Juwan Howard Signing is Underrated Key to Miami Heat's Title Defense

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Finals Championship trophy after they won 121-106 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Just because the Miami Heat are the hottest team in the NBA doesn't mean that they aren't looking to improve. According to the Associated Press, the team has agreed to terms with forward Juwan Howard on a 10-day contract. 

While this isn't the kind of move that will shake up the roster, or shift the paradigm of what the Heat do, it is a savvy move that will pay dividends down the stretch. 

With a roster spot open, the 10-day deal could be the beginning of a deal that would have Howard join the team for the rest of the season. Considering the role that Howard played on last year's title team, that's a move that should be welcomed by the team's fanbase. 

Sure, Howard doesn't contribute on the floor like he once did. Even as part of last season's championship squad, he only averaged 6.8 minutes, 1.5 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.However, the Heat don't need much extra production.

After all, they are in the middle of a league-best 13-game win streak. Free-agent acquisition Chris Andersen has provided the depth that the team's frontcourt desperately needed and LeBron James has been, well, he's been LeBron James. There's not much Howard can do on the court to make this team any better. 

However, team president Pat Riley realizes what Howard brings to the table—experience and a veteran savvy that make him a great player to have in practice and on the bench. Riley talked about those qualities when explaining the move to Yahoo Sports:

Juwan is a key part of the championship culture here in Miami... He is essential to this team and can still play this game at a high level in some of our biggest games yet to come. He has a unique veteran savvy and will provide leadership and experience to our team

This is a great move for Miami because Howard is a familiar face who the organization can be comfortable  adding to the fold. Consistency is what makes championship teams become dangerous, and Howard will provide a steady presence in the locker room. 

With Howard's experience and knowledge working like another coach on the bench, the Heat just got even better.