The NBA season begins in earnest on Tuesday and the marquee game will be a rematch of last season’s eastern conference finals when the Heat face the Celtics. There’s no shortage of bad blood between these two teams and every player is ready to jump into the fray and be part of it.
Well, except Joel Anthoy. According to Ira Winderman, the Heat’s big man is nursing a sore hamstring and has already been ruled out of Tuesday’s game.
That sound you hear is panic coming from South Beach. Actually, no it’s just the waves crashing on the beach. Or maybe it’s the sound of music blaring out from one of the clubs. Or…you get the picture.
On a serious note, not having Anthony certainly affects the Heat. He’s one of their better back up big men due to his defensive presence and work on the glass. Teams have a harder time scoring in the paint when Anthony is in the game and his defensive first mindset is what has endeared him to Eric Spoelstra. With Anthony unavailable, Josh Harrelson may get some floor time or Dexter Pittman may get his name called.
However, what we’ll likely see is more non-traditional lineups. The Heat are moving away from a lineup that depends on a classic big man and instead will play guys who would typically only be power forwards and slide them into the middle. Chris Bosh will play most of his minutes at center and Eric Spoelstra may even throw LeBron into the pivot for limited minutes if the match ups allow it. It is all part of the “position-less” lineups that Spoelstra will play more of this year in the hopes of dictating match ups to his opponent while also getting his best five players on the floor.
So while Joel Anthony will be missed somewhat, the Heat will compensate just fine without him. Don’t throw their championship hopes out the window just yet.