Why the Miami Heat Need Andray Blatche More Than Chris "Birdman" Andersen
Okay, let's get one thing out of the way here—both of these guys have some serious problems.
With these two, it's a matter of picking your poison. Chris Andersen was the subject of an extensive investigation this summer, he's been banned from the NBA for banned substance use, and he is, as far as I can tell, a pretty unpleasant dude.
Andray Blatche just has an attitude problem. While this is something that he needs to work on, it's certainly something that can be fixed, especially in a system full of talented vets who will be ready to help mentor the young man.
Both of these guys would benefit from the veteran leadership in Miami, but at this point in their careers Blatche seems much more salvageable. He also has tremendous upside and could come to the Miami Heat extremely cheap and put up some quality numbers off the bench.
Andersen's primary problem is that he has never seen any consistent playing time in the league.
The most minutes he's ever averaged per game has been 22.3 during the 2009-10 season with the Denver Nuggets and he's only started in 10 games in his entire 10-year career. He's not a big scorer and has never averaged more than 7.7 points per game (2004-05).
His value comes with his ability to get into the paint and grab rebounds. Over the course of his career, he's averaged 5.2 rebounds per game. He's also a big time shot-blocker, averaging 1.6 blocks per game.
With all of that in mind, Andersen could come in and contribute some value off the bench for the Heat, who lack a solid defender and rebounder in the paint.
It's really not worth it, though. Andersen isn't as good as his numbers indicate and all he'll do is be a major distraction in the Heat clubhouse.
That isn't to say that Blatche is the model for mental stability. He was amnestied by the Wizards this offseason after being one of the worst players on the team in the 2011-12 season. He was clearly unhappy to be in Washington.
I think putting Blatche in a situation where he would actually be contributing to a winning team will turn around not just his performance but his attitude on and off the court. Blatche is getting pretty desperate to find a home this offseason and if the Heat oblige, they'd be getting someone with tremendous upside.
Blatche scored 16.8 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game in 2010-11, while averaging 33.9 minutes. Those are impressive numbers for a guy who was drafted late in the second round.
Sure, Blatche does not offer the same defensive upside as Andersen. He doesn't rebound as well either but he has proven that he can be a contributor and actually has several years of experience as a starter in this league.
Blatche would know upon agreeing with Miami that he will no longer start. His role would be to come off the bench and possibly get 15-20 minutes for the team. He would be great in that capacity and he could be the big-guy off the bench that the Heat desperately need. He's a fairly versatile scorer and a solid player all-around who's just coming off a bad year.
Blatche or Birdman?
When you think about it, Blatche has been subjected to playing with the Washington Wizards for his entire seven-year career. Yes, he's in the NBA, making a ton of money and has no right to complain, but that much losing would drive anyone crazy.
The Heat win; Blatche needs to experience a winning organization. This offseason has been a huge wake-up call for him, and he now understands that he's not guaranteed anything in this league. He'll be more motivated than ever to contribute, and the Heat would be wise to pick him up and play him off the bench.
Andersen isn't worth the legal trouble and he lacks the upside of Blatche. Give Blatche the chance and he might be able to shine once again, this time seeing his efforts go to a winning club.
That should make him happy.
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