Regardless of what moves contenders in the NBA make in order to build a squad that can make a championship run, the bottom line is that the Miami Heat are at the top of the food chain until proven otherwise.
Likewise, adding a 7-foot, 285-pound big man to play alongside LeBron James and Co. only makes them stronger.
Yes, Greg Oden has worked tirelessly to get into NBA shape and should be a viable contributor for the defending champions.
Although the former No.1 pick has not played a game since the 2009-10 regular season, Oden possesses a number of qualities that should help the Heat throughout their quest for a third straight Larry O’Brien trophy.
Terrific Interior Defender
When it comes to locking down the paint, Oden is one of the best at it.
During the 2009-10 regular season, Oden held opposing centers to a PER of 13.2. In addition, the big man averaged 2.3 blocks during that time.
The video below highlights Oden defending in the post:
Could you see how early Oden would get positioning down low on the block? As a result, Oden was able to suffocate his opponents, not allowing them to get clean looks at the rim.
Likewise, if Oden was able to put in that type of work while he was battling injuries, can you imagine what a healthy Oden is capable of doing?
Certainly, if he can remain healthy, Oden will bolster an already stifling Heat defense.
Efficient Scorer Inside
Possessing brute strength and picturesque footwork, Oden can put in work down low.
Per Hoopdata, Oden converted on 68.8 percent of his shots at the rim during the 2009-10 regular season. Likewise, 57.1 percent of his buckets from the aforementioned range were assisted, meaning that he knows how to get open so his teammates can set him up for easy looks.
Based on that, can you imagine how easy it will be for Oden to score playing with LeBron and Dwyane Wade? If LeBron could make Chris Andersen look like an impact player, he definitely can do that and more with Oden.
For this reason alone Miami should be glad to have Oden.
Last season, the Heat were the worst rebounding team in the NBA, grabbing a pitiful 38.6 boards a game. Adding on, starters Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem averaged only 6.8 and 5.4 rebounds, respectively.
Certainly, Oden should change that.
By way of Basketball-Reference.com, during the 2009-10 campaign, Oden grabbed 12.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Knowing where the ball will land after a shot makes Oden a great rebounder. Plus, his determination to grab every ball that comes off the rim makes him a formidable force down low.
It was a wise move by the Heat to sign Greg Oden. Although nobody knows what will happen in the future, taking a chance on the 25-year-old could very well turn out to be yet another fantastic move by Pat Riley and Co.
Although it is too early to make the claim that the Heat will win it all next season, they certainly are making moves to get the job done.