Miami Heat: Why a True Center Is Not a Need for a Repeat in 2012-13
It seems like this time last year a lot of critics were complaining about Miami going after Shane Battier instead of a valuable center to fill a glaring need. As we speak now, potentially no move last year could have had the same impact that signing the solid veteran forward did.
However, if Miami does have one true weakness, it has to be the group of sub-par NBA centers they currently have.
While players like Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman aren't the best possible options to start in the center position, there were not many more attractive options in the free agency pool that would have fit Miami's best game plan.
This Heat team will remain weak in the middle, but it's necessary for Miami to play to their full ability. Here are four reasons why.
Chris Bosh Is the Perfect Center for Miami
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Chris Bosh has often been considered a third wheel in Miami. However, his true impact and importance were finally realized last year when he fell to injury in the playoffs.
Miami continued to get battered, and they struggled to pull out victories against some tough competition. They missed their crucial third scoring option and solid rebounder.
Although Miami figured out how to win without Bosh, they really didn't play to full potential until he was back and healthy.
While not the best one-on-one physical defender, Bosh is still a lengthy player who can contest shots and rebound at a efficient level. He often showed the ability to make big plays down the stretch in the NBA Finals, blocking shots and coming up with loose balls to turn the tide in Miami's favor.
Even if Bosh can't continue to play effectively on the defensive end, it's his offensive assets that really make up for this. Bosh has a great mid-range jump shot and can often drive past slower defenders for some easy looks at the basket.
You have to take the good with the bad sometimes, but Bosh doesn't have many negatives at filling the center role for Miami.
A True Center Tends to Clog the Paint
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The prototypical big man in the NBA has changed over the past few years. Not only do you see a less talented crop of players, but a dominant post-up center is a rarity in the modern game.
That being said a big man who is most effective in the paint could end up destroying the offensive flow for the Heat
LeBron James is a bruising force when driving to the basket, which is where he does the most damage. If Miami can force that extra defender outside of the paint with Bosh or a reliable Udonis Haslem, it opens up plenty of space for the reining MVP to work his way inside.
Neither James or Dwyane Wade want to settle for jump shots, so keeping the paint as open as possible is a must. Adding a player who thrives with his back to the basket isn't ideal for this situation.
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There is an obvious reason Miami made Ray Allen their top free agent prospect in the offseason: Putting shooters around James and Wade wins championships.
Miami's biggest strength against the Oklahoma City Thunder was their ability to get hot from deep and spread the floor. With Battier and Mike Miller looking stellar from deep, the Heat became too much for a young Thunder team to defend.
Acquiring Allen and Rashard Lewis certainly does not hurt the available options for deep shooters next season.
With the aforementioned players, Mario Chalmers and James Jones, Miami is loaded with great role players who will be vital in helping defend a championship crown.
Let's face facts.
The average NBA center is, well, kind of bad. So why shouldn't Miami add the greatest three-point shooter in league history instead of a big, clumsy inside presence?
It Worked Last Year, Right?
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Why change something that worked so well last season?
Miami could face some major trouble if they see a player like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in the playoffs next season, but that's not enough reason to change what earned them a championship against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This team will greatly benefit from letting the athletic LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have room to work inside without being clogged by their own players. Bosh is perfect for this reason, as he will draw out defenders and benefit from kick-out jumpers from the free-throw area.
The Heat are great when pushing the ball for all four quarters and likely couldn't find a true center at this point to keep up with their demanding pace.
If a big man doesn't prove to be a fatal flaw for Miami, we could see them hoisting another trophy to end the 2012-13 NBA season.