NBA Playoffs 2011: Can the Miami Heat Please Give Eddie House Minutes?

Allen Levin@@TheNBAllenCorrespondent IIApril 12, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 30:  Guard Eddie House #55 of the Miami Heat celebrates after making a three-point shot during a 108-103 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Ford Center on January 30, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  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

When the Miami Heat signed Eddie House to a one-year deal in the offseason, it appeared that Pat Riley was proving doubters wrong that the team wouldn't be able to sign any role players around their new Big Three.

After the Heat made one of the most eye-opening free agent splashes in the history of the NBA by signing LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, many analysts said it wouldn't be possible to surround them with anyone but a bunch of minimum contract players.

Over the next few weeks, Miami signed Mike Miller and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as well as re-signing Udonis Haslem. Then, just a few days later, the Heat added House to the mix, which seemed to cement the team with proven role players.

House is a reliable veteran with extensive playoff experience and a championship under his belt. It was assumed that House would play a vital role on this team.

It has turned out to be the exact opposite. House has averaged only 17 minutes in 55 games this season, and a lot of those minutes have been in garbage time.

Spoelstra Favors Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and James Jones

The guard, who was originally drafted by Miami in 2000, has been a bench warmer for most of the season, with head coach Erik Spoelstra favoring Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and James Jones off the bench.

For a player that has proven himself as a dependable veteran with a knack for hitting timely shots, this just doesn't seem right.

Obviously, Mike Miller is going to see most of the bench minutes being that he was Miami's largest contract of the offseason not named Wade, Bosh or James. Miller was also expected to be one of the Heat's biggest contributors in the second unit, but an array of injuries has limited his production.

Chalmers, a third-year point guard, is a solid defender that has improved his outside shooting immensely. So, he deserves some playing time as well.

Jones can hit the long ball very well and is a hustler with the way he consistently takes charges. He leads the team with 119 three-pointers this year. So, he also deserves minutes.

Miller, Chalmers and Jones average a combined 20 minutes per game. This isn't overwhelming to the point where House couldn't be incorporated into the lineup.

While House shouldn't replace any of those three in the lineup because the trio does produce, Coach Spoelstra should find a way to balance out the minutes between the four of them.

Even if House received 10-13 minutes per game, he could make a major impact.

Miami's Success With House in the Lineup

In games this year when House has played 10 minutes and above, the Heat are 26-14. In games when House has played 20 minutes or more, the Heat are 17-8. When House scores in double digits, Miami is 11-5.

So it is evident that the Heat are successful when House actually gets playing time. While some might make the case that those minutes have been in garbage time or against weak opponents, House has had big games against formidable opponents.

He posted 10 points and six rebounds in Miami's 104-100 victory against Orlando back in February. He had 15 big points in a one-point win over Detroit in January that sparked an eight-game Miami winning streak. Most notably, he hit the game-winning three-point shot against the Thunder after sitting the entire game on the bench.

It is obvious that House can be a crucial member of this team, and perform well when he is given the chance. However, due to Spoelstra being in favor of Chalmers, Jones and Miller, Eddie House has fallen out of the rotation.

It is understandable that House can be a defensive liability, and there are matchups when Chalmers is the better choice because of his superior defense. Still, there is no reason House should be consistently racking up the DNP's.

House is a very good deep threat who can stretch the defense with his shooting. In addition, he is the type of player who thrives in big-moment situations. He loves hitting cold-blooded shots late in games that help win his team ball games. Not to mention, he was an integral part of the 2008 Celtics championship squad with his timely and clutch shooting.

With the playoffs only a few days away, it is time to figure out a way to insert House into Miami's rotation and give him the playing time he deserves. He is someone that can be huge for the Heat in the playoffs. At the very least, House should get opportunities to knock down shots like he did against the Thunder when those type of moments arise in the playoffs.

Quite simply, House can deliver. So, can the Miami Heat please give Eddie House some playing time?