The Miami Heat have lived up to the hype and expectations that they put on themselves. After adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade in the summer of 2010, the Heat have made it to three consecutive NBA Finals and are now back-to-back NBA Champions.
However, with their competition in the Eastern Conference improving this off-season, the Heat aren’t going to do themselves any favors by standing pat in free agency. They are likely going to need to make a few key additions, likely by adding another wing player and, ideally, by bringing in a big man.
One of the big men that is on the Heat’s radar and, according to Fox Sports’ Chris Tomasson, has interest in potentially coming to Miami as well, is former number one overall draft pick, Greg Oden.
Oden hasn’t played in the league since the 2009-2010 season when a knee injury, a common theme in his short career, ended his season early. Oden has since had a number of knee surgeries and has been recovering from the injuries and surgeries while also getting in what has been reported as the best shape of his life.
In his 82 games played in his NBA career, Oden averaged 22.1 minutes per game, but was productive in his limited time on the floor. For his career he has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game and shot 57.7 percent from the floor.
There’s a reason that Oden was the number one overall pick in 2007. He’s a seven-footer with athleticism, strength, length and a great deal of skill. When healthy, he truly looks every bit the part of a first overall pick.
In regards to how he would fit with the Heat, Oden would give Miami a skilled true center, something they haven’t had over their two championship seasons. It would allow the Heat’s lineup more versatility, namely the ability to play big if their small-ball lineup isn’t working as effectively as they would like it to.
One of the reasons that would be huge for Miami is in terms of how they match up with the Indiana Pacers. In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the Pacers gave the Heat everything they could handle, taking the series to seven games. One of the ways that Indiana was able to do so was by exploiting their size advantage by utilizing Roy Hibbert in the post against Miami’s undersized lineups.
With the addition of Oden, the Heat would have an answer to Hibbert. Oden would be able to have his minutes monitored with Miami’s small-ball lineups and with Chris Andersen being re-signed, but would also be put in a position where he has the chance to succeed in his return to the NBA.
Arguably the biggest positive in the Heat signing Oden would be the fact that he’s not necessarily a vital part to what the defending champs are trying to do. That means if Oden’s health problems resurface next season, Miami won’t be devastated by that loss. They can simply go back to doing what took them to two championships in the past two seasons.
There’s definitely a competition for Oden on the free-agent market right now with several other franchises that would be good fits for Oden. However, in terms of which team Oden would fit the best in, it’s hard to argue that he would help any team more than he would the Heat.