James, Wade bracing Heat in post


James, Wade bracing Heat in post

MIAMI For all that the Miami Heat has done to bolster their roster, there still remains a gaping hole in the middle which you would think might hinder their ability to score in the paint.

But the Heat have done what the Heat tend to do when they need something -- go to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Although both have made a killing off their ability to score in transition and beat players off the dribble, each has an emerging low-post game, making them -- and the Heat -- a lot tougher to contend with.

"The way this team is built, we need (Wade) and LeBron to be a post presence for us," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "They need to establish that game down there so that we can play inside-out and not be an exclusive pick-and-roll, penetration team."

Spoelstra added, "You can still play in and out as well as any big team when you think of teams that post their 4s (power forwards) and 5s (centers). We just do it a little inverted with our perimeter players."

The idea of James becoming more of a post threat makes sense when you consider he's 6-foot-8 with the strength of a power forward and blessed with the skills of a point guard.

But the evolution of Wade into a post player takes a little more time to wrap your arms around conceptually.

At 6-4, Wade's ability to slash into the lane has made him one of the league's most dynamic players, a former NBA Finals MVP.

But Wade understands as well as anyone the need for his game to continue to grow if the Heat are to achieve their ultimate goal which is to win another NBA title.

"It's something I've developed, something I'm comfortable with," Wade said.

But when he does go into the post, Wade's not necessarily looking to score.

Consider him akin to Kevin Garnett -- but seven inches shorter -- in terms of going into the post to be more of a facilitator to the offense either as a scorer or passer.

"Sometimes posting gets you closer to the rim, and I'm a willing passer out of the post as well," Wade said. "If I have a matchup where they feel the need to come and double, I'm able to get my shooters, cutters, other opportunities to the basket. I'm very comfortable playing in the post, mid-post area."