Greg Oden finally made his decision on late Friday to join the back-to-back NBA Champion Miami Heat.
Conley says Oden to the Heat for minimum two years second year player option.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 3, 2013
After over a year of monitoring his health and recovering from multiple surgeries, Pat Riley put his sole effort into bringing the formal #1 overall pick to the Miami Heat. This is the third straight off-season that Riley has brought a big name to join the team. Shane Battier and Ray Allen were the last two key acquistions and both have played important roles to winning the title.
Oden will join a team that is nearly intact, with the exception to Mike Miller who was amnestied on July 16. Oden has played in only 82 regular season games in his entire NBA career.
Despite winning the Eastern Conference for three straight years, the obsession for a productive big man hasn't gone away. Chris Andersen is returning for the Heat, but as the Nets, Pacers and Bulls all got better and continue to have a size advantage against the Heat, Riley pulled the trigger on the low risk, high reward center.
Oden is a 7' foot, 285 lbs center who is 25 years old. His shot blocking and defensive mentaility are exactly what the Heat need to counter Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez and especially Roy Hibbert. Oden will be a project, and Heat fans shouldn't consider him to be a viable option out the gate. Oden is still recovering and returning to NBA shape, but his upside makes the Heat scary.
Heat scout Tim Hardaway already said, "if we get Greg Oden, I think we will win a third (straight) title."
What does this mean for the Heat?
Their roster is nearly set. With Wade, Bosh, James, Haslem, Chalmers, Allen, Battier, Jones, Lewis, Cole, Anthony, Andersen, and Oden all set, there are few options left. Jarvis Varnado's contract becomes guaranteed if he is on the roster opening night, and that leaves one spot left, which could go to Myck Kabongo or James Ennis, or another random player that Riley eyes.
It also means that the team has just added a weapon, who if he returns to form, solves their only weakness - size.
Now, Oden has a lot of work to do to be able to space the floor for the Heat effectively and learn the lateral rotations on defense. But if he does, and he stays healthy for a playoff run, then Miami becomes a juggernaut.
Regardless, Hot Hot Hoops would like to welcome Greg Oden to the Miami Heat family.