Writing for ESPN’s Miami Heat Index, John Krolik evaluates Heat center (or centre? He is Canadian, after all) Joel Anthony’s season and what he can do to become a more well-rounded player for the Heat. Anthony is active and a solid rebounder and shot blocker, but he’s a non-factor on offense, which hurts the Heat when he’s on the court.
One possible solution? Watch a little Ben Wallace:
Wallace never learned to make free throws, and as he got older he couldn’t really convert layups or dunks very well anymore, but he hid himself exceedingly well offensively by staying in constant motion, making good screens and cuts, and executing surprisingly good passes whenever he had the choice between attempting a contested layup against a rotating defense or feeding an open teammate.
When Wallace played with the Cavaliers in the 2008-09 season, the Cavaliers were shockingly good offensively with a starting offensive frontcourt of Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas — in fact, the Cavaliers were a full four points per 100 possessions better offensively when Wallace played than when he sat. When you consider that Wallace was horrible at both free throws and layups at that point in his career, that’s fairly incredible.
The biggest Wallace myth out there has always been that he’s a liability offensively. The reality is much different. It’s true Wallace was never a scorer and was never a guy who was particularly comfortable catching the ball and trying to post his man up. But, first of all, he’s been an incredible offensive rebounder in his career, which creates extra possessions. He also developed into a very good passer. So, when you combine that passing with the offensive rebounding, you have a player who became pretty good at getting his teammates the ball in spots they liked and in a position where they either had a shot or could set up an even better shot for someone else.
Anthony, like Wallace, will never be a player whose offense scares an opposing team, but if he develops into a crafty player who makes good passes, takes good shots when they are presented and doesn’t turn the ball over, he could really help the Heat improve next season.
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