At the very moment a hopeful basketball player inks his signature on a 10-day NBA contract, he initiates his own race against time. It’s simple: you have 10 days to convince the organization that you can be an asset. You have just over a week to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and attempt to build some kind of chemistry with your new, and quite possibly temporary, teammates. There is no guarantee of a future commitment beyond the 10 days, only the risk of getting cut even earlier than that if you fail to impress.
Chris “Birdman” Andersen got through the first round of trials with the Miami Heat, earning himself a closer look and a second 10-day contract. As Birdman is only days away from completing his contract, it is time for the Heat to evaluate whether he has what it takes to become a part of the reigning champions’ roster moving forward. Everything points towards the idea that the 6-foot-10 center will indeed make the cut.
Practically everyone within the organization, including players and coaches, have liked what they have seen from Andersen in his short tenure with the team. He is not in top shape and runs out of energy quicker than an NBA player should, but in the intervals in which he has played, he has proven to be capable of giving the Heat exactly the lift they need.
Miami’s biggest flaws have been exposed for a while now: the NBA champions find themselves at the very bottom of the league in rebounding. The team has also shown a lack of motivation in many games, only really playing up to the level of the opposition. Andersen could undoubtedly contribute to ironing out these flaws.
In his limited five-game sample that we have at our disposal, we can see that Miami’s total rebound percentage with him on the court is a net positive of 7.8 percent. In 10.4 minutes per game, Andersen is averaging 3.8 points and 4 rebounds per game, while also holding a 21.55 player efficiency rating.
With Joel Anthony practically out of the rotation, Birdman has a chance to fill the vacancy. He has been very effective in the short stints that Erik Spoelstra has unleashed him in, but the primary objective right now is to knock him into shape. If Andersen can provide a consistent 20 minutes per game going into the playoffs, things would become much easier for the Heat.
All of this points to one thing: the Heat should let Birdman flap his wings in South Beach and lock him up for the rest of the season.
Vytis Lasaitis covers the Miami Heat for RantSports.com. You can follow him on twitter here: @VytisLasaitis