Centers are at such a dearth in talent right now in today’s NBA that the Miami Heat would be just fine in a series against the Orlando Magic or Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat have enough talent in enough places to succeed against an elite center. Last season’s Eastern Conference Finals proved that the regular season is only good for seeding, and that in critical junctures of game play Miami Heat SF LeBron James could be called upon to stop players like Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose or any other solid point guards the Heat will encounter in their playoff quest.
Most recently, the Miami Heat were torched consecutively by elite PG’s Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics. Of course, both of those teams have excellent small forwards in Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce to match LeBron, but what if the Heat changed their lineup drastically.
Teams with elite players at any position have been defended by LeBron in the past. The Heat do not have length in droves, yet their PG’s Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have not only been slumping on defense but are also taking poor shots at a poor percentage. Cole shoots too much for the percentage he hits at, and bumping his minutes down may yield results. With a player as extraordinarily versatile as James, the possibilities are endless.
Coach Erik Spolestra could unveil a lineup featuring James at PG. Our colleagues at NBA.com have also written about the prospect. What about a lineup of James at PG, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, and a revolving door at small forward with players such as F’s Chris Bosh, James Jones, Mike Miller, and Udonis Haslem? James Jones and Mike Miller could also see time at shooting guard while Haslem or Bosh could bump to the four or five positions.
What Coach Spoelstra has to understand is that these are some of the most versatile players ever to don an NBA uniform. James could match up anywhere from point guard to power forward, so moving him to defend a player like Durant while bringing in a fresh set of legs with Mario Chalmers off the bench to provide decent defense. James is usually the last of the Big Three to head to the bench as he normally plays the entire first quarter while Bosh and Wade rest for some of both first half periods.
The back court group of SG Dwyane Wade and PG Norris Cole has not been effective offensively. There needs to be some sort of shift in which the top point men in the nation can be shut down or at least limited, and the back court can score with ease.
Good thing Coach Spo has the guys to do it.
Eric Schmidt is the owner/editor of thepigskinreport.com. You can follow Eric on Twitter @bucco40 and make sure to visit the pigskinreport FB page. Make sure to visit our other sites- hardballchat.com, roundballchat.com and centericechat.com for all of your sports needs.
Tags: Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, dwyane wade, Erik Spoelstra, James Jones, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Norris Cole, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Udonis Haslem