Cleveland Cavaliers: Why the Cavaliers Should Give Greg Oden a Chance

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIJanuary 31, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When NBA fans hear the name Greg Oden, they think of one of the biggest busts in NBA history. Oden was a dominant force at Ohio State and was projected to be one of the league's most unstoppable big men.

He was so good, that the Portland Trail Blazers took him with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. The second pick in the 2007 draft was Kevin Durant. That tells you how good everyone thought Oden was.

What's interesting about the story of Greg Oden is that it was not a lack of effort that caused him to be a bust. This was nothing like what the Oakland Raiders experienced when they suffered through drafting JaMarcus Russell first overall in the 2007 NFL draft.

Instead, Oden was plagued by injuries throughout his two seasons in the NBA. Over the course of his brief career, Oden played in 82 games, started 60 of those 82 and averaged only 22.1 minutes per game.

It was really a shame to see such a great talent have injuries ruin his career.

Over the past week though, it was announced that Oden would like to make a return to the NBA. His announcement did not go unnoticed, either. There are numerous teams who are reported to be interested in potentially signing Oden to a contract for next season. The two teams who appear most interested so far are the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

So, why should the Cavaliers sign Greg Oden to a contract?

The first reason is that they really have nothing to lose with the deal. It would not really cost the Cavaliers very much to sign Greg Oden since there likely will not be a huge market for his services, so they would not be tied down to a large contract financially.

If things do not work out, while it would be disappointing, the two can simply part ways with no harm done. If things do work out, the Cavaliers would have a 25-year-old center who was good enough at one point in his career to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Secondly, the Cavaliers have needs to address down low. Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson are both playing very well down low right now for the Cavaliers, but with the health of Anderson Varejao in question, Cleveland could certainly use another big man to help out.

When healthy, who better than the seven-foot Greg Oden?

The last reason the Cavaliers should take a chance on Greg Oden is because he is an absolute beast. Usually nothing happens with these comeback stories. Either the player does not get signed by a team, and the sports world forgets about them, or the player gets signed, does nothing and then everyone forgets about them.

So why could Greg Oden be a different story?

If you look at Oden's stats throughout his two seasons with the Trail-Blazers, he was great when he was on the court. Over the span of the 22.1 minutes that he averaged, Oden averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Oden also shot the ball at 57.7 percent from the floor during his short career.

Oden also showed great improvement from his first season to his second season. His field-goal percentage went up from 56.4 percent to 60.5 percent. His points per game went up from 8.9 per game to 11.1 per game. His rebounds went up from seven rebounds per game to 8.5 per game. His blocks went up from 1.1 per game to 2.3 per game.

Lastly, his free-throw percentage went up from 63.7 percent to 76.6 percent. These statistics show that Oden had significant improvement in almost every area of his game from his rookie season to his second season in the NBA.

We can see that the potential benefits of signing Greg Oden far outweigh the potential risks. That means the Cavaliers should roll the dice on him.

If the Cavaliers do take a chance on Oden, do not expect him to be an instant success, though. It will take time for Oden to regain the form that he once showed in his career. The fans and organization need to stay patient with him and allow him to develop.

If Greg Oden can stay healthy, and he does sign with Cleveland, the Cavaliers will have a monster center underneath with unbelievable potential. Oden would become another piece in the core of talented young players that the Cleveland Cavaliers organization is putting together.