Greg Oden has started at center for the Heat in two of their last three games. He didn’t play last night in the loss against the Boston Celtics because Coach Erik Spoelstra plans to rest Oden when the team plays back-to-back games.
The Heat are known for playing their small-ball style. That style has produced the Heat with two NBA championships with Chris Bosh playing the center position. Now with the emergence of the Indiana Pacers, Spoelstra feels he has to adjust his starting lineup. Spoelstra plans on starting Oden more as the season comes to an end, but I don’t see why.
With Chris Bosh at the center position, the Heat have great spacing on the court. Now that Bosh can extend his range to the 3-point line, he can also pull opposing centers away from the basket. Bosh’s spacing allows for Dwyane Wade to make cuts and LeBron James to post-up.
However, I feel with Oden in the starting lineup things will change. Oden has to stay near the basket to be an effective player, which will keep opposing players close to the basket like Indiana Pacers Center Roy Hibbert. Oden does add much needed size to the Heat, but he doesn’t provide much impact when he’s on the floor. I won’t notice Oden is on the court until he commits a foul and I hear his name called by the commentators. Oden will provide another much needed rebounder, but the change will take time for the team to get used to. The Heat are not going to get the Oden that was at Ohio State and it’s still a mystery of what they are going to get in the future. I understand Spoelstra wants to go to a traditional starting lineup, but Oden isn’t going to provide exactly what the Heat are looking for.
If Spoelstra wants to have a traditional starting lineup so bad, he should start Chris Anderson. Anderson provides instant energy when he’s on the court. Anderson is one of the premier shot blockers in the NBA and will make the hustle play that won’t show up on the stat sheet. Playing Anderson about 25 to 30 minutes a game, he can be a consistent rebounder as well. He’s also a big man that runs the floor well, which will help the Heat out a lot since they get a lot of fast-break opportunities. There won’t be any chemistry problems like with Oden because Anderson has been with Miami for about a year now.
Nothing against Oden, I just feel he isn’t the best fit to be in the Heat’s starting lineup. He will have to become comfortable playing with James, Wade, and Bosh with only a handful of games remaining. Oden would be better served getting minutes off the bench because I don’t see how putting Oden in the starting lineup makes the Heat any better.