The Miami Heat's new big man doesn't play like one

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

New Miami Heat free-agent signing Josh McRoberts is unique: a big man that has the statistical profile of a point guard.

Josh McRoberts is not normal. He's a large human playing basketball, which is rather mundane in itself: the NBA is lousy with large humans, and being a normal-sized human is far more of an outlier. (Ask Isaiah Thomas' free agency prospects for proof.) What's abnormal about the 6'10 Josh McRoberts, a large basketball-playing human, is that he plays like a much smaller guy. A much, much smaller guy.

McRoberts agreed to a full mid-level exception deal -- four years, $23 million -- with the Heat on Monday. One assumes he'll be slotted in as the starting center next to Chris Bosh (assuming he returns) or will be the first big man off the bench in small lineups. But honestly, he's better served as a back-up or replacement for Dwyane Wade, because McBob is not really an NBA big man. In fact, he's really the league's tallest guard.

There are three things that stand out about McBob in 2013-14 statistically: he took a lot of three-pointers, he racked up a lot of assists and he didn't rebound very well. If you look for players who performed similarly to McRoberts in those three categories*, you find the following list.

* For our purposes, "similar to McBob" means at least four threes attempted per 36 minutes, a total rebound rate below 10 percent and an assist rate between 20 and 30 percent. We only included players with at least 1,200 minutes.


If you remove the upper limit on assist rate, you get lots more point guards, including Stephen Curry and the aforementioned Isaiah Thomas. Basically, McBob is a combo guard trapped in a big man's body.

Given that Miami's biggest issues in the Finals were interior defense and rebounding, I'm not sure McRoberts was the right choice. But they do call McBob "JeBron" for a reason. Maybe this signing is just insurance in case LeBron chooses Cleveland. (Which might happen because of the McBob signing, thus making it a self-fulfilling prophecy by Pat Riley.)


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