Last season, the Miami Heat took a gamble in signing Michael Beasley and Greg Oden with the last two remaining spots on the team. Then again they could do so since they were fresh off a second straight NBA title with essentially the same squad, therefore their talent and stability afforded them the luxury to take a risk, or two.
This time around though, things are a lot different with the loss of LeBron James and all, so the team is in a state flux. As such, team president Pat Riley can’t really afford to take chances on a project like Oden was last year. That’s why he has been very careful in deciding who to sign this offseason. And it’s why Miami is “non-committal” about Oden and Beasley.
“The Heat continue to be non-committal with free agents Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, with the team neither closing the door on a return in conversations with their agents nor offering them a contract to this point, either.”
Then again, maybe they should re-sign the two players. Or maybe offer contracts that aren’t fully guaranteed contract – especially to Beasley. After all, he did show some potential last season.
B-Easy showed exceptional maturity in a limited role last season. He didn’t pout, complain or do anything of the sort. And when he got his chance, he typically made the most of it – at least offensively anyway. As Jackson states, among all players who took part in at least 20 regular-season games, Beasley was 47th in points per 48 minutes, at 25.2. In addition to this, he also shot a career high 49.9percent from the field.
On the downside, his biggest flaw was/is his defense. Granted he was putting in a lot of effort (well, a lot more than in previous times), but he was still allowing 108 points per 100 possessions according to NBAStats.com, and that’s a huge reason why Erik Spoelstra only gave 23 minutes of court-time during the playoffs.
Another thing that works against him is that Miami is loaded at the small forward spot with Luol Deng, Danny Granger and James Ennis already in position. His only hope would be to play as the stretch 4 in smaller sets, but again, that leaves the Heat in a very precarious situation on defense.
In Oden’s case, he doesn’t that many have bargaining chips to put on the table. He played in only 23 regular season games at just 9.2minutes per outing
due to his recovery scheme and a few knocks here and there – Thus the unimpressive numbers as he averaged 2.9points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6blocks per game. Heck he didn’t even have to do battle against Roy Hibbert, which is pretty much what he was brought in for after the Indiana Pacers’ center ran riot in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals.
Nonetheless, there could still be hope for a couple of reasons:
1). As the old adage goes, “you can’t teach size” and Greg Oden is a monster of a man. Standing 7-feet tall and weighing in at 285 pounds, he is a huge presence in the middle of the paint and will overpower most (if not all) of the players in the association.
Say what you will, but in the NBA size does matter.
2). Slim pickings in the open market – To say the free agency is sparse for talented big men would be an understatement. Options from there include: Elton Brand (past it), Nazr Mohammed (would probably be hated in Miami), Charlie Villanueva (really?), Ryan Hollins (non-existent offensive game), Byron Mullins (hardly a player to get excited about) and Greg Stiemsma (ditto).
The only player that stands out is Emeka Okafor, but even he has a sketchy past with injuries. So it would be a case for seeing whether Miami are willing to risk it with his or Oden’s health – bear in mind they’ve had a long time to assess Oden, while Okafor would be a whole new enigma. And of course it also depends on how infatuated the team is with Justin Hamilton.
Overall, there is still a chance we see one (or both) of the players in a Miami Heat uniform next year. However, the priority for now is addressing the shooting guard position because the often-injured Dwyane Wade is the only true 2 guard on the team. Ennis, and even Mario Chalmers, could fill in if need be although getting extra help is still a necessity.
As a result, Chris Douglas Roberts and Chris Singleton are said to be on Riley’s radar.