LeBron James: Pull a Magic Johnson, Play Center More Often for Miami Heat?

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 18:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

LeBron James has been compared to many players throughout his career, from Michael Jordan to Julius Erving and Magic Johnson.

Well, quite frankly, he is LeBron James, he is not anyone else but himself, but that doesn't mean he can't take a page out of some other players handbooks during the course of his career.

That's why I would advocate that the Miami Heat forward make a switch for a handful of minutes a game to play center, and see if it works out for him as well as it did for Magic.

The biggest sticking point to keeping him out of the five spot seems to be head coach Erik Spoelstra, who has seemingly refused to do much in terms of creativity with his team of superstars.

For the most part, Coach Spo has used four lineups to fill 60 percent of the minutes so far this season. How daring.

It seems that with a crew of superstars ready to play for you and a near meaningless regular season, the lure to experiment with the offense would be too much for any coach.

Put James at center, throw Chris Bosh on the wing, have Mario Chalmers bring up the ball and let Dwyane Wade roam around. What defense could cover a big man on the wing, an athletic scorer down low and someone as good as Wade as the wild card on the team.

Some lineups may not work out, but in the grand scheme of things, would it matter? All that would matter is that you know what works best by the time the playoffs roll around.

However, Spoelstra finally took the training wheels off of his offense in a game last week.

With Miami down by seven points with two minutes left in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Joel Anthony came out of the game, James Jones came in and LeBron moved to the five spot.

What happened from there, you might ask? The floor opened up for them on offense, and they buckled down on defense.

Miami outscored Portland 11-5 in the remainder of the fourth quarter and then 14-7 in overtime.

Now, in this game, the battle between James and Marcus Camby when the Blazers had the ball wasn't huge, but the main thing about it is that it worked.

There is also the fact that with Jones playing in the small forward spot for LeBron, they don't give up too much, as he is a good defender in his own right.

James was able to easily hold his own against a strong center who isn't a good scorer in the first place and was able to open up the offensive end of the floor for Miami.

This gives the Heat the opportunity to play their small-ball fast-break offense without Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Anthony in to slow them down.

Yea, it's true that this probably wouldn't work against teams with centers who have well-defined offensive skills such as the Orlando Magic or Los Angeles Lakers, but if they have their second squad in and James is still on the floor, why not run an up-tempo offense with James playing center?

Another thing it does is put the four most productive players on the team on the floor together all at the same time, something that almost never happens.

Statistically speaking, James, Wade, Bosh and Jones are the four most productive players on the Miami Heat, and due to the fact that Jones is used mostly as the backup to James, this lineup is almost never seen.

The three most productive positions for the Miami Heat are obviously the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions, with a huge drop-off coming from the center and point guard positions.

Playing James at center will give a huge boost to a part of their lineup that usually produces very little.

Now, I can already hear many people saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That's true in most cases, but if this team could be even better than they are right now, with very few repercussions if it doesn't work out, then why not give it a shot?

Who knows, moving James around could end up giving the team a little magic.