Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr.com)
The Miami Heat lead the Eastern Conference with a 34-14 record. If the playoffs stared today, Miami would have home-court advantage. That’s the ideal situation to be in but there is one flaw. The Heat don’t have a legitimate center.
The defending NBA champions utilize their roster to its fullest. LeBron James is once again an MVP candidate, averaging 26.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. James distributes the ball just as much as he scores, as he averages seven assists.
The Heat’s roster of veterans and young guns also contribute to their record. Dwyane Wade may not be the same player as he was earlier in his career, but he’s still a threat, scoring 20.9 points per game. Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Mike Miller can knock down 3-pointers at a moment’s notice. Chris Bosh still maintains a presence on the court.
They’re an excellent squad that operates without a true center. Imagine if they had one the likes of Tyson Chandler or Dwight Howard (before his back surgery). They’d be unstoppable, at least on paper.
The Heat would have to adjust their plans at first. They’d have to rely more on faking their post play. The Heat used their post players more than their outside jump shot specialists for the past few years. Adding a true center will only allow Miami’s outside shooters more opportunities. Opposing teams would be forced to double-team the center, only to have that center to pass it to the open man.
The problem with acquiring a true center is, well, let’s face it; many feel the position is dead. Traditional centers who stood at 7’0” are a rarity in today’s landscape. The most consistent centers today are the New York Knicks’ Chandler and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah. Neither the Knicks nor Bulls look to be trading them anytime soon.
The Heat can look from within, but it’s doubtful. Bosh is more of a power forward who occasionally plays center. Backup center Dexter Pittman could exceed his potential, but is stuck in mediocrity. Center Joel Anthony suffers the same fate and he will turn 31 this year.
If the Heat can draft a center who will evolve into a legitimate center, they could be the NBA’s next dynasty. Keep in mind that the Heat took two years to win a championship with their current status quo. Conceivably, they could win a lot more if they had a true center in their ranks.
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