How Chris "Birdman" Andersen Can Be Even Better for Miami Heat Next Season

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIJuly 14, 2013

Jun 5, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen reacts during practice for game one of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

It may seem like a small acquisition, but re-signing Chris "Birdman" Andersen will have a big impact on the Miami Heat's success next season.

This past year, in 42 regular season games, Andersen averaged 4.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and one block per game. 

In the postseason, after significant time building chemistry with his teammates, Andersen's numbers increased to 6.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Sure, that's not a massive increase, but his 80.7 field-goal percentage certainly is.

With time and experience with the roster, Andersen improved, albeit slightly, and that's encouraging considering the massive need the Heat have in their frontcourt moving forward.

The main reason why Andersen's impact is going to be much larger next year is because of the time and training he has this offseason to get into shape and prepare himself for more minutes on the floor.

Increased minutes depends on the rotation that Erik Spoelstra decides to go with. While that will be fluid throughout the season, he would be wise to give Andersen more minutes.

First and foremost he is the most physical big man the Heat have on their roster. No, that doesn't mean that Chris Bosh needs to ride the pine. It means that Andersen and Bosh need to be on the floor at the same time more often.

Moving Bosh back to the power forward position and inserting Andersen into the center spot makes much more sense than what the Heat did during the 2012-13 season.

Running with a starting lineup that features Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen is the way to go because it gives the Heat size from the tip.

Sure, adding a spark off the bench is what Andersen does. But there's no reason why that spark can't happen the moment the ref throws the ball into the air.

Not only will Andersen be in better shape, assuming he hits the gym in the offseason, but he will also have more chemistry with everyone on the roster.

While Andersen has never averaged more than 22.6 minutes per game during a season, there's no reason why Andersen can't hit the 25 minute mark next year. 

The one thing he will have to do though is decrease his tendency to foul like it's going out of style.

One of the major reasons why Andersen doesn't always get significant time on the floor is because of his aggressive style of play.

It's either a highlight reel defensive play or a foul, and that's something he has to change. Andersen needs to learn some restraint, because without it he'll just be another high-energy player who's limited because of a proclivity to foul.

Andersen's minutes for next year also depend on how well he works out this summer. It was evident that he wasn't at his top shape until the postseason last year, and that's mainly because he was watching the first half of the season from his recliner.

The Heat have $1.7 million tied up in Andersen, and for that to be a worthwhile investment they'll need to get at least 7.5 points, seven rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The Heat's top tier competition in the Eastern Conference all have significant frontcourts—the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks—so they will need Andersen to step up his game.

All in all, Andersen needs to work on his stamina and discipline this offseason and show Spoelstra why having him on the floor to start games is more valuable than keeping him on the bench.