Does Udonis Haslem Need a Bigger Role with the Miami Heat?

Joshua J VannucciniSenior Analyst IIIFebruary 26, 2013

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 20:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat at American Airlines Center on December 20, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The biggest flaw of the Miami Heat is their rebounding. By flaw, one would assume a negative impact on the overall team project. However, due to the overwhelming talent and chemistry the Heat have, this rarely hinders their success. Udonis Haslem is Miami's best rebounder, so would giving him a larger role help or hinder the Heat?

The veteran forward is averaging 3.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes for Miami, starting 35 games this season. Haslem's time in the rotation has been inconsistent, but he has proven to be effective regardless.

When UD plays at least 23 minutes, he averages 7.9 rebounds. He's only received such time on 11 occasions this season, which has more to do with the plethora of Heat players to rotate in than any sort of shortcomings Haslem might have.

If that is the case, limiting four players by a single minute or two in the rotation would give Haslem more time to crash the boards. Miami sorely needs it and is looking every way but inward for a solution. The Heat have one in UD, so it begs the question as to why they do not use him more often.

Haslem's per 48-minute rebound rate ranks 24th in the league, ahead of guys like Blake Griffin, Al Jefferson and Roy Hibbert. He doesn't exactly compare skill-wise to any of the aforementioned names, but he outdoes each on the glass.

The Heat rank last in rebounds per game at 38.6 and 29th in offensive boards per game at 8.5 (which ties Boston). The latter statistic can be somewhat disregarded, as Miami shoots a league-leading 49.5 percent as a team. When you're hitting half your shots, it's safe to say there won't be many offensive rebounds to go around.

However, Miami does allow 10.9 offensive rebounds per game. Having Haslem in the game would limit these second-chance opportunities for the opposition, thus making the team defense even better.

Haslem's mid-range game would help space the floor more often in addition to the brutal screens he sets for spot-ups and pick-and-rolls. His defense is renowned, and the aforementioned case is evidence enough that his rebounding is needed.

The phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" could not be more appropriate with Miami at this point, currently winners of 11 straight. However, the team could use Haslem more often here and there. It wouldn't need to be a huge rotation change, but a couple of extra minutes a game would make a noticeable difference on the court.