MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lost amidst the hubbub of Super Bowl weekend, the Indiana Pacers signed center Andrew Bynum. The signing put a third seven-foot, at one-time star, on the Pacers roster and continued setting the stage for an Eastern Conference playoff matchup with the Miami Heat.
The Heat had been rumored to be a possible landing spot for Bynum, the one-time Lakers All-Star. But Bynum was a shell of himself this year after taking last year off and was reportedly so much of a locker room problem that he was being paid by Cleveland to stay away from the team.
So should the Heat worry about Bynum being added as another big to the rotation for the Pacers?
There’s no easy answer to the question because the Pacers are a much more complete team in years past and have the ability to give the Heat fits in a multitude of ways. From David West and Roy Hibbert to Lance Stephenson and Paul George, the Pacers have plenty of firepower.
But the Heat’s pursuit of a three-peat may not be impacted that much from Bynum signing with the Pacers.
The Heat are banking on Greg Oden, who the team knows more about than anyone, being able to give them a few minutes a game as a big body for Hibbert to bang on and have to cover up and down the court.
If Hibbert, or Bynum, move to double-team Chris Bosh or another Heat player; Oden can be right under the basket for the easy dunk. Oden can also get tough rebounds and force Hibbert and Bynum to play a more physical style while letting the rest of the Heat to get out in transition.
Oden is the type of hard-working, team-first guy the current version of the Miami Heat like to have on the roster. His hard work is paying off each week and if he can stay healthy throughout the playoffs, it gives the Heat another weapon to throw at teams like Indiana.
But if/when the Heat and Pacers meet in the playoffs, it will be a test of the Heat’s preferred method of position-less small ball against the Pacers’ more traditional style. So far, when it’s counted the most, the Heat have come out ahead. What happens this year is still a long ways off.