Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 10:15 am  |  28 responses

Heat to Continue Experimenting With LeBron at Center

Erik Spoelstra knows what he has in LBJ (a talent with world-class versatility), and he will continue to put this to use when the situation calls for it. Meet LeBron James, occasional center. From the Sun-Sentinel: “When Udonis Haslem went down with his potential season-ending foot injury in November, the whispers began: Why not LeBron James at power forward for those minutes when Chris Bosh is on the bench? Why not? Because Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had bigger plans. He unleashed them during the latter stages of Sunday’s 107-100 overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden: LeBron at center. Marcus Camby, meet LeBron James … ‘We’ve talked about it all season,’ Spoelstra said of the team’s internal deliberations. “This certainly now is a good sign that we can start to do that. That might be a way we could use our versatility more.’ … James finished with 13 rebounds, matching his season high. Against one of the league’s premier offensive-rebounding teams, that total was almost as significant as James’ 44 points. ‘LeBron’s proven that he can guard multiple positions,’ Spoelstra said. ‘We felt comfortable enough that he could guard Camby.’”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Don’t fu*k up your livelihood, Spo. A possession here, a possession there is ok, but don’t act like you’re going to run dude at the 5 for full quarters and sh*t like that.

  • Yann Blavec

    After playing point -forward, he plays center.

  • Elrollo

    Let’s see LBJ against Dwight Howard or Shaq and see how that works out.

  • T-Money

    Also, that tells us a lot about CB’s aversion for the 5-spot. E, I’ve changed my stance on having UD and Bosh on the floor at the same. It can work, but only if UD is willing to guard centers – I don’t know why but I feel like he can do it.

  • Sparker

    he can, unless that center is andrew bynum. or dwight howard. or shaq. or kendrick perkins. or…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    T, UD will do whatever’s necessary, if asked. I’m not sold on him making back at full speed though. I think he’d work fine with Bosh, for stretches.

  • robb

    Camby’s a skinny dude, try to play center against Drew and he’ll whoop your a**

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    I like LeBron at PF (for some time during the game) but putting him at C? I doný know about that, it was a good decision for the Blazer game but I have to agree with Eboy on this.

  • fruizm

    he obviously wont play center against dwight or bynum or any of those elite centers…..its probably just on certain occasions for a limited time…

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    How much are you guys willing to bet that Spo came up with this after Lebron shoulder-checked him and realized James may have what it took to bang inside with the league’s centers?

  • d.macaroni

    Where’s Jamaal Magloire when you need him?!?

  • lexluther703

    People forget dude’s got the body of a chiseled Karl Malone, and if you include that explosive athleticism and great instincts, why can’t he guard centers? As strong as he is, ANY center not named Dwight will have trouble bullying him down there, and with his leaping ability, he can create some havoc.. I like this move, so long as it’s for 4 or 5 possessions at a time and not complete games.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Hes nothing special, ive seen this before

  • LA Huey


  • MikeC.

    Anthony Mason was smaller than Lebron and guarded centers on the reg. Lebron might not have Mase’s overall mass (it’s close), but Lebron does have quickness and hops that Mase never had. No reason Lebron can’t guard centers like Camby who have no back to the basket post game.

  • Brown14

    Take the elite centres out of the equation and LeBron will have a field day. He’s big enough and strong enough to bang with most of them, and on the offensive end all the opposing centres are going to see is a tattooed blur flying past them to the cup

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The lineup was Arroyo, Wade, Jones, LeBron and Bosh.
    You could say Bron played center, or you could say he played the four and they just crossmatched on defense.
    But if you say he played center, it makes for more page hits. Lol.

  • barnabusb

    I’m not a LeBron lover by any stretch, but I think it’s a pretty decent idea. How many elite bigs are there in the league these days? A handful? There are plenty of crappy centers that LeBron could handle for small stretches. And he’d destroy them on the offensive end.

  • JTaylor21

    I’m with Tarzan on this one, what the hell is so “special” about this?

  • http://sjfklfsl.com Jukai

    And THIS is why the Heat will not win a championship.

  • greg

    im not really a fan but this win streak on the road caught my attention. they remind me of one of those top high school teams that is just uber athletic on the defensive end leading to many easy baskets. if you cant score on this team, you are going to lose when they get out on the break. with that in mind they can beat orlando barring dwight having a shaqesque performance. lakers will kill them if bynum is healthy tho if not its a toss up

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    Eboy’s right. A couple of possessions? Sure. Anything more exposes his lack of back to the basket game and runs into problems offensively and against bigger teams.

  • http://slamonline.com JJAkroyd

    I remember this exact story a couple summers back with Team USA. Funnily enough, no one was talking about the ‘elite centres’ or calling out Coach K.

  • http://www.nba.com/heat/ The Angel of Stern

    This is fine for the regular season against regular season teams but if spo tries to pull this against the celtics/lakers/magic im gonna have a heart attack .

  • http://yahoo.com The Ambassador

    I would love to see Lebron playing against Dwight at the five. This is another reason why Lebron is better than Kobe he can guard old skinny centers and Kobe cant.

  • bnets

    LeBron is 6’8 270 of muscle, Im sure he can play center against anybody plus he will be quicker and faster than all of them

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Defend Camby for five or ten? Okay. But LeBron has no post game whatsoever. Also, his stationary vertical ain’t all that – he’s no Dwight Howard under the basket. Also, after watching the Heat-Blazers game and the Heat-Bucks game, their offence stinks. A lot of passing around the perimeter and and not a lot of movement without the ball. The Celtics will crush this team in a seven game series.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    And, this is why Larry Bird can play all five positions…