Reigning MVP LeBron James Miami Heat (22-8) own the best record in the Eastern Conference and the second-most efficient offense in the NBA, but they don't have it all this season. The defense hasn't been up-to-par (they are No. 16 in defensive efficiency) and they rank in the bottom-half of the association in all advanced rebounding-rate categories.
Miami lacks a true center, so the team gives up size in the frontcourt on a nightly basis. LeBron James says he and his teammates need to work together to overcome that deficiency against the better teams in the NBA, but he muddies the waters a bit by saying Heat just don't have the "it" factor when it comes to rebounding (via the Sun Sentinel):
"We don't have a dominant rebounder," forward LeBron James said. "Collectively, we've got to try to help rebound with one another. Right now, we don't have the size, the athleticism to go up there and dominate a rebounding game. We're trying to collectively do it together, try not to give them second-chance points. We're getting killed in that, too."
"Rebounding is not something you work on, it's a knack," James said. "You go up and get rebounds however you do it. You block out, get a rebound. You see it in the air and you kind of read it off the rim. It's not like grade school, where five guys would box out and let the ball hit the ground once and then go get it. It's a knack. Some guys have it, some guys don't. As a collective group, we don't have it right now."
LeBron worked his way into a tricky spot with that quote, as he said rebounding is a "knack" that comes naturally and that it can't be worked on, which gives rise to the idea that Miami may need to add someone to the roster to solve the problem. If the Heat simply "don't have it," and rebounding is a knack that some players just don't have, then the Heat need to pursue someone who does indeed have "it" if they hope to improve in that area.
One man who has "it" is Milwaukee Bucks center Samuel Dalembert. He has been buried on the Bucks' bench for the better part of the past two months, and Heat fans have been asking Sun Sentinel reporter Ira Winderman about a potential trade for weeks. On Friday, Winderman noted that Miami doesn't match up well with Milwaukee in terms of assets, but the bigger issue is that head coach Erik Spoelstra will need the right player to fit into the rotation, as he left Ronny Turiaf and Erick Dampier on the bench during the past two trips to the playoffs.
Can the Heat players turn the tide and get better at grabbing misses without adding another big man to the mix? Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer will present yet another an interesting interior test for Miami on Friday night.