As the Miami Heat’s season has progressed, the defending champs have been exposed. The team has a glaring weakness, whichc is rebounding. Miami ranks second-to-last in rebounds per game, which is clearly not a statistic you would expect to see from a championship-contender.
Coach Erik Spoelstra’s “small-ball” rotation is backfiring. Playing Chris Bosh at center as well as Shane Battier often at power forward gives opponents an immediate size advantage. Although Bosh has the size at 6-11 to be a solid center, he’s never been a dominant presence down low.
The Heat have consistently let up huge rebounding nights all season long, with most notably when they let Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic to walk all over them and grab an astonishing 29 boards. While Vucevic has had a nice season so far, he’s not the type of player you would expect to dominate the paint like that.
In the Heat’s most recent loss against the Indiana Pacers, they were out-rebounded 55-36. More specifically, Indiana grabbed 15 more offensive rebounds. Miami could have easily won this game if they didn’t give away 15 possessions.
While Pat Riley is likely to fill the two open roster spots with frontcourt depth. However, washed-up veterans such as Chris “Birdman” Andersen or Kenyon Martin won’t solve anything. They won’t be the ones on the court in crunch time in the playoffs, because it’s gonna be the starters and key role players, such as Bosh and Udonis Haslem that need to step it up.
Bosh is averaging 7.6 boards, which is the lowest it’s been since his rookie season. Haslem, though experiencing limited minutes, is having the worst rebounding season of his career with about five a game. That’s not what you want to hear out of a guy who has prided himself as a hustling, blue-collar player.
The Heat can make people forget about this whole rebounding issue on nights when they remind you why they are the champs and shoot lights out from the field. However, when the shots aren’t falling, their weaknesses become more evident.