Tag Archives: Heat

How Greg Oden can Impact the Heat

 By: Rahul

Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Yesterday, the Miami Heat announced that they had signed Greg Oden, former Trail Blazer and overall #1 draft pick in 2007, to a two year contract to the league minimum, approximately worth 1 million the first year and 1.1 million with a player option for the second year. Some people consider this a bad move by the Heat because Oden has not played a game since the 2009-2010 season due to his knee injuries, causing him to have microfracture surgeries on both knees. However, here are three reasons how Oden is a great candidate to help the Heat:

1. Efficiency

Yes, we know that Greg Oden has serious knee problems that have limited him to playing 82 games since he got drafted back in 2007. But, let us discard that for a moment and look over his performance for the games that he did play. Oden maintained an 18.1 PER during the 2008-09 season and jumped to a 23.1 PER during the 2009-10 season. For those unfamiliar with PER (Player Efficiency Rating), it is a measurement of per minute production that is standardized in such a way that the league average is 15 (basketball-reference.com). Although Oden has missed many games, he has proven that he can be an above average, efficient basketball player. Even though the Heat will start out by giving him limited minutes during the next year, he will serve as a valuable addition to their bench.

Courtesy of Top Buzz
Courtesy of Top Buzz

2. Rebounding

This is the main worry of Heat fans. Although the Heat have arguably the best defense in the league and plenty of offensive support from the Big 3, nothing frustrates Heat fans more than when they give up second chance opportunities due to the lack of rebounds and then cannot give themselves any second chances when they are on offense. Oden averaged a 15.7% ORB (Offensive rebound rate) during the games he played from 2008-10. For those who are not familiar, the offensive rebound rate is an estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor. If one was to compare Oden’s career rate to all centers during the 2012-2013 season, Oden would be the 2nd highest, above Roy Hibbert, Tyson Chandler, and Andre Drummond before falling to Anderson Varejao with a 16.9% ORB, the highest in the NBA this past year. However, one may say that players like Hibbert and Chandler played over 28 minutes a game this season, while Oden averaged only 22 minutes a game through his two seasons. While this is true, Oden still played more minutes and averaged a better ORB in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 then Andre Drummond, Enes Kanter, and Kosta Koufos during the 2012-13 season. If Oden manages to come back as strong as he played before, then he will become a key component to the Miami Heat.

Greg Oden Courtesy of NBC Sports
Courtesy of NBC Sports

3. Motivation

A player’s mentality can define their performance throughout the whole season. According to Mark Stein of ESPN, the Heat had been trying to recruit Oden since before the end of the last season. Oden himself didn’t think a comeback was possible until October. Even after all the injuries and expectations Oden has blown, the fact that the Heat, a championship team, found him as a “useful piece to add to their mix,” really strengthened Oden’s desire to come back and play with the Heat. Stein also acknowledged that the Heat will work him back slowly into the game, loosening his expectations and allowing him to ease back into becoming a fairly dominant center. Oden will not be making a big impact right away, but he will be guided into becoming a more and more useful addition to the current NBA champions, the Miami Heat.

The fact that the Miami Heat are getting a newly motivated Greg Oden, who was 6th in field goal percentage, tied for 11th in blocks, 11th in rebounds, and 13th in PPG among centers during the 2008-09 season, as a key bench option strikes as a good solution to Miami’s rebounding worries, while providing an efficient offensive boost and a shot blocking presence. One can see that it was a pretty good offseason move, especially while only having to pay a minimum contract. This is key because the Heat don’t have to be concerned about making too big of an investment on an injury riddled former lottery pick. His yearly salary constitutes a very small fraction of the team’s payroll, which stands at $79,400,797 for next season.

Signing Grade: A-

Sources: ESPN and basketball-reference.com

Heat Three-Peat?

By: Prad, THE New York Knicks Fan

The Heat were supposed to win “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” championships together when the Big Three came together. Obviously, utter disappointment from the miami fan base was inevitable with a ridiculous promise like that from LeBron. James surely regrets that moment, but he thought that the Big Three was too amazing to fail. However, they may actually be able to match the number in their name with the number of rings they win consecutively as a unit by next year.

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Courtesy of Slate

Chris Bosh and LeBron lead the team in having the most guaranteed money and the most lucrative contracts. Both will make $19,067,500 next season and are guaranteed $57,202,500 in their respective contracts. Yet, 99.9% of the world would argue that the four time MVP is actually worth the money if not underpaid by the Heat. But, he is the one who decided to take a pay cut to join the Big Three in Miami. The Miami Heat will keep the Big Three as is, even though Bosh is severely overpaid. He averaged the lowest rebounds per game of his career, lowest scoring output since his rookie season, decided to take three pointers in the Eastern Conference Finals instead of battling the already advantaged Pacers interior, and couldn’t seem to stop Tim Duncan from playing like he was ten years younger. So, this begs the question: why haven’t the Heat done anything about him? There’s a simple answer: no team in the league is willing to trade up for Bosh and take that financial burden upon themselves.

