No Expectations For Beasley, Oden

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MIAMI – New additions Michael Beasley and Greg Oden add a little intrigue to what would otherwise have been a very steady-and-settled training camp for the Miami Heat. Beasley was brought in on a non-guaranteed deal after being waived by the Phoenix Suns just one year into a three-year contract. Oden is trying to return from a nearly four-year absence and multiple knee injuries.

With the Heat returning the top nine players in their championship rotation, there’s no real need for either Beasley or Oden to contribute right away, or at all, really. Mike Miller is gone, which is a true loss, but Miller was only needed for spot duty last season. That role could be filled by James Jones or Rashard Lewis.

Both newcomers arrive with more doubt than promise, Oden because he hasn’t played since December of 2009 and Beasley because he seems to be a terrible fit for the Heat’s efficient and LeBron James-focused system.

As was the case with Eddy Curry two seasons ago, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t have either guy penciled in for any particular role.

“No expectations,” Spoelstra said of both guys. For Oden, the next several months are about getting healthy and in basketball shape.

“He’s inspired by the opportunity to help us,” Spoelstra said. “But more than anything, we just want to see him get back out there, have a smile on his face, and be able to do what he loves. He’s had some setbacks, but that does not define his whole career. This, we feel, is a perfect fit for him.

“I’m going into it with a open mind. No expectations. There’s certainly no timetable. He’s in here five hours a day. He’s doing more and more. The biggest test with us is can we add to the workload and see how he feels the next day, and without the timetable of having to perform and have those expectations.”

Oden said it’s going to “take some time” for him to get back to feeling comfortable on the court. And though his knees “slow me down just a little bit,” he’s happy to be where he is in the process.

“I haven’t be doing anything but just rehabbing for the past three [years],” he said. “Right now, I’ve been on the court. I’ve been running up and down a little bit. And that’s more than I can say I’ve done in three years.”

Earning a spot in the rotation isn’t on his mind right now, which is an expectation well aligned with his new team.

“A mark of success for me is walking on to a court and walking off healthy,” he said. “Being able to play in a game and just walk off the court healthy, no matter if it was one minute or two minutes. My dream is being able to play basketball, and if I can go out there and do it, run up and down and come off the court again healthy, that’s goal one. Goal two is going to my second game, going on the court and walking off.”

For Beasley, this is about seeing if he can fit in with what the Heat have built since they sent him packing three years ago. He certainly has the talent to help this team, but his inefficient and erratic style of play, not to mention his lack of focus, would seemingly be a detriment to what is a disciplined and well-oiled machine on both ends of the floor.

“I’m happy he’s back,” Dwyane Wade said of Beasley. “I think he’s a spark plug that this team needed from a talent standpoint. But as I always say, Michael’s greatness is on Michael. How great he wants to be will be predicated on him.”

Ultimately, the move could benefit Beasley more than it does the Heat … if they keep him around for more than a couple of weeks.

“We’re excited about just bringing him back into our organization and everything that comes with it, the culture, the discipline, the structure,” Spoelstra said. “We were glad we were able to have that opportunity for him and I think he’s very happy to be able to get back with us.”

“I’m coming here knowing that this team doesn’t need me,” Beasley said. “I’m grateful that they still even care.”

Including Oden, the Heat have 13 guys on guaranteed contracts. So there is space for Beasley if he can keep from being a distraction and somehow find a role. It seems like a long shot.

But this isn’t just a challenge for Beasley and Oden. Making what they can of these two reclamation projects is also a new project for the two-time champs. James feels a responsibility to integrate both into the Heat locker room.

“We can’t change the past,” he said. “We can only focus on the present and the future. Me as a leader, I’m excited to have them here and to help them get back to a point where they feel like 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.”

19 Comments

  1. Lionel says:

    Wow. I don’t know where to start with this one. Usually its some washed up player who begs the defending champions to take them on, but the number 1 and two picks from five years ago? What is this league coming to?

