Mr. Parrish, can I have a hall pass?
Earlier this week, David Thorpe of ESPN did a great break down of the rookies in the NBA this season, recommending they take some lessons from NBA veterans on how to improve their game. Included in Mr. Thorpe’s recommendations was a request that Greg Oden study Tim Duncan. Mr. Thorpe states:
“When Oden returns next season, we’ll all be reminded of just how athletic and big he is. But he’s still somewhat raw offensively. So learning the low-post game from the fundamental master, Duncan, would go a long way towards getting Oden closer to being the offensive force he’s destined to become. Oden should also mix in some Amare Stoudemire tapes, reminding him that sometimes he can just dominate people with his physical talent.”
Now the greatness of Tim Duncan is undisputed and many players could stand to learn a thing or two from him. But Duncan is not the ideal choice for Oden to model his game after. Tim Duncan’s game has always been predicated on the ability to out think his opponents. Duncan’s ability to dominate a game is and never has been predicated on his ability to physically dominate his opponents, but rather overcome them by applying the soundest fundamental basketball skills the NBA has seen in some time.
By all accounts Oden is a much more athletic and quick player than Duncan ever was. Today Oden looks to be a player who, at least for this time in his career, will physically dominate his opponents and use these skills to his advantage. Not to suggest Oden is an unsound or low IQ player, but that with his inexperience he will likely rely on his physical attributes. With that being said we at the BlazersOG would like to recommend an alternative choice for Mr. Oden to study this off-season: Robert Parrish.
For 21 seasons the Chief served as the prototype NBA big man who could be counted on to do everything well on all ends of the floor, night in and night out. What stands out about Parrish’s game is how versatile of an NBA center he was. All the usual weaknesses associated with centers were missing from Parrish.
Depending on his opponent Parrish could bang down low, getting key offensive and defensive rebounds while racking up inside baskets. However, just as easily he could move to a mid-range game were he would make his opponents move out to mid-court to guard him, thereby clearing out the middle for his teammates while consistently hitting the mid-range jumper. Many consider Parrish the greatest shooting big man to ever play the game and, coupled with his ability to block shots and finish fast breaks, Parrish stands as a idea model of a “do everything” NBA big man.
Like Parrish, Greg Oden looks to have the physical skills capable of being an imposing player on both ends of the court. If early play is any measure, Oden is capable of playing smothering defense with a special talent for blocking shots. On the offensive end, Oden is a masterful rebounder and has a raw but impressive back to the basket game while also being able to run the floor with gazelle like speed.
It may be too much to ever expect Oden to have the mid-range game of Parrish but that should not stop him from trying. Like Parrish, Oden is a long player that has the distinct advantage of being able to release the ball at a point few, if any, in the NBA could block. Aside from even looking like the Chief, Greg Oden would do well to head to the lab with a pen and a pad and play some old Celtics games so he can get ready for his own dynasty.