Greg Oden has appeared in an NBA Finals game — he played 1:36 at the garbage time end of Game 3, when the Spurs were destined to win.
On one hand, that’s an amazing comeback — Oden had seven knee surgeries, three microfracture, and where most would have given up and just lived the rest of their lives comfortably on the million he made off his rookie deal as the former No. 1 pick, he loved the game enough to fight all the way back and make the Miami Heat.
Still, Oden wishes he got to play a little more. He wants to return to the NBA next season and make that happen, he told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
“Yeah, I’m sure I’m playing again next year but honestly I haven’t given that much thought,” Oden told CSNNW.com Wednesday after practice. “I’m trying to concentrate on this and getting this ring first and after that, that’s part of the thought process. My body feels good. I can still play. I’ll be alright….
“It wasn’t what I was hoping it would be,” the big man said. “I would definitely like to have played more but you know, everything that I’ve been through, I’m just happy to be out there and being on a team. Last year I wasn’t and this year I’m on a team that possibly can win the championship. I’m happy in that, but personally, playing wise, I’m not has happy as I want to be.”
The Heat have succeeded going small but brought in Oden as insurance in case they needed to go big, particularly against Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers. Turns out they didn’t — Indiana still can’t deal with the Heat’s small ball game. So Oden sat.
Still, I’m with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on this.
“Greg Oden is one of the biggest success stories in this league, and unfortunately people are only judging him by the fact of how many minutes he plays,” Spoelstra said during the Finals. “Two years ago people were saying he would never play the game again and he’s available every night.”
Some team is going to take a chance on Oden for next season. Whether or not he gets more playing time remains to be seen, but for his sake I hope he gets the chance. And his knees let him.