When Chris Bosh joined the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, it was the view of many that it was a decision influenced by his desire to not play center as much as he did for the Toronto Raptors.
The Heat’s title run in the 2011-12 NBA season may soon change that.
According to Justin Verrier of ESPN’s Heat Index blog, Bosh is bulking up in preparation for playing center on a more full time basis in the upcoming season. Bosh has seen that Miami’s lineup is more potent when he plays center rather than power forward. This was especially true in the playoffs when he matched up against Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.
Having Bosh at center was pivotal in winning a championship. Keeping him there may be a move more out of necessity than desire for Miami.
One reason for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s increasing use of Bosh at center is the team’s lack of luck at finding a more permanent solution for the position.
In 2010 Miami signed an old teammate of James in Zydrunas Ilgaukas along with retaining Joel Anthony. While Ilgauskas started much of the 2010-2011 season his health along with his age caught up with him. He eventually lost the starting job to Anthony late in the playoffs.
Anthony, while providing energy and defensive tenacity, lacks an offensive game. That caused the Heat to draft Dexter Pittman in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft along with signing Mickell Gladness and Eddy Curry in 2011 and Ronny Turiaf in 2012. Anthony was the primary starter last season but was moved to the bench during the playoffs. Neither Gladness, Curry, or Turiaf showed enough to the Heat coaching staff to warrant significant playing time, let alone starting. Pittman is thought to be the center of the future for Miami, but his slow development kept him out of the rotation.
Another reason for the Heat wanting Bosh at center is the current state of the position in the NBA as a whole.
The three best centers in the league right now are Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Roy Hibbert. There is a sizable drop in talent past those three. Howard presented the most direct problem for the Heat until he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic in the off season. As for Bynum and Hibbert, while both players present problems, Miami has been mostly successful when facing them on the court. Apart from them, the current crop of NBA centers shouldn’t cause too many problems for the Heat with Bosh at center, particularly in their division.
Another reason for Miami to want Bosh at center is likely a philosophical one. The current makeup of the team along with their style of play is seen by many as changing the way traditional positioning is perceived. With that in mind it would make sense to have a non traditional center at the 5 like Bosh. This philosophy has already proven fruitful with a championship.
Even as the Heat are still trying to find a big man to fill out their roster, Bosh himself feels he will start at the 5 come opening night of the season.
And that seems to suit Bosh just fine now.