Dexter Pittman Patiently Waits to Help Miami Heat Fill Void in Middle
Joel Anthony can only do so much with his 6-foot-9 frame -- he's just one inch taller than LeBron James -- and his limited offensive game. Zydrunas Ilgauskas may well be their best jump shooter but has obviously slowed down and won't play full-time. Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem working in tandem doesn't appear to be enough of a defensive presence inside during crunch time.
A second (or third?) look at free agent Erick Dampier is rumored to be taking place now that his deal with the Houston Rockets has fallen apart. There doesn't appear to be many other options that can help out in the short term, even though Heat president Pat Riley is surely open to pulling the trigger on a deal should the right player become available.
Perhaps it's time for the coaching staff to throw their rookie center Dexter Pittman into the fire, at the very least giving him garbage-time minutes when the Heat have a comfortable lead against some of the NBA's weaker teams. For his part, Pittman is content waiting instead of fretting too much.
"Coach was pretty blunt with me," Pittman told FanHouse following Wednesday's practice, one day after the Heat's loss to the Utah Jazz. "He said I'm a developmental player, and that's what I am. I knew that when I came into this league there was a lot I had to learn, and that's what I'm doing. I love to sit back and learn. Coach always tells me he loves how active I am around the rim."
The carousel of inactive players for each game has included Juwan Howard and Jerry Stackhouse joining the injured Mike Miller in street clothes on the sidelines. Pittman has yet to enter a regular-season game and get his first NBA minutes. There's no question he's raw, as his up-and-down play in Summer League in Las Vegas proved. But he's also 6-11 and quickly shedding pounds as he gets leaner and stronger to roll with the big boys in the NBA.
"Hey, time is time, it's not going to go anywhere. As much time as I need to develop, then I'm going to take advantage of it," insisted Pittman with a smile. "It's just being ready whenever your name is called. I went through it my freshman year in college with Kevin Durant. I sat on the bench but I learned a lot from him. I'm sitting back and learning a lot from LeBron, D-Wade and especially Bosh. I'm learning a lot from him.
"And whenever it's time for me to step on the court, I'm going to put everything that I learned from them in my repertoire."