NBA Rumors: Breaking Down Best Options at Center for Miami Heat
Despite winning the NBA championship in June, the Miami Heat are not a perfect team. They are probably the best team in the Eastern Conference, but there is a dog fight at the top between Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Chicago (with Derrick Rose) and the Heat.
The biggest area of weakness is at the center position. The Heat have been playing a patchwork game of tall players in that spot for the last two years, with middling results.
Despite being late in the free-agent process, there are a few names still out there rumored to be on the Heat's radar who can at least fill in well enough at the spot.
According to Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel, Josh Harrellson and Chris Andersen are the two most likely candidates to be available for the Heat.
So who is the best fit for the defending NBA champs?
2011-12 stats with New York Knicks: 4.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, .423 FG % in 37 games
What Harrellson lacks in numbers he makes up for in youth and potential. I don't think he is going to turn into a quality NBA center, but at 6'10", 275 pounds and 23 years, there is plenty to dream on.
The Heat would likely be able to sign him cheaply, which is good because they don't have much money available to play with. So it is on them to find creative ways to plug the biggest hole they have.
Harrellson is probably a bench player at this level. He is not very assertive with the ball, nor does he have the strength and aggressiveness to take control in the paint, so his upside is still limited.
That said, you can invest a little bit of money on youth, get him some coaching and hope to catch lightning in a bottle with Harrellson.
2011-12 stats with Denver Nuggets: 5.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, .546 FG % in 32 games
Which Player Should The Heat Sign To Be Their Primary Center?
Andersen is in an interesting position. He is 34 years old, coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in July and had one of the worst seasons of his career.
Chris Andersen had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee about 4 weeks ago. Begins light training Monday. Will be fine come training camp.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) August 4, 2012
He has never been a picture of health, but you can't even count on him to play more than 45 games in a season anymore because he hasn't done it since 2009-10.
However, on strictly a performance level, Andersen is better than Harrellson right now. It is not like he is substantially better, so it all comes down to how healthy a team deems his knees to be.
The Heat can take risks if they want to because they are so top-heavy. They don't need impact here, and Andersen is still able to provide a bit of a spark at the center position.
Who Is The Best Fit?
For me, the Heat should bring Harrellson on board. He has youth and doesn't have the baggage that Andersen does.
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