As the only unbeaten team left in the playoffs, the Miami Heat are readying themselves for a four-game series sweep against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night. The defending champs have arguably the healthiest roster they have ever had entering the playoffs, with several key players such as Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen and others finally reaching near 100 percent after being out key stretches of the season.
The one player that was brought in specifically for these 2014 NBA Playoffs might not even see any playing time, and that is Greg Oden. Specific players that Oden was brought in to potentially defend against in the playoffs might not even make it past their first round series. Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls are down 3-1 in their series while Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers are tied 2-2 in theirs.
The matchups will dictate the lineups that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra utilizes, but considering who the Heat will potentially play in the next two rounds, it is unlikely for Oden to see minutes outside of garbage time in a blowout game.
While playing an average of nine minutes a game for the Heat this season, Oden only averaged 2.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6 blocks while on the court. Due to the crippling knee injuries and surgeries that Oden has faced over the last five years, he gets a “pseudo” pass for his lackluster averages. With players like Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem playing at a much higher level in the frontcourt though, why insert a player into the lineup just based on size?
Even with his 7-foot frame, Oden was the worst shot blocker in the frontcourt on the Heat’s roster. Rashard Lewis, who averaged around the same amount of minutes per game, had higher rebounding and blocking averages than Oden. That is a telltale sign that Oden just doesn’t fit the system the Heat currently use.
The Oden experiment seems to have failed in Miami, and this is absolutely apparent by Spoelstra’s banishment of Oden to the far end of the bench. It would take a colossal injury to either Andersen or Haslem for Oden to receive even a few minutes in these playoffs. Oden is still extremely slow-footed, and the NBA Playoffs are on the complete opposite end of that spectrum.
The Heat have realized this, and that is why Oden won’t see any playing time during the 2014 NBA Playoffs.