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Will Chris Andersen Solve Miami Heat's Glaring Size Problem?

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Will Chris Andersen Solve Miami Heat's Glaring Size Problem?
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

LeBron James can do everything, but as the Miami Heat's signing of Chris Andersen proves, he can't do everything alone.

According to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post, the Heat have signed the veteran big man to a 10-day contract:

The risk was limited.

Now we’ll see about the reward.

After working Chris Andersen out, and telling him to hang tight if possible, the Heat added the veteran center/forward to the roster on a 10-day contract Sunday morning. It did so while signing Jarvis Varnado to a second 10-day contract, and passing on Josh Harrellson, who was interested in pursuing more playing time elsewhere.

If there wasn’t time for Harrellson, it will be interesting to see how Andersen fits.

Bringing in Andersen was basically a no-brainer for Miami. The Heat are ranked 29th in rebounds per game (38.8) and still find themselves outside of the top 10 in defensive efficiency. They also only have one player over 6'10" (Chris Bosh) averaging more than 15 minutes per game and just four players averaging at least 4.6 rebounds per game.

Enter Birdman.

Andersen can do a whole lot of what the Heat currently can't.
At 34, the 6'10" Andersen isn't going to be an All-Star. Even at his peak, he was never the type of player you build around. For the Heat, however, he stands to resolve one of the most glaring issues standing between them and a second straight title: competent size.

LeBron or not, Miami needs additional size. It needs someone who can defend and rebound without having to play out of position. That someone may be Andersen.

Though he appeared in just 32 games last season for the Denver Nuggets while averaging 15.2 minutes of playing time, he was still able to make his presence felt. He averaged 11 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per 36 minutes, metrics that far exceed what the Heat's current bigs have to offer.

Better yet, when he was on the floor, the Nuggets allowed just 103.8 points per 100 possessions, nearly three points fewer than they averaged without him. That 103.8 is also less than what the Heat are currently allowing now (104.8).

No, Andersen isn't the athletic freak he once was, but he can still be of some value on defense and the glass. The only problem is finding him playing time.

Miami's best defensive stopper in Joel Anthony averages only 10.3 minutes per game, so even if the Heat opted to just swap the two out (they won't) that's not nearly enough time for Andersen to make a sizable (pun intended) impact.

The numbers are there to support what Andersen can do, and the Heat's lack of size only suggests his existence could be that much more powerful. But he's coming onto a team led by a coach in Erik Spoelstra who steadfastly believes their lack of rebounding can be attributed to the absence of will, not height.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
And therein lies the real issue now at hand. Andersen stands to bolster Miami's underwhelming attack on the glass (and defense in general), yet he needs to be given an adequate opportunity to do so.

Will Chris Andersen resolve the Heat's rebounding and overall size deficiencies?

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Can he do that in 10 days? Twenty days? Will the Heat even let him?

That much remains unclear. What's abundantly transparent, though, is that Miami needs help on the glass and in the post in general.

Andersen, a rebounding hoarder with a more efficient touch around the basket than Anthony, can provide such assistance. He can change the low-post narrative that's currently plaguing the Heat and impeding their dynasty ambitions.

But only if they let him.

 

*All stats in this article are accurate as of Jan. 19, 2013. 

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