Miami Heat: Chris Andersen Will Be a Perfect Addition to Heat

Joshua J VannucciniSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 8, 2013

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 14:  Chris Andersen #11 of the Denver Nuggets boxes out Marcin Gortat #4 of the Phoenix Suns as they battle for rebounding position at the Pepsi Center on February 14, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Suns 109-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Being outrebounded by their opponents has been a trend for the Heat this season.

While it hasn't done much to deter their Eastern Conference-leading 23-9 record, the pattern cannot be something that Miami allows itself to become accustomed to on a game-to-game basis.

That is precisely why the roster has undergone some recent changes. Heat president Pat Riley ultimately decided to waive guard Terrel Harris and forward/center Josh Harrellson to presumably make room for two big men.

As first reported by Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat apparently have interest in former Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen. He has been a free agent since being amnestied by Denver and will work out with Miami over the next few days. While some NBA fans are sceptical about adding a 34-year-old who is renowned for his energy and hustle, it is not far fetched to believe the "Birdman" could have a positive impact on the team.

Andersen played in 32 games for the Nuggets last season, averaging a solid 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 54 percent from the field and 61 percent from the line.

His numbers don't jump off the page, but once you consider his per-game-minute average of just 15.2, these stats are a testament to his intensity and ability to produce in limited action. What makes his acquisition a potential cause of optimism for Miami fans is that Andersen would have a similar role with the Heat, perhaps even a slightly larger one. 

Miami does not need a dominating presence inside but rather an athletic stopper—a bill which Andersen fits. The fact that he does not need to get a large slab of minutes to be effective makes this addition even sweeter, as the Heat's frontline rotation is fairly defined at this point. That's not to say Andersen won't find a niche within the team; rather, it's more a statement to Andersen's ability to contribute at any given time.

The Birdman's best game last season came against the Phoenix Suns (16 points, seven rebounds and six blocks in 22 minutes). He had games of similar effectiveness: 12 points, nine rebounds and a block in 20 minutes against the Lakers; 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks against Houston in a 19-minute effort. Andersen managed double-digit rebounds just once for the Nuggets, with 11 boards in 22 minutes against Dallas.

It's no secret the Heat desperately need an interior presence, both defensively and on the glass. While it's difficult to predict Andersen's effectiveness, his play from last season can serve as an example of his ability to contribute despite his age.

Miami does not need a drastic addition nor a dominating player. The Birdman may very well be the missing piece of their puzzle.