Dec 1, 2011, 5:46 PM EDT
Joel Anthony averaged just 2.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Miami Heat last season. Yet if you ask the right people, they’ll preach of his on-court value. Anthony is considerably undersized for the center position, but his smart decisions, constant activity, and impressive lateral quickness make him an excellent team defender. Anthony has some rather glaring flaws (Erick Dampier is envious of Anthony’s true mastery of the fumbled pass), but he plays well in spite of them and has won over a certain subset of hardcore basketball fans as a result.
But even the most hardcore of the known Anthony supporters pale in their zeal next to Heat center Dexter Pittman. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com’s Heat Index caught up with Pittman at Miami’s unofficial workout on Thursday, when he apparently needed to get a few things off his chest about the Heat’s center position and Anthony’s play last season:
As a big man on the roster, [Pittman] has taken it personally when people claim that the Heat lack inside presence, calling it “a slap in the face.” Pittman thinks very, very highly of his teammate Joel Anthony. “We’re big guys. You saw what Joel Anthony did. He altered a lot of shots and blocked a lot of shots. He was one of the best players in the NBA last year.”
Pittman had one of the best seats in the house for Miami’s games last season, but he seems to have taken his enthusiasm for the defensive pick-and-roll read a bit far. We’re all guilty of exaggeration from time-to-time, but let’s all just take a deep breath before we start submitting Anthony’s name for All-NBA consideration, Dex.