The Miami Heat has consistently been one of the top teams in the NBA for the past several seasons since gaining Lebron James on their roster. However, Greg Oden has eased himself into the starting lineup recently, and may be keeping that position.
Greg Oden has been plagued with injuries throughout most of his NBA career, which has been spent mostly with the Portland Trailblazers. He joined the Heat over the off-season last year, and made his debut with the team last October.
Lebron James has been forced to carry the team on his shoulders for much of the season due to another injury to Dwyane Wade, playing in a limited number of games in the 2013-2014 season. The Indiana Pacers have remained in first place throughout the season, and are currently 3 games ahead of Miami.
It was just the beginning of October when Greg Oden had his first practice in four years, but may be working his way into the starting lineup shortly. He started against the Houston Rockets last weekend in order to have a better match-up against their big man, Dwight Howard, and then again in Cleveland.
However, according to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, the decision to start Oden may not have just been based on the situation. After the game, he said “I’ve stressed that to our team, that last year’s blueprint was for last year, and the more we tried to pigeonhole ourselves into that blueprint, we might not be opening ourselves up to a more successful or necessary blueprint for this year, as the competition has changed.”
Starting Greg Oden is certainly a dramatic change from the regular Heat lineup that features smaller figures such as Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, and even Chris Anderson, all players that do not have much size to them, but are much better shooters than someone like Oden.
Lineups with Bosh and Oden have been less successful overall when compared to the way that Bosh and Anderson play together, but the template is there for for the Heat to succeed with two functional big men on the floor at the same time.
Greg Oden may be starting right now, but he continues to heal from his injury, and his playing time could be limited going forward. The Miami Heat have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, and currently have a record of 46-19.
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