May 8, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Rashard Lewis (9) shoots past Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic (33) during the first half in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat Could Use Rashard Lewis at Center... Wait, What?

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Whose is smallest?

That’s the competition between the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets, who both represent the positionsless basketball movement going on in the NBA (almost in caricature fashion).

The Nets have experimented with three-point shooting power forward Mirza Teletovic at center at times this series. As Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel points out, one counter for the Heat could be playing Rashard Lewis at center.

That could be where Lewis’ length and athleticism come into play.

“And that’s why we pursued him so hard two years ago,” he told the Sun Sentinel. “But that’s also why our roster is the way it is, that guys can play multiple positions.”

Zach Lowe of Grantland explained on the B.S. Report recently that this could be the only way the Nets could compete with the Heat. Kevin Garnett, or at least his body, hasn’t done much to help the Nets this series. Taking him out of the game could be addition by subtraction.

However, the Nets already lost Brook Lopez for the center and went smaller by moving KG to center. Brooklyn could move rookie Mason Plumlee into the starting lineup, but he has seemed overwhelmed in this second-round of the NBA playoffs.

The only option might be an extreme one—moving a hot-shooting Teletovic to the middle. That could stretch Miami’s defense and give guys like Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston room to post up on the Heat guards.

The Nets would have to be careful with any sort of chlorine-pool-exposed lineup. Putting Teletovic at the 5 would eliminate any sort of rim protection for Brooklyn on defense, and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade could have a field day.

A possible Nets lineup could look like this:

PG: Deron Williams

SG: Shaun Livingston

SF: Joe Johnson

PF: Paul Pierce

C: Mirza Teletovic

If the Nets wanted to sit Williams and Pierce, too, it could look like:

PG: Shaun Livingston

SG: Marcus Thorton

SF: Joe Johnson

PF: Andrei Kirilenko

C: Mirza Teletovic

To matchup, the Heat could go with:

PG: Mario Chalmers

SG: Dwyane Wade

SF: Shane Battier

PF: LeBron James

C: Rashard Lewis

Wait, where is Chris Bosh? Would playing a swingman at center force Miami to sit Bosh?

“It’s more important for us to be able to do it, than for us to be able to try to match up,” Spoelstra said of successfully playing small. “That’s not our absolute priority and objective. We’re trying to get to our game. If we have to go to a deeper level of versatility, we won’t hesitate to do it for certain possessions, and we feel we have the roster to be able to do it.”

Miami’s lineup doesn’t suffer from negatives like Garnett right now, so matching up against the Nets for long periods of time doesn’t seem necessary. Bosh and the others are plenty athletic enough to keep up with a small Nets lineup. Still, a little bit of Sweet Lew at the 5 isn’t out of the question.

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Tags: Miami Heat NBA Playoffs Rashard Lewis

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