far in his rookie campaign. In 12 games, he’s averaging 22.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 28 minutes of play this season. In tonight’s 115-101 win against the Golden State Warriors, he had 28 points and 11 rebounds to help the Pels score back-to-back victories.

“Realize that you put the work in and you deserve this and keep on working to get even better,” ended Oden, who only played three seasons due to recurring knee injuries.

Greg Oden
Greg Oden hasn't played in an NBA game since 2010. Reuters