PF: Udonis Haslem vs. Kevin Garnett
Haslem is a mini-Garnett with 20% of the defensive acumen and 65% of the jumper. He’s the Heat’s fifth option on offense among their starters. It’s a little unfair to put Haslem here, since he’s a starter in name only; despite being their regular starter last season Haslem averaged fewer than 19 minutes per game in 2012-13.
True to form, he’s started the team’s first two games but has played fewer minutes (33) than LeBron James has played in each game (37, 38). The Heat prefer to take out Haslem and put in Shane Battier or Ray Allen, sliding James over to power forward and running a more spread-out offense.
Garnett is a monster defensively and arguably the league’s best spot-up mid-range shooter. Even with his age and health issues, he’s still got a significant advantage over Haslem.
Head-to-head: Like you’d expect, Garnett beats Haslem out all over the place: in 19 regular season games, Garnett’s teams are 13-6 against Haslem’s, and Garnett wipes the floor with Haslem statistically, averaging close to 19 points and 12 rebounds per game on 54% shooting when the two go head-to-head.
Middle name alert: Lot of potential here. Kevin Garnett’s middle name is the criminally underrated Maurice, but Haslem’s middle name is the rare “Johneal.” What is Johneal? Who thought of Johneal? Did his parents mean to write “John Neal” and just stuck the names together? We need — nay, I demand answers.