Jun 11, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair (45) reacts during the fourth quarter of game three of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT

Miami Heat: Please Pass On Greg Oden!

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.

Thanks for Reading!

Tags: DeJuan Blair Greg Oden Miami Heat

  • Jason Klenetsky

    Every time you walk out the door you run the risk of getting hit by a car, tripping over a tree stump, having a piano fall on your head.
    What I’m saying is, everything is a risk. Blair has little to no upside. He is who he is. Unempressive. Oden can be dominant when healthy. I know that last sentence needs underlining under “when healthy”. He’s worth a shot. Of course it’s risky, we get that. But I for one want to know for sure that we aren’t making a mistake by NOT signing him. He’s high risk (3 + mil for a former #1 pick is worth mentioning) high reward where Blair is low risk low reward. Pat Riley hasn’t steered us wrong yet, I think he has earned our trust. The man is pretty intelligent and I for one have complete faith in his desicion making. Lets roll the dice and see what Oden can do. He’s still young enough that he can turn his career around and hopefully put his injury days behind him. Just my opinion.

    • Justen Rosenberg

      First off, appreciate the comment. I agree with you to an extent. Sure, everything is a risk if you look at it that way. I don’t think Blair is unimpressive. If you look at what he did throughout his career, it’s hard to say he hasnt been productive. He’s averaged near 6 and 4 throughout his career on the Spurs. He’s is a role player/average starter on a very good team, much like he could be on the Heat. It would be a very similar role. What if we sign Oden and halfway through the season his knees don’t hold up. Who is going to be the replacement? It would be hard to find quality. You want them to lean off a 33 and 35 year old? I don’t know, I’d rather them sign a 24 year old who has never had a serious injury. It’s always good to add healthy youth.But hey, this is why sports is great. It’s such an opinionated topic. Always opens the door for a good convo.

      • Alonso1227

        I agree that he’s a high risk, but he looked healthy in his workout.. And I think that he has great upside unlike Blair… Blair yes, is a good player but he’s an SUPER undersized C. That’s not what Miami needs… That’s why he was benched… Because his lack of size… That’s also the reason Pat Riley is looking to Greg, because he is a 7 footer and we need him..

  • Tim

    Dejaun Blair doesn’t have ACLs in either knee. He is on thin ice himself.

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