Phoenix Suns should take a shot at Greg Oden

Posted by on January 11th, 12:04 am

The Phoenix Suns boast the best medical staff in the league and are in desperate need of impact players.

Greg Oden was once such a blue chip prospect that he was selected over Kevin Durant, and he is in desperate need of a medical staff that can keep him upright.

TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott called him “the ultimate high-risk, high-reward player,” and with their uber-elite medical staff and dearth of even potential top-tier players, I think the Suns are in a perfect position to take such a risk after ESPN.com reported that Oden plans to resume his NBA career in 2013-14 and that “multiple teams” are interested.

When I interviewed Aaron Nelson a few years ago for my big feature on the medical staff, I asked him for his thoughts about taking on a challenge like Oden. Although he chose to answer more generally because Oden was under contract with the Blazers at the time, it was clear that he would relish such a project.

“You always wonder, and again if you fail then it goes the other way,” Nelson said. “I like challenges, and my staff likes challenges. We like to see what we can do and what we’re capable of doing, and when I see injured players for other teams I feel for my peers because we’re all in the same boat. The guys who are paid a lot of money and normally are playing a lot of minutes for you, when they get hurt that’s a lot of pressure and a lot of stress for us and the other head athletic trainers for the other teams.

“I don’t look at it and say, ‘I can do better than them.’ I think we’re all in the same boat. I don’t look at it in that perspective, I look at it as if my GM calls me and says, ‘Hey, if we have this guy on our team,’ then I think about it. But I don’t think outside of that. If I’m watching SportsCenter and so and so has been out now for whatever I think that I feel bad for my peers that are having to deal with it because I have to deal with it when our guys get hurt, but again if our GM or owner says, ‘Hey, if we’re looking at Player X, do you think you can help him?’ Immediately I start thinking, ‘OK, yeah.’”

Oden has so many physical ailments that it’s possible that not even the Suns’ warlocks can fix him, but if anybody can I would bet on Nelson and his crew. It seems like at least some of Oden’s issues revolve around his poor balance, and perhaps that’s one aspect they can fix.

As Abbott wrote, as raw as Oden was he was still incredibly effective when he actually played with a top-10 PER in 2009-10. The Blazers beat opponents by about nine points per 100 possessions when he played but just three when he didn’t that season.

Oden probably will never be a franchise player, but if anybody can get him healthy, he can most certainly be key cog in a rebuilding project. I don’t see any reason why the Suns shouldn’t sign him for the rest of the season and offer team options for the next two seasons to see if they can help Oden rebuild his value and potentially give them a key contributor on the cheap.

Who Nash has assisted most

TrueHoop put together a neat post on which players have benefited most from Steve Nash assists after Nash dished his 10,000th dime on Tuesday night.

As one might expect, Amare Stoudemire leads the group, finishing more passes from Nash than Goran Dragic has accrued assists in his entire career. In all, 124 players have scored off Nash passes.

Here’s the list of top recipients in graphical form, with many former Suns represented of course:

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Steve Nash

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 azbballfan // Jan 11, 2013 at 12:23 am

    If the Suns can take a shot at Oden that is great

    However

    I did read an article a long time ago when he played for Portland that he said he basically became an alcoholic due to all the injuries that happened.

    Unless he was misquoted of course

    But if that is the case, he needs some real substance abuse counseling

    There is really no risk for the Suns, either he gets healthy or he doesnt

    I think he has a chance unless there is some irrepairable structural damage to his knees

    If anyone can do it, the Suns training staff can

  • 2 silver // Jan 11, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Yeah they should. The Suns need building blocks and Oden could be a great one. If the Healers think they can do it then we sure as hell better make it happen. If Oden works out this could be like getting a free top 5 pick. With the Suns top 5 pick + Oden + the lakers lotto pick this rebuilding process could be GREATLY accelerated

  • 3 hawki // Jan 11, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Suns should “take a shot” at Oden….careful how you word things these days Mr Schwartz….the “thought police” might come knocking at your door.

    Seriously tho…Jerry C might have been able to pull this off back in the day…while I didn’t agree with everything he did, he was the master at pulling off the mega-deal & creating big splash headlines to keep the fans interest, if nothing else.

    The Suns might as well make a play for Oden….what do they have to lose ?….but the odds are he goes to Miami to play with LeBron where the Heat need a defensive presence in the middle.

  • 4 Sillmarillion // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Considering this Nash-assist-graph: It shows that Nash assisted on 344 of Gortat’s baskets. In his time with Nash Gortat made 721 field goals, so Nash assisted not even on half of them.
    This shows us that Gortat is an efficent player by himself (which he proves in this season as well) and not a Nash product.

  • 5 Luka // Jan 11, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I don’t think this roster can handle anymore draft busts.

  • 6 Harry // Jan 11, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Michael,

    Appreciate the site but something needs to be done about the ridiculous posts that have started recently. I understand there may be nothing you can do given the format, and I sympathize that this site (and the writers here) has to put up with such nonsense, but I’m done until this problem is fixed. Best of luck with this problem.

  • 7 Michael // Jan 11, 2013 at 8:21 am

    If Greg Oden wants to play the NBA for a longer period of time, he should seriously consider Aaron´s help and sign with us.
    He should just ask Amare, Stevie, Hill, both O´Neals about this genius.
    If he just wants to have a ring, he can sign with the Heat and his career will be over very soon.

