During the 2013 playoffs we all saw how close the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers were. The defending champs only managed to crack the Pacers’ resistance in Game 7 and they did that with much difficulty. Every NBA fan is eagerly waiting to see the rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The two teams made sure to perform several moves, strengthen their armor as they get ready for the final battle.
Andrew Bynum is the latest piece of the puzzle for Frank Vogel’s group. But will he have a determining role in the outcome of the game? And could we say the same for Miami Heat’s reborn center, Greg Oden?
As things look at the moment, this battle goes above and beyond just Oden and Bynum. Let’s see why.
The main reason the Pacers were able to post some real troubles for the Indiana Pacers last season was Roy Hibbert and his ability to shut down the paint. Hibbert, David West and the Pacers’ frontline prevented LeBron James and the Miami Heat from unfolding their game in a full scale. LeBron and Dwyane Wade weren’t able to finish close to the rim, the Heat were smashed on the glass, on both ends of the floor and on top of that, the Pacers got second and third chances to score thanks to Hibbert’s dominance.
Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and the rest of Miami’s coaching staff clearly saw the issue the Heat have. In fact, Miami has been thin in their center position since the formation of the Big Three. Nonetheless, the team was able to overcome its weakness, thanks to LeBron’s heroics and the clutch performances from Wade and Bosh. But that wasn’t a long-term solution.
That’s why the Heat experiment with lots of different centers. They brought Eddy Curry back from the “lost and found” tank two seasons ago, they signed Chris Andersen and this summer they decided to start the Greg Oden experiment.
Up to now, Oden has shown promising signs. Whilst he is not putting up huge numbers, he is providing to the team exactly what it needs, size, bulk and a quality presence inside. Of course, Greg Oden is not the player he once was. He is gradually improving his condition and getting his game back. But even though he is not at his best, he is still a valuable piece for the Heat going forward. Oden will be give more responsibilities when the Heat enter the playoffs and they match up against teams with size inside. The Pacers are the first ones to come in mind, right?
On the other hand, we can fairly say that Andrew Bynum is not as essential for the Pacers as Oden is for the Heat. Indiana does have one of the best centers in the league, in Roy Hibbert and they also have a big-sized backup, in Ian Mahinmi. On top of that, it’s still unknown how much Bynum will be able and also wants to offer to Indiana. There is no doubt he has talent. But how much of it will we see till the end of the season?
One thing is for sure. The big-men battle between the two teams will certainly be exciting for fans to watch this season.
Ron Leyba is the content manager of Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – premier source of fantasy basketball updates, rankings and rumors. For more of his fantasy basketball updates, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ account.