Quantcast 2013 NBA: Greg Oden Return


Greg Oden’s return: What it means to the Miami Heat


Greg Oden is back. After four miserable seasons in Portland, a broken kneecap, multiple microfracture knee surgeries, and a ton of criticism, the first pick of the 2007 NBA draft is back on the basketball court. He was signed by the Miami Heat over the summer, and after months of preparation with the Heat medical and training staff, Oden made his debut against the Washington Wizards in D.C.

Oden was the lone bright spot for the Heat, who were down by 34 at one point and ended up losing the game 114-97.  This game will be recorded as a Miami loss, but that's not what it is to Heat fans. For Heat fans, this was a great game, solely because of the eight extremely productive minutes that Oden played. Moments after checking into the game, Oden snatched a Dwyane Wade miss away from Marcin Gortat, gathered himself, and rose back up for a dunk on his way to 6 points and 2 rebounds. He even started the second half in place of Shane Battier. In addition to the stats, Oden was a force on the defensive end, altering shots and just being the big man inside that Miami has lacked.

The Heat have been struggling lately. Other than Oden, the headlines about the team cover whether or not their three game losing streak is a cause for concern. This is comical. Even without Oden, the Heat are still a lock to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Not that Oden will play substantial minutes any time soon, but come playoff time, a healthy Heat team with Oden playing, say, 20-25 minutes per game, is the favorite in my book to bring home a third straight championship. This little losing streak doesn't worry me in the least. Shane Battier saw his first action in a couple of weeks last night. Chris Andersen has been in and out. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers has been out. The Heat aren't at full strength right now.

But back to Oden. Assuming he stays healthy and works his way into better game shape, he fixes (or at least provides tremendous relief for) Miami's problems. You can knock the Miami Heat for two things: they are a weak rebounding team and they have no inside game, especially when Birdman isn't playing. Oden does both of those things very well. If those problems are fixed, or at least improved, the Heat become that much stronger. That much more dangerous. They become a team that can contend down low with Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers.

So if I'm a part of any other team in the NBA right now, I am terrified of the Miami Heat. It doesn't matter that they got blown out by the Wizards, or that they've lost three in a row, or that Dwyane Wade has bad knees and can't play in every game, because when the playoffs roll around, if this team is healthy, no one is going to beat them.




By: Jason Dobkin
Pro Basketball Fans Writer


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