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Current Roster: Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Dexter Pittman, Jamaal Magloire
Projected 15-Man Roster: Anthony, Ilgauskas, Pittman, Magloire
Each center brings something entirely different to the table. It’s a shame they couldn’t combine and form the ultimate center.
Anthony is pure defense. He can block shots with the NBA’s best after finishing last year ranked third in the league in blocks per 48 minutes with 3.96. He needs to improve as a rebounder, and it would be nice if he added some sort of offense to his game. He’s a professional athlete; he should be able to develop a 10-footer.
Ilgauskas, the 7’3″ Lithuanian giant, is well past his prime. He’s in Miami because LeBron James wanted him, and he can stretch the floor offensively. His range extends all the way out to the three-point line, a rarity for a man his size. He’s also a big body that can bang with the league’s other giants, although unfortunately, he’s not the most physical presence.
Pittman, the rookie second-round pick out of Texas, is getting better by the minute. He has lost a whopping 120 pounds since his freshman year, five-years ago, shedding 20 of those pounds since the draft last June. He has great hands and a nice touch. The Heat would love for him to be their long-term answer in the post. If he keeps working his tail off, he can jump into the rotation.
Magloire is up for his second consecutive MVH (Most Valuable Hacker). When called upon, his job is to rebound and beat up the opposition while providing an enforcing presence down low. With Pittman’s rise, his roster spot could be in jeopardy.
With the amount of firepower at the other positions, the Heat don’t need scoring from the center spot. What they need is a physical, defensive presence inside. Anthony fits that description best out of the guys they have.
Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh will also find time at center against teams that don’t reside in Orlando, Los Angeles, or Boston.
It’s going to be a center-by-committee approach for most of the season. Unless Anthony suddenly develops an offensive arsenal overnight or Pittman progresses rapidly, it’s going to stay that way through this season and beyond.