When news broke that Greg Oden—former No. 1 overall pick of the Portland Trailblazers—is eying a return to the NBA for the 2013-2014 season, I chuckled. We’re talking about a guy who has not played a game in the NBA since 2009, and who has only played 82 games since entering the league in 2007. He missed his entire rookie season, nearly all of his third season, the next two seasons and will miss all of this season. At what point does the league give up on this guy?
I do feel sorry for him. He had so much potential and in the times he did play healthy, he played well and was a dominant defender. Having said that, he clearly cannot stay healthy and I don’t know how a team can justify paying him when he’s due for an injury every single year. His knees have been ravished by several injuries and surgeries, and I’m not sure we’ll ever get to see the full potential he showed while playing at Ohio State.
I wasn’t at all surprised to see the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks inquired about Oden. Any time there is a center, no matter how talented or not talented they are, these two teams come to the forefront of rumors for said player. Especially the Heat. I feel like someone somewhere probably linked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to a comeback with the Heat.
In all seriousness, however, several more teams have been linked to Oden’s return. The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs have now inquired about the center. I could see him being a fit with the Celtics and Spurs. They both have defensive minded coaches and Oden could come in to backup older veterans Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, respectively.
The Cavs should stay away. They have solid depth in the front court, but not only that they have young talent who need minutes. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller are both young, early draft picks from the past two drafts and are developing into a solid one-two punch as the starting big men with Anderson Varajeo out.
I like the idea of Oden getting another shot, so long as he’s not asking teams to break the bank when he’s still got a lot to prove.