5 Teams That Greg Oden Could Have An Impact Against In The Playoffs
5 Teams Greg Oden Could Impact
The Miami Heat may have just lost their third game in a row in the midst of these January doldrums, but this game won't be remembered for that by most fans. The return of Greg Oden to an NBA regular season game had, and still has, everyone’s attention. It’s been more than 1, 500 calendar days since Oden appeared in an NBA game, and in his brief stint on the court against the Washington Wizards, Oden racked up six points and two rebounds on 2-3 shooting.
If Oden is able to recover well from his brief playing time, this could equate to slowly inserting him into the rotation towards the latter end of the season to get him physically ready for the playoffs. The Heats' typical style of play doesn’t usually require your proto-typical center, which is a big reason why Chris Bosh has been playing center all season. Having Oden at the five allows Bosh to slide back to his natural position of power forward and allows him to attack the basket from mid-range and shoot jump shots.
The Heat signed Oden with one priority on their mind, to utilize him against the larger opposition in the NBA Playoffs, especially against one particular center out of the East, Roy Hibbert. Even if the Heat could squeeze 10-15 solid minutes from Oden per game during the playoffs, his size alone would have such an immediate impact in terms of rebounding and interior defense.
There are five teams in the playoffs that have the size to bother the Heat, but having Oden on their roster might just even the odds in terms of size. Here are five teams Oden could have an impact on in the playoffs.
5. Detroit Pistons
In the two games the Miami Heat have played against the Detroit Pistons this season, they have been out rebounded by over 20 boards. Pistons C Andre Drummond is one of the best young centers in the game, currently averaging double-double figures on a nightly basis. Having a 7-foot-1 center in Greg Oden to impede Drummond from blocking and rebounding is the only solution. Oden’s size alone will give Drummond issues in terms of boxing out and securing offensive rebounds.
4. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls currently have one of the best defensive centers in the game on their roster, and his name is Joakim Noah. Although the Bulls record is below .500 currently, they rank seventh in the league in rebounding and second in points allowed. These are all signs pointing to a very stout defensive team, with Noah anchoring the paint. The Greg Oden vs. Noah matchup would be one for the ages, with both centers going back and forth in terms of blocking and rebounding.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have kept the same frontcourt of Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka over the last few years because of one reason, the dominance on the glass that this pair of frontcourt players offers. The Thunder are THE top team in the league in rebounding, and are holding opponents to just 97.8 point per game, which is seventh in the league. With Greg Oden, the Heat have a 7-foot center that can help keep both Perkins and Ibaka from crowding the lane, allowing players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to have easier looks at the rim.
2. San Antonio Spurs
During last season's NBA Finals, the Miami Heat consistently struggled against the San Antonio Spurs frontcourt of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter. The Spurs' frontcourt hasn’t gotten any weaker this season defensively, allowing just 96.6 points per game, which is fifth in the league. These size issues are a major reason why the Heat went out and signed a center that hasn’t played in an NBA game in more than 1,500 days, until last night. Even in limited minutes, Greg Oden's size and shot blocking abilities could be enough of a deterrent for Duncan around the rim.
1. Indiana Pacers
If there is one name that strikes fear in the hearts of the Miami Heat’s frontcourt, that name is Roy Hibbert. The Indiana Pacers, and more specifically Hibbert, are the main reasons why the Heat went out and signed Greg Oden in the first place. The Heat have yet to find an answer as to how to contain Hibbert, especially down low. Hibbert typically averages near double digit numbers against the Heat almost every time the two squads matchup. Both Hibbert and David West have created an absolutely devastating frontcourt for the Pacers, and Oden seems to be the last potential player for the Heat, who could have a defensive impact against the All-Star center. The potential matchup between these two behemoths in the NBA Finals is going to be one for the ages. That is, if Oden can play for more than three to four minutes at a time.