So on another Kings board there is a free agency discussion looking at 2011 free agents. I am reading it and listening to my favorite new artist, Ryan Star. I get to the part in one of his songs where he croons "They say that we're flying too high. We'll get used to looking up" and it inspired me to get bold, or crazy, or maybe a bit of both.
Personally, I started thinking with the following premises:
1 - No superstar is coming here.
3 - We have a ton of cap space and can afford to make a mistake as long as it isn't too big.
4 - With the Heat's Big 3 it's going to take a loaded team to win as more veterans come to play with them. There's very little chance of lucking into a championship with a mediocre team (think potentially the Pistons or Wade/O'Neal Heat).
With that in mind, I present the following name for consideration: Greg Oden
WHAT?!?!? GREG ODEN. HE CAN'T STAY HEALTHY. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?!?!?!
It's a fair question, and the answer to that is definitely maybe.
So why Oden? Because he is only 23 and if he can shake his injury history, something more and more young players are doing with greatly improved basketball medical procedures in the last 20 years, he is an absolute home run. Scratch that, a grand freaking slam.
First, look at his numbers:
His stats last year: 11 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 60% in only 23MPG.
His PER the last 2 years was 18 and 23.
His 15.6% and 28.3% ORB and DRB rates were phenomenal.
His 118 ORating and 100 DRating are stellar.
Same with his +9 on/off average last year.
His opponents average PER is 13.
He had a 16.5 block rating (Dwight Howard has a 8.5 this year).
Those are superstar numbers that he put up at age 21/22. That's phenomenal. Even if he never improves, those are numbers you can build around. Those are numbers that would look great next to Reke, DMC and whoever we draft.
So the question becomes, what are the odds he can stay healthy?
Check out the following games played:
50, 67, 46, 54, 63, 82, 65, 75
63, 63, 46, 59, 63, 29, 29, 72, 66, 56, 70, 79, 62, 73
65, 76, 40, 56, 70, 82, 82
4, 14, 29, 67, 21, 65, 70, 82, 81
46, 62, 25, 55, 79, 82
59, 19, 50, 60, 4, 80, 58, 76, 76
66, 62, 80, 52, 28, 81, 81
These players are Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Chris Mullin, Anfernee Hardaway and Tim Hardaway
Injury problems aren't as persistent as they used to be.
Point being that if he works out, he is an absolute HR. A grand slam. We're not signing any superstars here, but if we roll the dice on Oden and he shakes his injury history we become contenders again. Considering he is just about to turn 23 and medicine has advanced considerably since players like Ralph Sampson and Pervis Ellison had their careers derailed by injuries, he has a chance to make a big comeback. Nowadays, most players who slowly deteriorate due to injuries are on the wrong side of 30.
It might not work out, but if our medical team examines him and says there is a chance, he could probably be had for a reasonable deal. 3 years - 15-21 million dollars. If he never shakes his injury history we've wasted 10-14 million over 2 years and he becomes tradable as an expiring contract in year 3. If he does stay healthy, then we've added a number 1 pick and a franchise center to our roster and made ourselves instant contenders.
You have to risk big to win big, especially when you are a small market team with no rich history. So the question becomes, is this the right risk?