Greg Oden to Remain the Miami Heat’s Starting Center

by March 19, 2014

After more than four years out of the NBA, Greg Oden is now the starting center for the back-to-back champion Miami Heat. Head coach Erik Spoelstra says Oden has gotten in much better shape, though playing time limitations (ie. no back-to-backs yet) still exist. Per the Sun-Sentinel:

“My board in my office at the arena looks like the character from Beautiful Mind,” Spoelstra said, “and so I have a lot of different scenarios. So it’s one of the many scenarios that I’ve chewed on for the last six weeks or so.”

For Spoelstra and the Heat, it is a dramatic change from the small-ball style that produced championships the past two seasons, with lineups that featured the shooting of Chris Bosh and Shane Battier or Mike Miller in the power rotation.

“I’ve stressed that to our team, that last year’s blueprint was for last year,” Spoelstra said, “and the more we tried to pigeonhole ourselves into that blueprint, we might not be opening ourselves up to a more successful or necessary blueprint for this year, as the competition has changed. As it’s gotten better, our team, our personnel has gotten better. It always changes.”

Spoelstra said with Bosh extending his range to the 3-point line this season, playing a true center in his starting lineup does not compromise the Heat’s ability to space the floor for Dwyane Wade’s lane cuts or LeBron’s James’ post-up play.

“We’ve actually worked on Greg’s spacing quite a bit,” Spoelstra said. “And there’s some elements, because of his size, that he adds to our spacing, in a different way that we haven’t had before.

“When you have a big body like that under the paint, you can’t take a body off of him. It’s the old Shaq effect.”