Place the over/under wayyyy over 200,000 jokes, gifs and memes about Greg Oden and LeBron looking alike before the start of the regular season. That’s because Greg Oden announced yesterday he’s taking his talents and medical history to South Beach to join the Miami Heat.
In an exclusive interview with former teammate and Grantland writer, Mark Titus, the 2007 #1 overall pick explained why Miami worked out best in the long run.
“Obviously the chance to play with the best player in the world and compete for a championship was a big selling point,” Oden told me. “But more than that, what I really liked was how they thought I could really add something to their team. They’ve won back-to-back championships without me, so for them to pursue me as hard as they did meant a lot, especially given all that I’ve gone through.”
He even cracked a joke!
“The cool thing about playing for the Heat is when you’re LeBron’s teammate and you screw up, nobody gets mad at you for missing a shot or turning the ball over — they get mad at LeBron for passing to you in the first place.”
You know, he’s right.
The low-risk, high reward scenario has been well-explained at this point, but we’ll do it again. If – and in all fairness this is a huge “if” considered who we’re talking about – the Heat can get anything positive from Oden, it’s money in the bank. In all honesty, Oden’s playing time could be monitored all season until the playoffs in a similar fashion as the Heat did with the recently-amnestied Mike Miller.
If he can guard the likes of Joakin Noah and Roy Hibbert come playoff time, the Heat have what they’ve always lacked – a big man who can protect the rim and rebound. Lost in all the jokes and depressing stories surrounding his career, too, stands Greg Oden is/was a very talented big man who once earned comparisons to some of the game’s most accomplished towers. We just rarely saw those skills because 90% of his career has been spent in a suit. Or in an operating room. Or on a stretcher.*
And, one more time for good measure, if Oden does provide anything of value for a Miami team looking to #GetTheKing3Ringz, consider it the most damming evidence to do date that the Portland Trailblazers are officially cursed.
* – Not because there’s vested interest on my part, but I do hope Oden can remain healthy. Karma has to come back around in this guy’s favor at some point. Right?