On Tuesday, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Greg Oden will remain the starting center for the team, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Oden started Sunday's game against the Houston Rockets and matched his season high in minutes played with 13. That was above Oden's average of 8.3 minutes per game, according to his game log. As a starter, it is likely that Oden will see a bump in play as he builds up more stamina heading into the playoffs. In the early going as a starter, the team will likely be cautious when it comes to back-to-back games.
"I don't think I would feel comfortable playing him," Spoelstra told the Sentinel in regards to Oden playing the second game of a back-to-back.
It is critical for the Heat that Oden becomes an asset as they are seemingly on a collision course with the Indiana Pacers and Roy Hibbert. While Hibbert has struggled as of late, he remains a big threat inside and could potentially be the difference maker in the Heat reaching their fourth straight NBA Finals. Rebounding is one area that has tormented the Heat but Oden has the talent to make a difference there.
Two questions remain -- if Oden can stay healthy and if he can capture back some of what made him a first overall pick. His starting role could end at any time but for now, the center will be on the court for tip-off. If all goes according to plan, this decision to make him a starter could be looked back at as the catalyst for a third straight parade in Miami.
Oden's second game as a starter will come on Tuesday night when the Heat visit the Cleveland Cavaliers.