Josh Harrellson wasn't exactly a ground-breaking signing for the Miami Heat, but he certainly shouldn't be underestimated, either. While plenty of names lingered as potential center candidates, including Andray Blatche and Chris Andersen, the second-year big man fits Miami's game plan with the most upside.
Despite being a rather grounded athlete, Harrellson is a pure workhorse who will provide Miami with important minutes in the regular season. He isn't the prototypical center, but he shows the ability to get physical in the paint.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of Harrellson's game is his ability to stretch the floor. He isn't a force offensively, but he isn't a bad player from outside of the paint.
In reality, Miami could have went out and put more attention into signing a center. However, let's not overlook the fact that there wasn't a deep pool of free-agent big men to begin with. Most were either past their primes or would be a one-dimensional asset that wouldn't be fully effective with Miami's run-and-gun style of play.
With that said, why not give a young guy with a developing NBA game a chance?
The former Kentucky Wildcat isn't necessarily a guy with All-Star potential, but he could find a place on plenty of rosters based off his work ethic and big body.
Despite a wrist injury that put a long hiatus on Harrellson's rookie campaign, he still managed to make a good enough impression to gain Miami's attention. This included four starts for the hampered New York Knicks and a double-double effort against the Sacramento Kings in only his fourth professional game.
Looking at the current Heat roster, it's obvious they need some depth in the frontcourt. Even if Chris Bosh starts at the center position, he still needs a formidable backup to replace him.
While Joel Anthony is another example of a guy who finds work by hustling, he doesn't bring much besides being a minutes-filler for Miami. He plays solid defense, but he's often a liability offensively as well as undersized for the position.
We could also see the Heat opt to start Bosh at the power forward position for the duration of the regular season. He is bulking up, but Miami would like to limit the wear and tear he faces early in the year.
Averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds a game in his rookie season, New York might have been premature in cutting Harrellson early. He isn't a phenomenal athlete, but he'll become a fan favorite in Miami for his willingness to throw his body around and compliment the Heat game plan.
Even if he doesn't pan out, Harrellson is a low-risk signing with the potential to be a great regular-season addition. Look for his youth and hustle to earn him minutes in a Heat jersey.