  2. kek says:

    Beasley has no choice but to playalong with what the heat are doing, if he gets waived again he will never make an nba roster again.

  3. T says:

    I could care less about Beasley… He’s not a smart basketball player. He’s an inefficient ball stopper on offense and provides nothing defensively. He does zero “little” things to help a team. I haven’t even mentioned his off of the court issues.

    I’m rooting/praying for Oden, but he’s a long shot. I like the way the Heat are bringing him along though. If he’s going to make it, this is the way his knees have to be managed and he has to be brought along slowly.

    • RJ says:

      Well said. Basically, someone’s got to get Beasley smarter and at least a little bit mature, or he’s of little use.

  4. KD35 says:

    oden is my batch mate but it looks like oden is going to have his ring first! BTW i still believe harde should be on the top 10 list and dwade is not even MJ did not mentioned both of our name and dwade is on the bucket list of players he wants to play 1-1 on their prime!

  5. Three_peat says:

    With Oden’s last surgery being more than a yr and a half ago his knees still bother him just running up and down the court does not bring optimism.

  6. heat3peat says:

    redemption tym for beasley and oden…way to go Miami…cant wait for the season to start…

  7. 007 says:

    Sixth Man of the Year Award- Micheal Beasely

    DMV STAND UP!!!!!

  8. TheAll-Star136 says:

    I’m feeling confident in Oden. I hope the Heat can get Hamilton too, a 7 foot center into the roster.

  9. With these additions this team has gotten bigger and deeper, I smell three peat

  10. roy says:

    “A mark of success for me is walking on to a court and walking off healthy,” ………….. That pretty much says it all right there. Oden will not be able to contribute let alone be healthy enough to play at the NBA D-League level. I admire him for persevering this much but he should learn when to quit, his knees CANNOT handle it. He’s trying to race a dead horse.

    I like the Beasley pick up though, he has the talent to be an explosive starting PF/SF. Hopefully that happens if Wade, Lebron, and Erik mentor him and help him mature into a champion team player. I think this year will be huge for him.

  11. Saying that there are no expectations is just false. What Spoelstra is trying to do is lower the pressure on these players and try and make them as comfortable as possible. This Miami Heat team does not bring in big named players and expect them not to contribute anything. In the case of Greg Oden, he will definitely be brought along slowly, but when he hits the court, he is certainly “expected” to help/produce. While I honestly don’t think he’ll even enter an NBA game until February or March, he will def be expected to contribute vs the Pacers and Bulls in the playoffs. Mike Beasley has all the talent in the world (fine, maybe not all the talent in the world lol) but can’t seem to get his life together. If he buys into the culture that Spoelstra has helped create, the sky is the limit. He could ease the burden on Lebron simply because he can put points on the board while lebron takes a rest. Enabling Lebron to get some extra rest during the regular season is definitely critical for the Heat if they are going to make a deep run into the playoffs again.

    What all these guys really mean when they say “no expectations” is “no pressure” and “not needed” but if on the court, they will def be expected to contribute and produce and fall in line with Miami Heat culture.

    • What the damn, why does your name link to that?

    • Kome the Black dumba says:

      Nope, you are dead wrong. Heat just gamble small to see if they can win big, that’s why they have no expectation. Noone expect Oden to do well. The guy last played at 2010 and he’s injury prone. He’s a certified bust and if he perform well it’s just icing on the cake. Same with Beas. The only expectation is how long will oden last or Beas got his bong back. Did you expected Birdman to perform like that when the heat sign him last year? Hell no.

      • RJ says:

        I expected Birdman to perform pretty much like he did. There’s nothing wrong with him, other than he’s a little older and he can only do on a nightly basis what he used to for 17, 18 minutes instead of 24, 25 or whatever.

  12. funBaller says:

    hmmm…everyone’s holding their breath & Hoping silently of the good possibilities & thinking outloud of the worst (Beasley)
    Oden…longshot just to be on the court more than 5 min…but….more wishing than hope