What a Healthy Greg Oden Means for Miami Heat

Dec 16, 2011; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trailblazers center Greg Oden (52) poses for a photo during media day at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

If there has ever been back-to-back champions in the NBA that still face doubters, criticism, and most of all hatred, it is the Miami Heat during the “Big Three” era. After losing in the NBA Finals during their first season with the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Heat have now rattled off two consecutive NBA Championships.

Despite winning it all a season ago, Pat Riley’s team still has its doubters that it can return as champions once more, making it three consecutive.

The missing piece? According to Hall of Famer and Heat scout Tim Hardaway, that is Greg Oden. Reports say that Oden is looking lean and healthy. If that is the case, Hardaway may be right.

Miami’s offense relies on turning defense into offense and getting easy looks in transition with their world-class athletes. The biggest thing on most team’s game plan when facing the Heat is limiting live-ball turnovers. Allowing Miami to get steals, loose balls, and blocked shots is a recipe for disaster if you are the opposing team.

Now add a healthy Greg Oden to the mix.

One of the biggest deficiencies of last year’s Miami Heat was their lack of size. Although the acquisition of Chris Andersen mid-season masked that issue to an extent, it would suit them well to add another big man, especially one that may allow “Birdman” to come off the bench.

Oden’s shot-blocking prowess will not only bolster the team’s interior defense, but it could potentially jump-start their transition offense. The addition of the former No.1 pick would also allow Chris Bosh to return to his natural power forward position and focus more on his offensive game rather than trying to be a shot blocker, something he has not been over the course of his career.

The former Ohio State Buckeye is expected to make his decision on where to begin his NBA comeback at in the near future, and this is no pipe dream for Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, LeBron James and company. According to reports, Oden has narrowed his decision down to either Miami or the New Orleans Pelicans.

Topics: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Greg Oden, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA, Pat Riley

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