    I can´t imagine that he will stay healthy for a longer period on any other team. It´s still hard to imagine Oden staying healthy with us, but I had the same concerns with Hill…
    There are probably 29 other franchises looking more attractive for him considering success in the near future. But I´m pretty sure he would go the Brandon Roy way with any other medical stuff.

    It would be the masterpiece for Aaron.
    And a masterpiece for the franchise, if it works out.

  • 8 SkyBill40 // Jan 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I’ve said in a few other places that I thought Oden coming here would be a good choice given the training staff and opportunity to contribute. Given how the staff has managed to revitalize several players’ careers, Oden would be just another addition to that club.

    Given how the acquisition of Micahel Beasley has turned into a joke against the club’s front office, perhaps Oden can take his place in the rotation or add some insurance should the Suns decide (foolishly, mind you) to move Gortat elsewhere. It can’t hurt to have a player with his talents on the floor even if in a limited role.

    As for a contract, why not make it a minimum deal or one laden with incentives? That way if he doesn’t work out, he won’t count for much against the cap.

  • 9 john // Jan 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

    YES YES YES!

    I would love it if Oden would make his return with PHX. Despite his relatively few accomplishments at the NBA level, his limited time has revealed him to be a rebounding and defensive presence. In other words, something the Suns desperately need.

  • 10 Michael Schwartz // Jan 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @Harry I had not been reading the comments on the Celtics gamer thread, and I was unaware of the Nazi parody posters. I have since deleted all these posts, and this won’t be tolerated in the future. Please let me know if I missed one. My apologies for not catching it sooner.

  • 11 Ty-Sun // Jan 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    @Michael Schwartz

    Thanks. I’m obviously not Harry but I also appreciate you removing those offensive posts.

  • 12 Ryan // Jan 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Why exactly would the Suns want Greg Oden…..even if he does make a “comeback” it’ll be in a limited minutes role…..think Bill Walton for the Celtics and that’s a big if. That’s good for a contender, not a big deal for the Suns. I just don’t see how he’s a high risk high reward guy any longer. I wouldn’t be upset if the Suns took a risk on him and gave him a modest contract, I just wouldn’t be at all excited about it.

  • 13 azbballfan // Jan 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks Michael Schwartz for removing that guys posts

    The Suns need talent everywhere and if i can get Oden to give me 20 minutes a game of rebounding and defense and the occasional dunk without hurting his career further, im gonna go for it

    Its hard to tell with Portlands staff whats going on, because they have had soo many injuries the past few years

    Its not like Oden is a statistical anomaly and he was the only one injured

  • 14 Ryan // Jan 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    @azbballfan

    I get what your saying, and don’t disagree with you that Oden could be serviceable. I just don’t get where he makes sense rebuilding. I say find a center with high upside to develope. Not one that’s played 82 games since 07. What you describe is what the Suns have with O’Neal now. With as many Draft picks as the Suns have over the next few years to me it would make more sense to draft a “project” at center with one of those picks.

    On that note, I say trade Gortat and Dudley now and get younger with picks as by the time the Suns are competitive again they’ll either signed somewhere else or past their primes. They’re both good pieces to teams that are in the mix….to the Suns they’re just a couple of their best players, and that adds up to 12 and 25.

    As far as the Blazers go they made their own luck by drafting 2 guys (Oden and Roy) who were medically flagged……they just happened to wiff on both. I’m sure their medical staff is well trained, just maybe a bit to ambitous when it came to what they thought they were capable of.

  • 15 Michael // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Oden would be a no risk signing. I don’t see any problem with signing him and still rebuilding via draft. Anything he could provide would be a bonus.
    He won’t ask for max. money, so absolutely a no brainer. Those things can make the difference between franchises when it comes down to who will step up and who will stay bad.

    Anyone in for trading for Wilson Chandler? He reportedly is on the trade block. Compared to Rudy Gay, he would give us similar numbers for less then 1/3 of $.
    Chandler vs. WJ? Brings Denver below the luxury tax next year for sure.

  • 16 JD // Jan 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Oden would only help a contender, and he would not transform the Suns as they are currently constructed. After all the injuries he won’t be good for anything more than limited spot minutes. Oden would be better off trying to make the Thunder, Heat, or maybe Memphis. In other words, he needs to go to a contender that needs depth, not a lottery-bound team that needs a monumental change to even sniff the playoffs.

    As far as Wilson Chandler, he has never shown he can be anything more than a solid role player, not a go-to guy. The Suns need a better player than Chandler in order to really get better.

  • 17 Elviro (Italy) // Jan 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Oden? Yes, I like it!
    but … well you assess his health situation ….
    I do not want to see a team turn sick in a hospital ……………

  • 18 Ryan // Jan 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    @ JD

    Amen…..if the Suns were to sign Oden at anything more than the vet minimun I would predict it to be a mistake. That’s of course calling him a vet with an accumulative single season worth of games played since 07.

  • 19 Scott // Jan 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t think Oden can be healthy and play basketball at the same time. I don’t think his body structure supports it.

    I also suspect Oden is looking for one more shot at a big payday, so I will be surprised if he signs in the NBA for a small contract. More likely he’d play overseas for more money.

  • 20 TucsonSunsFan // Jan 12, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Replace Jermaine O’Neal with Oden? Ok I like it…

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