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Are the Heat ushering in a new era of "Position-less" basketball?


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#1 MDI

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Posted July 23, 2012 - 10:17 PM

Miami Heat not alone in 'position-less' approach


LAS VEGAS —
The last time Miami Heat team President Pat Riley had oatmeal for breakfast was probably when was leading a team in Los Angeles that went by the nickname "Showtime."

His preferred breakfast choice, just like the NBA, has changed since the 1980s. With the Heat adopting a "position-less" approach to their roster, the days of players specializing in one area are nearing an end. The new NBA is about versatility, and Riley has the Heat ahead of the game with their collection of multi-talented players.

"The game today is different than it was five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago," Riley said. "…It's sort of a position-less game. We don't talk about point guards anymore, two guards or shooting guards or power forwards. As a matter of fact, when the word power forward comes out, I want to eat some oatmeal."

Riley was referring to oatmeal being a thing of the past. Nowadays, the league is about fruit smoothies to help keep up with a quicker pace. The Heat in the offseason added guard Ray Allen and forward Rashard Lewis more for their versatility than 3-point shooting.

Allen can play shooting guard or small forward while Lewis is capable of playing both forward spots. They join the likes of Mike Miller, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier and Chris Bosh, who have all proven they can play multiple positions.

James played everywhere but center during his MVP season, and Battier and Bosh both were effective despite playing from their natural spots.
"It's just recently got like that," Bosh said earlier this week. "I think this past series [the NBA Finals] that was played is going to change basketball. I think a lot of kids out there are seeing how fast the game is. We had some success doing it so I think a lot of other teams will have that position, or attempt to have that position, where everybody is quick enough to guard everybody and everybody can put the ball on the floor and make plays."

The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals in a showcase of two of the league's most versatile teams. The Thunder's core of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden were used offensive and defensively in multiple ways throughout the series.

The league has slowly shifted from teams featuring the "defensive-stopper" and "3-pointer shooter" to a collection of players who have no designated role.

"I think all the good teams are getting away from having just specialists," Boston Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue said. "I'd rather have a guy who can do four out of five things than just do one thing. Give me a guy that can do a little bit of everything and I think that makes your team better."

Riley said the disappearance of centers and power forwards has sped the transition. With dominant 7-footers a rarity — Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum — it has allowed smaller players to handle positions usually reserved for bigger guys. Versatility has replaced size in terms of wants for coaches and general managers.

"There's no more Alonzos or Patricks," said Riley, referring to Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing. "There's two or three centers in the league that you can actually throw in to and create a power offense."

Several teams, including the New York Knicks, have begun to follow the Heat's lead. Assistant coach Herb Williams said it especially benefited Miami because it enabled coach Erik Spoelstra to play James for longer stretches. James averaged a league-high 42.8 minutes during the playoffs.

"You want that as much as you can," Williams said. "Now, you've got a guy who's going to play two, three positions. That makes it a lot easier on the coach … When you've got one of the top forwards in the league, that means he's on the floor for a longer period of time. You don't have to take him out. You can match him up with other people."


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#2 LakersMaster52

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Posted July 24, 2012 - 01:15 AM

Very few teams would be able to pull this off. There are not many Lebrons out there that can play practically every position. These type of squads will be few and far in between.

#3 bigfetz

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Posted July 24, 2012 - 03:18 AM

It ridiculous to even think that becasue theres very few player that can play most of the positions like lebron. Also the heat arent really position-less. There really just guards and power forwards. So no real PG and no real Center. In the perfect senerio i.e. the heat it works but with most teams that would try it it wouldn't.

As long as theres basketball centers will always be around.

#4 Ham

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Posted July 24, 2012 - 09:57 AM

Durant, Melo, and Lebron are pretty much the only players that can do that type of thing efficiently. Other than that this idea wouldn't really work with every team.

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#5 David

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Posted July 25, 2012 - 01:27 PM

The Heat can have a line up (non-starting) of

Chalmers
Allen
Wade
Lebron
Bosh

Scary

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#6 steven v

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Posted July 26, 2012 - 08:42 AM

when another "shaq like" player enters the league this theory goes away.
The Lakers FO knows more than you. Sorry.

