Will Greg Oden be the Next Juwan Howard for the Miami Heat?

By Shane Phillips
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The rebounding woes and low post troubles the Miami Heat endured last season are well documented. The defending champs were ranked last in the NBA for rebounding and lacked a dominant front court player.

Chris Bosh posted the lowest numbers since his rookie season and struggled to find his role throughout the playoffs. The Heat hope that Bosh will show improvement this season and the new acquisitions will help their front court.

One of those new acquisitions is former No. 1 pick Greg Oden.

Oden signed a two-year deal with Miami as he looks to revamp his career for a third time. The 7-footer has struggled with knee problems and has undergone several surgeries since joining the Association in 2007. His deal with the Heat guarantees him a spot on the 15-man roster unless he wants out.

As the defending champions continue the first week of training camp activities, the status or role of the former Ohio State Buckeye remains unknown.

Oden says that his knees feel great and he has some optimism that he could play in the preseason as well as the season opener against the Chicago Bulls, but that seems rather unlikely after Coach Erik Spoelstra‘s comments.

“There is no timetable,” Spoelstra said in regards to Oden. “If it happens in two months, if it happens in three months, who knows? We’re going in with an open mind. No expectations.”

If Spoelstra is right — which there is a good chance he is — we won’t see Oden in a game until December or January.

That does make some sense considering Oden has not played in the NBA since 2009 and his knees are a great concern. It will take some time for Oden to get back to game form and up to speed, but I am worried he will sink into the bench scene for the Heat.

I can envision Oden being the next Juwan Howard for Miami, a tall and lanky center in a suit, cheering and clapping. Yes, Howard had a much better and noteworthy career than Oden, but he did not earn a ring until he sat the bench for the Heat.

It is possible that Oden never clocks a single minute while in South Beach, and it is possible that he walks away with championship ring. That would be something, a rickety center, who has only played 82 games in his entire career, wins an NBA title with Miami.

It could happen.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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