Heat can turn around Beasley, Oden
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Seven Miami Heat players — Ray Allen, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden — were taken in the top six when they were drafted.
Two of those players are not like the others: Beasley and Oden.
For different reasons — injuries for Oden and on- and off-court issues for Beasley — neither has maximized his ability. But with nothing to lose (except for minimal salary payments) and a lot to gain (solid performers off the bench), the Heat signed Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, and Beasley, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft.
“Both players were unbelievably talented coming out of college — obviously drafted one and two in their respective drafts,” Heat forward LeBron James says. “Reasons that you sometimes can’t explain have hindered what they’re capable of doing. But I’m excited to have them here. … It’s unfortunate what’s happened to this point, but we can’t change the past. We can only focus on the present and the future.
“As a leader, I’m excited to have them here and help them get back to the point where they feel they mean something — not only to this team but prove to themselves that they can play this game and play it at a high level.”
Once the Heat mastered high risk, high reward — clearing cap space and reducing the roster to three players in the summer of 2010 to assemble James, Wade and Bosh — they perfected low risk, high reward. That’s what Beasley and Oden are, just like Allen, Chris Andersen and Battier — all of whom were important in helping the Heat win a championship last season.
But time and chances are running out for Oden and Beasley. Expectations are different for both players, too.
For Oden, there are none. He hasn’t played since Dec. 5, 2009, because of debilitating knee injuries and has played in 82 career games — the equivalent of one full regular season — since his rookie season.
Beasley, on the other hand, has proved he can contribute — when his head is … [For more on Miami Heat can turn around Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, click here.]