Can Greg Oden Be a Force Down The Stretch For Miami Heat?

By Shane Phillips
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat have been very hush hush over center Greg Oden this season. As the 7-footer continues his comeback trail after being removed from the NBA for over four years, the defending champions have kept each move and decision quiet. Until last week, that is, when Oden made his regular season debut scoring six points along with two rebounds in eight minutes. It was a big step forward for both the Heat and Oden who both hope that Oden will become a regular force in the rotation.

However, not much information has been given in regards to Spoelstra’s plan for Oden. Obviously they want the former No. 1 pick to play a substantial role in the frontcourt, but is that possible? I mean, I can’t be the only one who cringes with every Oden stride down court, winces with every leap for a rebound and suffers a minor heart attack when Oden challenges a shot. The thought of blowing out a knee at any second must be ripe in the mind of both Oden and Miami which is mainly responsible for the ultra-cautious approach Pat Riley and Spoelstra have implemented for the center.

With three games now played in and 19 minutes recorded there is no doubt that Oden is progressing, but Miami should not invest too much. There is a great chance that Oden’s career will end the next time he steps foot onto the court or he could continue to rise and become a factor. The Heat must improve their frontcourt before entering the playoffs, but I am not convinced Oden is the answer. It is possible that he turns into the savior and x-factor for the champs, but I can’t get the thought of Oden being carried off the court out of the back of my head. I want Oden to succeed and be the center that Miami needs, but I would not bet my life savings on him.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at

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