Seeing as how we are very likely to get lots of Dexter Pittman tomorrow night in Toronto, its as good of a time as ever to examine where this prospect can end up with the Miami Heat.
Pittman entered college at an astounding 380 pounds. Even at 6′ 11”, that is very heavy. Of course when playing for a Pat Riley team, you must be at a certain body fat percentage in order to play. Pittman has been working tirelessly to drop weight and get leaner.
It has paid off. Pittman has dropped his weight all the way down to 300 pounds, and says he is at 12% body fat. By shedding the weight, Pittman is demonstrating a strong work ethic and the will to be the Miami Heat’s center of the future.
Pat Riley has a history of developing big men. There are the obvious greats, in Pat Ewing and Alonzo Mourning, I’m not saying Pittman will ever be on their level. Rather comparing him to the likes of an Isaac Austin or even a Joel Anthony.
While at Texas, Pittman showed good hands in the low post. Scoring easily over the much smaller defenders. Obviously the NBA is a much different game. There are centers strong enough to keep him from imposing his will.
I believe Pittman has a chance to be exactly what the Heat need from the center position. As long as he continues to work hard and get more mobile, Miami can use his size to set screens and rebound while offering a semblance of an offensive low post game. Something Miami is currently lacking.
Having Joel Anthony on the roster should help motivate Pittman. Who can use Anthony’s unmatched work ethic as an example of how to be successful in the league.
Centers are very hard to find in today’s NBA. The Boston Celtics are a great example of how valuable the position can be. They have basically been a .500 team since losing Kendrick Perkins.
Pat Riley does not have much patience and will almost certainly look to add a center during free agency this off-season, however Pittman has shown that he can play.
Pittman spent most of the season in the NBA’s developmental league with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Better numbers than any center on the Heat.
Obviously that is not a very fair comparison, considering Pittman is facing worse competition and would not even come close to getting the same amount of touches in Miami. Nonetheless, the numbers do suggest that he could be of value.