Miami Heat

NBA News: Juwan Howard Not the Answer for Miami Heat's Defensive Woes

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 05:  Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat shoots a free throw while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2013

Winning streak aside, the Miami Heat are still the worst rebounding team in the league and need help on the interior—and NOT from an aging veteran.

Unfortunately, GM Pat Riley has sought help from just that.

According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Miami has signed Juwan Howard to a 10-day contract.

Though Howard is sure to be a strong veteran presence in Miami's locker room, he is not the answer for the team's open roster spot. As I mentioned before, the Heat are the worst rebounding team in the league. I don't care that they're on a 13-game winning streak and the best team in the Eastern Conference; their interior defense is going to be an issue down the stretch.

By signing Howard, the team is doing nothing to address that situation. Sure, Howard posted 7.8 boards per 36 minutes in his two years with the Heat, but he is anything but a long-term solution.

In reality, there is just one way the Heat can address their poor rebounding before the playoffs roll along. Either Chris Bosh must be moved back to his natural position of power forward, or he must start playing more like a true center.

Look at it this way. Bosh may be 6'11", 235 pounds, but his game is more like that of a scoring 4 than a true, defensive 5. On the season, he is averaging 16.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Rather than work the low post and focus solely on an interior, Bosh prefers to use his jump shot when allowed.

That's not a bad thing, especially since Heat coach Erik Spoelstra utilizes a fast-paced offense, but Bosh's defensive weaknesses are clear.

Thus, bringing in an aging veteran to compensate for that, rather than having Bosh stay in the paint, makes no sense. Howard's locker room presence is indeed something that could help any team, but the Heat don't need that right now, particularly because of their current winning streak.

What needs to happen is for Spoelstra to take some initiative and have Bosh focus entirely on defense, with scoring being second priority. It's unlike his style to do that, but it's a far better idea than signing an aging veteran in Howard, who is barely going to play anyway.

Bringing Howard back is just the Heat ignoring a glaring weakness—one that's going to be exploited mightily once it's playoff time.

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