#7 Simba

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Posted July 26, 2012 - 09:28 AM

Miami has the luxury of playing guys out of position because of Lebron. His ability to make the game easier for everyone else, defend multiple positions, and cover up for others mistakes allows them to move guys around. No other team in the league can do it, and unless a guy of Lebron's caliber comes around I highly doubt this will be something that teams move towards.

Edited by Simba, July 26, 2012 - 09:29 AM.

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#8 Kobe>Jordan

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Posted July 26, 2012 - 07:37 PM

Stop. It's all about match ups. You won't see Lebron playing Center against Dwight or Bynum. Kobe can play PG, SG, SF, F...I'm tired of the Lebron is the most versatile player argument...because Kobe's been doing it since he came out of Highschool.

#9 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted July 26, 2012 - 07:40 PM

LeBron IS the most versatile player, that much is a fact. He can play 4 positions effectively and can body up against undersized 5's on the defensive end. Kobe can't do that. No way Kobe can body up against the big men in this league, he's just not big or strong enough.

#10 David Hillman

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Posted August 01, 2012 - 08:46 PM

Interestingly the Lakers seem headed in the exact opposite direction, with very defined player roles. Nash is nothing but a point guard, and so is Blake ( last season's lunacy notwithstanding ). Bynum is a center. World Peace is a 3. Gasol and Kobe are two-position guys, but that's really it as far as their flexibility is concerned. Kobe is really the only one on the roster that you'd describe as a "guard-forward". Everyone else is a center, a guard, or a forward.

#11 cobyjacks

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Posted August 01, 2012 - 09:40 PM

All I know is, they better have some positions when/if they meet us in the finals. Let Bron try to play Drew(hopefully howard) then we'll see how versatile he truly is.

#12 MDI

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Posted August 01, 2012 - 09:44 PM

The Heat basically won with no size. Bunch of 6'7 to 6'9 mobile guys covering ground. They try to make up for length with position defense and 3 point shooting. Im not sure if Jumpshooting will fly during an 82 game grueling season with multiple long roadtrips AND the playoffs

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#13 PhillyLaker24

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Posted August 01, 2012 - 09:45 PM

when another "shaq like" player enters the league this theory goes away.


Will considering the last player to dominate down low like shaq was Wilt its gonna be another 30 or so years, so dont hold your breath.

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#14 MDI

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Posted August 01, 2012 - 09:49 PM

Im not sure if another Shaq like player can dominate today's game. The rules are different. You can double a post player off the ball or basically box him and deny him position. Best way to defend length is to deny the ball. Also an ideal big man for today's game needs to be super mobile who can cover some ground.

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#15 Kobe>Jordan

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Posted August 21, 2012 - 10:13 PM

They are ushering in a fluke championship actually where they will be demoralized by the Lakers during the regular season, and get beaten by the 76ers in next year's playoffs.

#16 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted August 21, 2012 - 11:03 PM

There is no such thing as a fluke championship. They won the title, deal with it.

#17 bigfetz

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Posted August 21, 2012 - 11:07 PM

Yeah the heat won it and they were the best. Even with Rose out they could have still won it. Would have been close but no one will ever know. But in no way was it a fluke. You dont get to the nba championship twice on a fluke.

#18 Kobe>Jordan

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Posted August 25, 2012 - 09:03 PM

LeBron IS the most versatile player, that much is a fact. He can play 4 positions effectively and can body up against undersized 5's on the defensive end. Kobe can't do that. No way Kobe can body up against the big men in this league, he's just not big or strong enough.


Let's see him body up Dwight or bynum. Kobe seems to post lebron up just fine last I checked...

#19 Kobe>Jordan

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Posted August 25, 2012 - 09:04 PM

There is no such thing as a fluke championship. They won the title, deal with it.


They would have to do it again for it to not be a fluke.

#20 bfc1125roy

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Posted August 25, 2012 - 10:14 PM

They just need a real big man to put them and their position less basketball back in their place :P




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