The Miami Heat have officially re-signed forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen for the rest of the season, the team's official Twitter page reports. This is a great move by GM Pat Riley, as the team has struggled defensively all year long.
OFFICIAL: The @miamiheat have signed Chris Andersen for the remainder of the season.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 8, 2013
Since joining Miami on a 10-day contract back on January 20, Andersen has posted averages of 3.7 points and four rebounds over 10.8 minutes per game. He was signed to a second 10-day deal on January 30, and his presence for the remainder of the season will do wonders for the Heat on defense.
Look at it this way: Miami is the worst rebounding team in the league, primarily because head coach Erik Spoelstra insists on starting Chris Bosh at the 5. He has the size for the position at 6'11", 235 pounds, but he plays more like a scoring power forward than a true defensive center.
The presence of Andersen means that the defending champions can now start playing that sense-of-urgency defense that defined them down the stretch last season. Moreover, Spoelstra can shift Bosh to his more natural position at the 4 and give Andersen extended minutes.
At center, Andersen can provide some immediate relief on defense. He has solid size at 6'10", 230 pounds and plays with the tenacious nature that coaches dream about. He has only posted 5.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for his career, but that does not take away from the fact that he is a lock to play hard and put up a great effort night after night.
Andersen's per-36-minutes stats are also ridiculous. For Miami, he is averaging 12.2 points, 13.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. For his career, he holds marks of 11 points, 10.5 rebounds and an astonishing 3.2 blocks per 36.
Am I the only one considering inserting him into the starting lineup immediately?
The fact of the matter is that the Heat have been a weak interior team all season long, and Andersen instantly makes them stronger there. Should he perform well down the stretch for the team, perhaps he can earn himself another new contract for next season.