A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about Greg Oden and the impact he could make as a healthier player (he likely won’t be anything near what he would have been). I had suggested some possible teams that would benefit from signing Greg Oden since it was a low risk, high reward situation. The Miami Heat was the first team I brought up, and the Miami Heat it will be.
The one and only phrase that comes to mind about Miami’s signing of Greg Oden is ‘why not?’ Think about it; why on earth shouldn’t the Heat have signed a rehabilitated Greg Oden? The 2007 first pick will make just over a million dollars in his first year of a player option. He’ll make about $1.15 million his second year, if he exercises that player option. In today’s NBA, it’s pretty easy for any team to sign a player to a near-minimum or substantially cheap deal.
A big man in the middle, such as Oden, was exactly what Miami has been craving ever since the “big three” has come together. Not only does this greatly benefit the Heat, but this destination could very well be a turning point in Greg Oden’s career. Oden will not be expected to play 20-25 minutes every game. Those expectations would be too much to ask for. He’ll have to ween his way back into the game and start by playing about eight minutes per half. On top of that, Miami will likely allow Oden to sit out the second game of back-to-backs.
Being cautious is the first step for Miami and Greg Oden. The two sides will have to work together to do everything they can to make him a healthy, effective player again. Although Greg Oden joining the back-to-back champions is a jolly story, don’t get your hopes too high. One could only guess if Oden will be able to stay on his feet for very long. Injury-prone players to the extent of Oden are just unpredictable, so we’ll have to wait and see how this works out for Oden and the Heat.
Let’s look at the hypothetical situation of Oden being able to play a comfortable 60-plus games: Like I said before, Miami hasn’t had a real starting center on this championship team. A man with the build and skill of Greg Oden makes life a lot easier for an NBA team. Centers like that just don’t come around too often and that is the reason the Portland Trail Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first pick in the 2007 draft.
Although Oden won’t make the impact that the pre-NBA Greg Oden was expected to make, he does have the potential to be a big difference maker for this Miami Heat team. Miami’s roster is not very young. In fact, they are the definition of a veteran team. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be a year older and slower (LeBron won’t because he’s LeBron). Role players such as Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, and Shane Battier are toward the end of their careers. That’ll make Oden one of the youngest players on the team, in company with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
LeBron gives Miami unbelievable floor spacing and that is the reason that Miami has been the most dominant team for two years straight. Their floor spacing couldn’t possibly be better, right? Wrong. Now that they have Greg Oden, their floor spacing has the potential to be even better.
The thought of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the same team was pretty scary. The three envisioned championships for years to come and two of them have been delivered. With a rejuvenated Greg Oden, Pat Riley’s ultimate squad is even scarier. With the addition of Greg Oden, Miami’s title window may have just opened for a little bit longer.
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