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: