In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, specifically the Eastern Conference Finals, the Indiana Pacers gave the defending champion Miami Heat all that they could ask for, taking the series to seven games. The Pacers, with their big, strong and physical style of play were able to disrupt what the Heat like to do. In fact, it seemed like the Pacers had built a team specifically designed to cause Miami problems.
However, the Pacers may have lost their biggest advantage against the Heat. The Pacers’ size with guys like Roy Hibbert really caused guys like Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen issues because they couldn’t handle his strength and size in the post. Now the Heat have Greg Oden to combat that approach by the Pacers.
Obviously there are concerns about Oden’s health considering that he’s played in just 82 games over two years in the league and hasn’t been in the NBA since the 2009-2010 season due to recurring knee injuries. There is always a chance that he could re-injure those knees and not really have an impact on the Heat at all.
Let’s assume, for now at least, that Oden remains healthy, though. Oden is a strong, legitimate seven-footer that has the ability to throw his weight around in the post on both ends of the floor and on the boards. That sort of negates the huge impact that Hibbert has on Pacers, Heat matchups because now Miami has someone that legitimately can matchup with Hibbert.
Before we make any assumptions about what Oden means for the Heat, we really need to see what he looks like on the floor and if he can actually stay on the floor. However, it seems that if he’s healthy the Pacers are going to have to get creative if they want to find advantages in their matchup with the Heat.