Barkley: Oden is the key to Heat’s 3-peat
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
With the 2013-14 NBA season upon us, USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick checked in with some of the most prominent voices in the game to break down the many compelling story lines. From the Miami Heat’s quest for a third consecutive title to the return of many stars from devastating injuries to the upgrades made by, among others, the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, to the question of whether those teams will unseat the Heat, the experts break down the hoops fun that is to come.
Can the Heat repeat again?
Charles Barkley, TNT: “I think that you saw the flaws in the Miami Heat last year, (specifically) their lack of size. And I think the key to me is going to be (free agent center addition) Greg Oden (who hasn’t played in a game since December 2009 because of knee problems). If he gives them physical size, it’s going to be very difficult to beat the team. But that’s their real weakness — size. Every big guy they play against just dominates them. I think it really, to me, it depends on what Oden has left in the tank.
“You saw last year, where first of all they shouldn’t have won the championship — (the) San Antonio (Spurs) just flat out blew it — but you see how (Indiana Pacers center) Roy Hibbert, (San Antonio forward) Tim Duncan had flashbacks. When they play against big guys, man, they just get dominated.”
Steve Kerr, a fellow TNT analyst who won three consecutive titles with the Chicago Bulls in the mid- to late 1990s and is already on record saying he predicts the Bulls will unseat the Heat: “I think Miami trying to get to the Finals for a fourth straight year, since it hasn’t been done since the mid-’80s, that’s pretty compelling, particularly because the East is a lot tougher now. There are four pretty good teams besides Miami, with the Knicks, Nets, Chicago and Indiana. It’s going to be tougher for Miami, and they’ve got to go through probably at least two difficult (playoff) series just to get … [For more on Charles Barkley: Greg Oden is the key to Heat's 3-peat, click here.]