If former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden wants to try and resurrect his NBA career, what teams should he and his agent consider? Hopefully, he was smart with his money and is not coming back because he needs the cash. Hopefully he is thinking about coming back because he wants to make sure he left nothing “on the floor” and he gave it his all.
If and when he does come back, he may want to take a look at how Bill Walton did it. Like Oden, Walton was a premier big man coming out of college. Like Oden, his Portland career was injury riddled. Like Oden, it was his lower extremities that let him down. compared to Oden, Walton’s Portland career was a raging success compared to Oden. He led the Blazers to an NBA World Championship in 1977. Oden has barely played one season’s worth of games since he left the Ohio State Buckeyes following a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament in 2007.
Oden actually has more in common with Sam Bowie. Bowie was also drafted by the Blazers. He also had multiple leg injuries. But he is mostly remembered for being picked ahead of Michael Jordan in the draft. Oden is now best remembered for being picked ahead of Kevin Durant.
So that leaves the question, where should Oden go? In our opinion, he should go to a place with a center already. Try to got somewhere where A) you have a chance to do what Walton did with the 1986 Boston Celtics, win a ring and B) he won’t have to play a lot of minutes each game.
The Indiana Pacers would be a good fit. Roy Hibbert gets most of the minutes there. But we saw with Hibbert out, the Los Angeles Clippers were able to exploit his absence in the middle. The Pacers are a playoff team and still fairly young. The addition of a semi-healthy Oden could make them a contender.
The Miami Heat could really use some size. If there is a weakness with the defending champions it is they are not a very good rebounding team. Oden would sure help out in that area. The Heat has plenty of other talent to take care of the rest of the game, Oden could really become a rebounding specialist.
It looks like Andrew Bynum might be on his way down. If he is ever able to get back, his minutes and productivity look to be diminishing to to a degenerative knee issue. Oden could help pick up the slack with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Los Angeles Clippers can use a big man with some offensive skills. But with Oden being out for so long, his skills may not be what they once were. So that may not work well. But the Lakers on the other hand could use Oden and it would free up Pau Gasol as good trade bait. They do need to thing about replacing Steve Nash and eventually Kobe Bryant.
So there are a few good spots where a healthy but rusty Greg Oden could fit in and contribute. Hopefully he finds the right spot and can stay on the court for most of his remaining career.