The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the six teams that reportedly are still in the running for the services of former number one overall pick Greg Oden. Oden hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2009-2010 season after a slew of knee injuries derailed his career. However, he is fully rehabbed, looking better than ever in his workouts and is ready for a return to the league.
Though the Pelicans may not be a contender and thus may not be at the top of the list for Oden, they have to be an intriguing option for the center. After all, playing with a slew of young, talented players like Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis is definitely an enticing proposition.
If Oden were to sign with the Pelicans, though, one has to wonder what his role would be with the team. There has been a lot of talk about Davis potentially starting at the five or possibly new addition Greg Stiemsma in that position for limited minutes and then bringing Anderson off of the bench. However, Oden being on the roster might mean that he would grab the starting role.
There’s no doubt that Oden has the talent to be a starting center in this league. Over his 82 games played in his career, Oden has averaged 15.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes while also shooting 57.7 percent from the field. If he’s healthy, Oden has the strength and ability to succeed.
The big issue with the possibility of Oden starting is a bit troublesome because of his injury history, though. Playing him a ton of minutes only increases the risk that he will re-injure his knees and not be able to contribute at the level he’s capable of. Given that, the Pelicans would have to be careful with Oden if he signs there.
In the end, the best decision the Pelicans could make regarding Oden if he were to land on their roster would be to start him, but still limit his minutes and play Davis at the five and Anderson at the four for the majority of the game. Oden would give the Pelicans a different look that would help them be more successful, so they would need to find a way to get him solid minutes, but they also would have to be extremely cautious.