Chris Bosh Playing Center Is Essential for Miami Heat's Success

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IISeptember 17, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 117-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Miami Heat don't have a chance at repeating as NBA champions if Chris Bosh plays any position other than center during the 2012-13 season.

Playing Bosh at center is the only option the Heat have because, frankly, they don't have any other player on their roster, besides LeBron James, who's capable of excelling at the center position on both sides of the ball.

With Bosh at center, the Heat will have a lineup that looks like this: Mario Chalmers at the point, Ray Allen at the shooting guard spot, Dwyane Wade on the wing, LeBron James at the power forward position and Bosh in the paint at center.

That's a very formidable lineup, especially when you consider just how versatile of a rotation that is as well.

Against teams with legitimate centers like the L.A. Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, L.A. Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks, Bosh's ability to stretch the floor by stepping to the perimeter will pay dividends.

At the center position last season, Bosh averaged around 19 points and 11.5 rebounds, which is higher than his 2011-12 overall averages of just 18 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Creating mismatches on offense is going to be key for Bosh to succeed at center because, on the defensive side of the ball, he will be on the wrong end of a number of mismatches.

It's all about minimizing his opponent's advantage, and that means playing fundamentally sound on defense and stretching the court on offense—which Bosh has done extremely well throughout the majority of his career.

If Bosh isn't at center, the Heat would have to go with Joel Anthony or Dexter Pittman, and while Anthony isn't a terrible defender, both players are absolutely atrocious on the offensive side of the ball. There is a bit of give-and-take with putting Bosh at center, but it's undoubtedly the best option for a Heat team that will have all 29 other NBA teams trying to dethrone them during the 2012-13 regular season.

Above all, the reason why Bosh must play center for the Heat to have a chance to repeat next season is because it worked for the Heat on the biggest of stages last season, the 2012 playoffs and NBA Finals.

Moving Bosh to center helped the Heat come back from the edge of elimination at the hands of Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics, and it helped them overpower and take down the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The good news for the Heat is that Bosh appears to have finally accepted the fact that he's going to be the Heat's center this season. 

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that Bosh has added six pounds of lean muscle to prepare for the rigors of playing the center position (via Sports Buzz).

Six pounds might not sound like a huge addition for Bosh, but the fact that he's putting in the work in the weight room shows just how committed he is to the concept of playing at the center position.

On a team that features two future Hall of Famers in LeBron and Wade, it's amazing that Bosh is the focal point. It goes to show just how important it is to have players who are willing to do whatever their team needs them to do to win.

The 2012-13 season is another championship-or-bust season for the Heat, and it looks like they are moving in the right direction by moving Bosh to the center to hold down the paint.