LeBron gives Miami unmatched flexibility
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Through struggle and disappointment, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra discovered a conventional offense with conventional labels didn’t work for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of his team’s contributors.
With so many versatile players, Spoelstra realized he needed them on the court regardless of position. He calls it position-less basketball; no player is a defined point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward or center.
You began to hear about Spoelstra’s position-less philosophy last season. You heard about it during the Olympics when the USA often played without a true center. You will hear about it often this season as Miami expands the concept.
“Not only was it something we felt that we had the ability to do,” Spoelstra said of putting five on the floor without regard to positions, “but we eventually found out that this team requires that we play that way. It’s not just simply an option.
“For us to fully unlock the strength and versatility of this team, I learned the painful way we’re required to play this way. We have to play that way for us to fully reach our potential. That took some time and forced all of us to get out of our comfort level.”
What exactly is position-less basketball? In simplest terms, it’s having players who can play multiple positions on the court at the same time.
“I’ve found, through pain of the (losing) 2011 Finals, I needed to look at this team in a different lens,” Spoelstra said. “And that was key for us to play more position-less, to put our best players out there and to create a system where guys could fully utilize their versatility of playing multiple positions.”
It works for the Heat for two reasons. First, they have the players to execute it. Second, they don’t have a true center.
Spoelstra says if Miami had a dominant low-post big man (think Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum or former Heat big men Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal), the Heat could and would play a more conventional style. That’s not the Heat’s personnel.
James is one of the most versatile players offensively and … [For more on LeBron James provides Miami Heat with unmatched flexibility, click here.]