The Miami Heat were in dire need of a presence on the interior and have seemingly found the last piece to their puzzle in Chris Andersen. His addition has added much-needed intensity, energy and hustle in the paint. With the deadline to sign him to a full contract looming, let's review how Andersen's affected the Heat thus far.
The first and foremost factor behind Miami chasing Andersen was their lack of rebounding. The team still ranks dead-last in rebounds per game, trailing 29th place Boston with 39 per game. The Heat are tied with the Celtics for 28th in offensive rebounds per game at 8.5, which is still a low total. However, it would be seemingly obvious to link the Heat's low offensive rebounding rate to their already superb offense.
Leading the league in field goal percentage at 49 percent won't merit many rebounds on the offensive glass, similarly with the San Antonio Spurs. Their team shooting average of 48.6 percent trails just the Heat, and they also rank dead-last in offensive rebounding, so it's an obvious trend that isn't overly-alarming when you consider the aforementioned.
Nonetheless, in games where Andersen has played more than 10 minutes, Miami averaged 9.2 offensive rebounds. The "Birdman" himself is putting up 3.7 points and snatching four rebounds for the Heat, all in 10.8 minutes per contest.
He's crashing the offensive glass with 1.7 per game, which almost matches Chris Bosh's average; he leads the Heat in offensive rebounding with two per game. After Andersen, there is Udonis Haslem with 1.3. Considering Bosh's 33.8 minutes and UD's 19.5, he's doing a fantastic job.
In terms of an overall team effect, Miami is better defensively with Andersen in the game. With him on the bench, the Heat allow 104.2 points per 100 possessions, which contrasts vastly to the 96.7 rating when he's on the court. The team's shot-blocking is also affected, as it boosts from their usual five per contest to 8.1 per 48 minutes.
In contrasting fashion, Miami takes a hit offensively. Andersen's one-dimensional scoring game makes it increasingly difficult to put up points, as opposed to Bosh at center who possesses one of the most reliable jump shots in the game. The Heat are shooting just 42.7 percent when Andersen is playing, down from their league-leading 49 percent. The three-point shooting also takes a hit, dropping from 38.1 percent to 28.6 percent, which may have to do with Andersen setting screens on the perimeter.
Miami runs multiple pick-and-rolls on offense, so their poor accuracy from deep with Andersen in the game may be a spacing issue. That's not to say Andersen can't set solid screens, it's quite the opposite, yet his inability to pick-and-pop may limit how much Miami can do on offense. However, making plays like this won't be cause for concern for the Heat.
Overall, Andersen is affecting the team in a positive manner. They needed to bolster their defense, shot-blocking and rebounding, all factors the "Birdman" has boosted. Miami's offense is weakened, yet with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh it is hardly something the Heat will be concerned with.
With a report from the Sun Sentinel, Andersen himself stated that he is not at 100 percent just yet. When asked how he's doing thus far, the 6'10" center stated he's only at "six feathers" out of a total eleven. While that may be his way of saying he's close to 50 percent, he's been everything the Heat hoped thus far. Considering how positive of an aspect he's had in Miami, the future certainly looks bright for when Andersen can fully spread his wings.
All statistics sourced from nba.com/stats