Sunday, August 18, 2013
Greg Oden's Impact on the Miami Heat
Written by David Verjano
After over a year of speculation, the rumors turned into reality; Greg Oden is now a member of the Miami Heat. The signing puts Miami in a unique position of having five players that were drafted Top 5 into The Association.
But Oden's career thus far has not matched the value of being selected #1 overall in 2007. Playing just 82 games in the last six years basically categorizes him as a "Bust" with a capital B.
However, Oden has a legitimate opportunity to revive his career and salvage a portion of his legacy in the NBA. Taking the past two years to rehab and recover from his injury plagued past, the big man faces his best chance to contribute in a consistent and impactful way with Miami.
Take a step back to 2012, when Miami won its first title in the Big 3 era. Sitting at the end of that bench was another big body who's career hadn't quite amounted to expectations. His name: Eddy Curry. With virtually no contribution from Curry, Miami still became champions.
Fast forward back to today and you'll see a similar situation with Oden. His pressure will be slim to none on a roster that was still championship-caliber before he signed on the dotted line. The Heat already have their superstar in LeBron James - Oden does not have to be that guy. In essence, Oden is a project player that is low-risk, high-reward for Miami.
His services will only truly be needed in the playoffs, in the case that Miami faces teams with large, physical front courts (e.g., Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, etc). With or without him, Miami can still contend.
But with just a fraction of the production he's capable of, the Heat could become an unstoppable force en route to a legendary Three-Peat.
Side Note: The term "Three-Peat" is trademarked by none other than the Godfather himself, Pat Riley.
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