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Courtesy of ESPN

The Heat’s reserves have played a critical role in their last two championship runs. Mike Miller’s three point barrage in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals helped the Heat win the title. He drilled seven three pointers in that game to set a record for a reserve in the NBA Finals. This years NBA Finals were full of strong play from Miami’s bench. Ray Allen’s three with 5.2 seconds remaining in Game 6 to force overtime will go down as one of the greatest shots in NBA Finals history. Underachieving Shane Battier put on a show for NBA fans throughout the country when he shot 6 of 8 from three point land in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. His 18 points picked up the slack for Chris Bosh’s poor offensive output when he tallied zero points in Game 7. Miami has everybody locked up to play next season except Ray Allen, James Jones, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and Rashard Lewis, who all have reasonable player options except Andersen from Lewis’ $1,399,507 to Allen’s $3,229,050 and are all expected to accept their options. The expectation is that the Heat would be happy to re-sign Andersen who provides much energy for the team as well as the ability to match up against NBA big men and has much shot-blocking prowess.

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Courtesy of Sun-Sentinel

In most cases of a potential repeat winner, the question is asked: What off-season acquisitions or moves would the team need to make in order to defend their title? Here, the answer is clear: attempt to keep all of the reserve players that surrounded the Big Three from this season.

Are the Heat really that dominant in the NBA? Despite them winning back-to-back titles, the Miami Heat had to play back-to-back seven game series to repeat. They also had a grinding seven game series against the Boston Celtics during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Still, the Heat seem to take full advantage of their home court advantage during these seven game series. The Eastern Conference seemed to be a playground for the Heat with the exception of the Indiana Pacers. The Indiana Pacers lost their top scorer from the previous season when Danny Granger went down with an injury at the beginning of the season. With their strong interior presence and good ability to beat Miami’s bigs, the young Pacers are a force to be reckoned with for years to come. This years #2 seed in the east, the Knicks, could possibly be swept by the Heat. No matter how good Carmelo Anthony is, he stands no chance when matching up against the best basketball player in the league in LeBron James.  Only time will tell whether the Chicago Bulls can stand up to the Heat and make a run against them with a healthy Derrick Rose. The once promising Brooklyn Nets suffered a first round exit at the hands of the Rose-less Chicago Bulls.

The Western Conference is packed with more legitimate contenders for the title. The current Western Conference Champs, the San Antonio Spurs, forced the Heat into a tough series that saw the Spurs 5.2 seconds away from their fifth championship. They keep on aging and annually they keep on becoming the surprise story of the year. However, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker may be able to make another deep run in the playoffs next year. Tim Duncan would be lucky to appear next year as he did this year. Manu Ginobili spewed inconsistency throughout the season and can’t make any significant contribution next year. The OKC Thunder could have made the NBA Finals this year like they did last year if it weren’t for Westbrook’s unfortunate injury in the first round against the Rockets. Kevin Durant, the league’s second best player, and Russell Westbrook make a potent duo along with other Thunder big man such as Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins that could seriously threaten the Heat’s defense in the interior. In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers seemed to be destined for greatness at the beginning of this past season when they acquired Steve Nash and the fickle Dwight Howard to go along with Kobe Bryant to form a dominating trio within the Western Conference. Yet, the Lakers lost Bryant, who led the underachieving team throughout the regular season, to an achilles injury in the first round of the playoffs. These injuries that marred the Thunder and Lakers set up a sort of power vacuum in the Western conference that was filled by the Spurs when they swept the Grizzlies in the Conference Finals. Barring any major injuries, look for the Heat to be challenged by the Thunder or Lakers in next year’s NBA Finals when attempting to three-peat.

Eight championship are impossible though. To LeBron: “not eight either”. There are only six players in NBA history to have won at least eight championships and all of them were apart of the famed Boston Celtics in the 1960’s. It might have been possible if the Big Three was formed four to five years earlier. LeBron still has another three to four years left of his prime, but Dwayne Wade has degenerate knees and other debilitating injuries and Chris Bosh cannot possibly contribute as much as Dwayne Wade even on his most consistent days. Only time will tell if LeBron will be back to the likes of his ill fated days in Cleveland where he carried his team to the playoffs season after season. Perhaps, The Decision Part II is in store for us in a few years.