Is he now so open with his past demons he can shed expectations or will one more setback break him? That’s the red flag that pops up immediately with Oden now. I’d argued in a feature for Dime in winter of 2011 that Oden could still be serviceable as an Erick Dampier-type player once he came back; it’s not a sexy role but it can pay a lot of bills to stay around that long as a big body. But that’s because I’d heard in his voice a sense of commitment that Mike Conley Jr. told me then (and was confirmed by Titus in the article) was unheard of for Oden in the rehab of 2010. He’d hired a chef and laid off the dumbells for the beach muscles (he reportedly gained more than 30 pounds of unnecessary muscle as a rookie).
Even allowing for the existence of personal comebacks from depression and alcohol abuse, I don’t see Oden as a fit in Miami. Charlotte? Sure. Milwaukee maybe, too. Oden, though, never had a reputation for being the most intense on-court persona to begin with. After years of erosion to his body and self-confidence, what could he possibly bring now to toughen Miami’s frontcourt? I have my doubts he’d be able to succeed on a team with more microscopes around it than a petri dish.
Who should Miami go after to play center?
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