With former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden planning on returning to the court for the 2013-2014’ season, you have to wonder who will sign him and how he will perform. It is crazy to think that Oden could very well be one of the best centers in the game today if he didn’t have chronic problems with his knees. If you take a look back at who was drafted after Oden, you would have to think that the Portland Trail Blazers made a bit of a mistake. The next three picks after Oden were Kevin Durant, who is arguably one of the best players in the league, Al Horford and Mike Conley. Sure, the Trail Blazers could have never guessed that Oden was going to have such problems with his knees, so you can’t blame them for taking him.
Fast forward a couple of years and Oden quickly developed a knack for getting injured. Despite being prone to injury, Oden was one of the better big man when healthy. In his first and only two seasons in a NBA uniform, Oden averaged a near double-double, while recording 1.4 blocks per game.
Unfortunately, Oden was never able to pan out to be the NBA star that Portland was hoping he would be. After playing just two seasons with the Trail Blazers, Oden’s NBA career was over. Now it’s 2013 and despite not playing in a NBA game since the 2009-2010’ season, Oden is looking to return to the court, in hopes of salvaging what once was a promising career. Even though he hasn’t played in a few years and has chronic knee injuries, Oden has been receiving interest from many teams due to the high demand of having a big man. With the list of teams interested in Oden’s services being quite large, one team that is on the list is the back-to-back champions, the Miami Heat.
When team president Pat Riley put this team together three years ago, the team had one missing piece, the center position. Although it took two and a half years, the Miami Heat had finally found someone to anchor the defense in the post, Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Even though you can never have too much depth in this league, I think that the Miami Heat should avoid signing Oden to a contract and opt to sign a different big man.
With Juwan Howard and Mike Miller’s spot currently unfilled, the Heat can go out and sign another two players. Riley recently said that he would like to add another wing player to replace Miller. With the Heat having the rights to James Ennis, the team could decide to keep him around or sign a summer leaguer such as D.J. Kennedy or James Nunnally. That leaves one more spot open on the roster. A name that stands out to me is DeJuan Blair.
Blair, who has spent the last four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, has put together some impressive numbers throughout his career. Throughout his career, Blair has split time as a starter and a bench player. During his four year tenure with the Spurs, Blair has averaged 7.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Despite once being the Spurs starter for a period of time, due to the emergence of Tiago Splitter and the signing of Boris Diaw, Blair has seen his playing time diminish. With his role decreasing on the Spurs, Blair has shown his displeasure with the team.
Unlike Oden, Blair doesn’t have severe knee injury complications. Blair, who is only 24, still has MANY years left in him. Also, unlike Oden, you know what you are going to get with Blair. With key role players such as Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen starting to get up there in age, you would have to think that the Heat’s front office would love to sign a young forward with great potential. In my opinion, I think Blair would be a great fit on this Heat team. His ability to get rebounds and play above average defense is exactly what this Heat team needs. Sure, you could easily argue that Oden has good potential as well, however, you never know what you’re going to get with Oden as his proneness to injury dates back all the way since his high school career.
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