While a number of teams—the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings—are still in the mix, Oden reportedly has the Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans etched atop his list of ideal destinations, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:
Both the Heat and the Pelicans lack size up front, so pursuing Oden makes a great deal of sense. And in Oden's case, selecting either team would be a win for him.
Selecting the Miami Heat would place Oden alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, making for an even stealthier defense. The Heat limited teams to just 95.0 points per game last season. In addition, opposing teams connected on only 44 percent of their attempts from the field against Miami.
Known as a prolific shot-blocker, post-defender and rebounder, Oden would only bolster the Miami defense.
On the other hand, selecting the Pelicans places Oden on one of the more promising teams in the NBA.
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has been working nonstop throughout the offseason to change the culture of New Orleans basketball. Likewise, trading for an All-Star point guard in Jrue Holiday and signing Tyreke Evans definitely signifies the Pelicans are well on their way to doing so.
Moreover, signing Oden would allow the Pelicans to engage in an abundance of high-low sets with him and Anthony Davis.
Although the 7-foot, 285-pound center has been absent from the NBA since the 2009-10 campaign, Oden has worked hard over the past two years to get himself ready for what has been a long-awaited return.
A couple of months ago, former Ohio State Buckeye Deshaun Thomas told Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, via Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie, that Oden "looks unbelievable."
Having a whole summer to get things right, Oden will be back stronger than before. Whoever signs the 25-year-old will prosper during the coming season.
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