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Chris Bosh Expects To Play Center For Heat This Season

When Miami opens the 2012-13 season against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 30, Chris Bosh, a natural forward, said he expects to be listed as the starting center.

“It’s becoming natural to me,” Bosh told ESPN.com. “I have a very unique opportunity to do something very special for myself and my team. I think all the time that you have to evolve and get better. This is me evolving as a player.”

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound power forward said he was reluctant to make the change after dabbling at center in his time with the Toronto Raptors. Teammate LeBron James   also initially shied away from playing down low, as well as being labeled as a point guard, with the Heat, preferring the comfort zone of small forward.

But James seemed more open to other roles and labels last season, earning the nickname “1-through-5” from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra for his ability to guard each position.

After seeing the results and the persistence of his coaches, Bosh ultimately relented as well. In Miami’s amorphous lineup, the 28-year-old Bosh essentially manned the center role in the playoffs, playing next to forward Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier as opposed to centers Joel Anthony or Ronny Turiaf s in each of his nine postseason starts.

“It kept happening,” Bosh said. “It’s been happening since my rookie year. When I signed in Miami, I said, ‘That’s it. No more 5!’ Next thing I know, I’m there again.

“And the coaches, I was just listening to what they were saying. They said, ‘We’re a much better team with you at the 5.’ I said, ‘Well … OK.’ Next thing I know we win a championship. It’s like, ‘Well. I’ve done myself a great service. And I’m gonna be at the center.’ There’s really no debating that. I just accept it and see how I can get better at it.”

Bosh worked on his 3-point range before last season to make himself more flexible for Spoelstra’s nontraditional style, and the Miami Herald reported Sunday that Bosh added 6 pounds of lean muscle to ready himself for a season at center for the Heat, who signed shooters Ray Alen and Rashard Lewis this summer but again failed to add much help down low.

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