NBA Free Agency 2012: 8 Big Men Miami Heat Must Avoid
The free-agent season is a couple of months away, and it's a safe bet that the Heat will once again be on a quest to bring in someone who can make their world whole in the post. The incentive to take a gamble on some shaky players will definitely be felt, considering the Heat's monetary limitations and the scarcity of sure-fire solutions on the market this year.
There are a few players the Heat would be well advised to avoid in their avidness (alliteration not intended) to score that not-so-obvious missing piece to their puzzle of perfection. Some guys may seem low-risk with a high pay-off, but these dollars and roster spots must not go misused, nor the right players be allowed to pass them by.
Here are a couple of bigs the Heat should be wary of signing this summer...
Fesenko does have something to offer: a wide body that's hard to push around. However, thus far this is the extent of his contribution on the court.
He's dreadfully unpolished, and not the kind of guy you'd regularly want on the receiving end of those pinpoint post passes. The Heat's sisyphean quest for a viable center could lead them to hastily consider Fesenko, overlooking the fact that he brings nothing to the table—aside from a little raw size— that their current crop of centers doesn't already.
Against all odds, people still see in Kwame Brown a shred of the potential that made him the first overall pick in 2001—which explains why he not only still has a job, but apparently some trade value. There's something to be said about the fact that teams are still interested in his services despite the word "bust" being written all over him in neon letters.
That said, Brown is still trying to tap into that potential over 10 years into his career, which stands as an oddity on its own. The Heat aren't looking for a project to develop over time, they want answers now. This fact alone should dissuade them from going after Kwame. For Miami, the time is now, not soon.
On a side note, imagine, if you will, two of the worst hands in the NBA trying to catch all those split-second LeBron dishes...
Randolph has size, some scoring ability and a wingspan that can give him a real edge in the rebounding and shot-blocking departments. He can (and has) played all three frontcourt positions and, in general, he's regarded as one of the more athletically gifted youngsters in the league.
It will be mighty tempting for Miami to roll the dice on Anthony Randolph, what with his untapped upside and athletic gifts. However, Randolph is still very much on the raw side, and has yet to establish an identity as a player in this league, and the Heat need someone who can come right in and play his game, not spend half a season figuring out where he fits in.
If they were to take even a brief peek at Jeffries, there's one thing the Heat would have to accept: He's probably never going to be usable as an offensive player. His scoring ability is non-existent, he has no idea how to get to the line and, when he does, he lays more bricks than the third little pig.
Jeffries' only contribution is defense—which allowed him to seem particularly useful in the recent Knicks' Tyson Chandler-inspired paradigm shift—but stopping power is among those things the Heat are capable of squeezing out of their current pivot rotation.
They'd be well-advised to opt against a long, lanky defender with which to shore up an area that doesn't really need shoring up—much less at the expense of other improvements.
Hasheem Thabeet is currently on his way to being one of the worst draft picks in a long, long time. Taken second in 2009 for his immense size—which is typically expected to translate positively at the pro level with the proper development—Thabeet has since served as little more than an overgrown prop with his complete lack of mobility and near-fatal deficiencies in his two-way skill set.
This will not keep potential employers—Miami probably included—from salivating over his size and grossly untapped potential to be at least a poor man's Manute Bol. They will be tempted to look past his disastrously poor offense and his completely unpolished D, and focus on the possibilities for his 7'4" frame.
LeBron and Co. don't need the headache or the disappointment.
Yi probably possesses the most talent on this list, which actually isn't saying much.
For a near-seven-footer to struggle the way he does on the boards is a pretty serious indictment and, on the whole, he does little to answer the Heat's low-post scoring needs. While his offense can be counted on in small doses, he's equally prone to remarkably bad shooting spells.
He's also not the most aggressive or assertive big man around, a fact which could see him blend into the scenery at all the wrong times. All in all, a shaky (albeit decently skilled) choice to try and fix what's broken in Mouth Beach.
If anybody knows what DeSagana Diop does besides plug the lane and block shots, I'd love to hear it. The Heat aren't exactly at a loss for big bodies to block traffic in the paint; it's no secret that offense is at the top of their wish list.
So, despite the lure of Diop's experience and reputation as having a positive impact when he plays, picking him up would be a lot like doing an appendectomy on someone with a bad heart; it doesn't hurt, but it does leave them with the same unsolved issues. In fact, his addition would only highlight the Heat's weak post offense even more.
Pat Riley has better things to do with his time and money than add to a dimension the team already possesses.
Greg Stiemsma has ample potential as a shot-blocker and rainy-day passing option, as he's been showing in limited minutes out in Beantown. His 5.5 blocks per-48 alone should keep his agent's phone ringing once negotiations open up in July, and Pat Riley will likely be among those calling.
Stiemsma still needs a good deal of development before he's ready to make a real difference, and this is not an investment Miami is prepared to make. And even if it was, there's no evidence Stiemsma is the kind of guy who can contribute no matter the system he plays in—the Celtics happen to be a tightly regimented defensive team.