COMMENTARY | Off the top of your head, can you think of a better training staff than the one employed by the Phoenix Suns? They resurrected Grant Hill's career, kept Steve Nash (mostly) off his back and made Jermaine O'Neal look 10 years younger.
Greg Oden would have been a terrific match for the vaunted Suns trainers.
Oden could have been a low-risk signing for the Suns. As it is, he inked a two-year, $2.2 million deal with the Heat, with the second year being a player option. The Suns did just draft Alex Len as their center of the future but with Marcin Gortat likely on his way out, Oden would have been a terrific fit.
Players with injury troubles (especially big men) tend to do quite well in uptempo offenses. Remember the Shaquille O'Neal experiment? We don't view O'Neal as much of a transition threat, but he kept a lot healthier by not taking a pounding every time down the court.
Back to the wizards (as in sorcery, not Washington) in the Suns' training room, who nursed Hill to such health that he missed just three games in three seasons, beginning at age 36 and ending at age 38.
Is it that ridiculous to believe that Oden could go through the same kind of transformation, especially considering he's a full 10 years younger than Hill was when he came to Phoenix?
Don't forget, Hill played in just 47 games in his first four seasons in Orlando. It appeared as if he was finished. He made a short comeback, got hurt again, and it looked like he'd never be the same.
Then the Suns doctors got a hold of him.
Oden missed the entire 2007-08 season after his first knee injury. He played 61 games in 2008-09 before playing just 21 in 2009-10. He hasn't appeared in an NBA game since then.
It's worth noting that in those 21 games in 2009-10, Oden averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in just 23.9 minutes per game. His 23.1 efficiency rating was not only good but it was also tremendous. He would have beaten Amar'e Stoudemire (22.6), Carmelo Anthony (22.2) and Kobe Bryant (21.9) if he kept those numbers up for a whole season.
True, Oden is in a terrific spot in Miami. He will be the fourth (or fifth) option on offense. The expectations are so low for him that he'll be able to fly under the radar for the most part. Oh, he also gets to play on the reigning back-to-back champions who have the best player in the world on the team.
Still, if things don't work out and Oden can't get healthy, we'll be left wondering what would have happened if Oden found his way into the US Airways Center in a Suns uniform. The best training staff in the league and an uptempo offense is just what the doctor would have ordered.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded , HoopsHabit.com.Follow @iambabyd13 on Twitter!
- Sports & Recreation
- Phoenix Suns
- Greg Oden
- Grant Hill