Is Joel Anthony a Hidden Gem for the Miami Heat?

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Joel Anthony said that he wants to continue his career with the Miami Heat and eventually retire in South Beach, even if his existence with the team means only leaving the bench for garbage time.

That’s not a bad deal. Enjoy the game from a comfortable chair, pocket a few million dollars and collect a few championship rings. Sign me up!

That’s a great gig for a guy who has averaged 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds for his career, but Anthony is something more for the NBA champions, you and everyone else might not see it, but he is.

The center started 51 games for Miami during the 2011-2012 season. He played in 17 postseason games while averaging 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. Anthony actually was an intricate part of the 2012 championship as well as the 2011 Finals appearance.

Last season was a different story. Anthony saw a career low in minutes, points and rebounds. That carried over into the postseason, when an Anthony spotting was as rare as Big Foot.

Erik Spoelstra just had more options and often went with a smaller lineup. Anthony did not quite fit in to the new philosophy that the Heat adopted last year.

After horrific rebounding stats and an incredible lack of a frontcourt presence, that philosophy will change and Anthony may once again become a contributor.

The frontcourt options may be slim for Spoelstra as Greg Oden‘s status remains a mystery and Udonis Haslem continues to re-acclimate himself after offseason knee surgery.

Anthony may prove to be a valuable player to have, especially down the stretch with the possibility of injuries.

He is a 7-foot, 250-pound behemoth whose forehead alone could average five rebounds per game. Although he is not much of an offensive threat, he has proved he can grab rebounds and block shots. He has averaged a block a game for five of his six seasons.

Anthony has helped Miami win in the past and can help them win again. We just do not know what Spoelstra’s plans are for the big man. With the frontcourt as the biggest unknown for the Heat, Anthony is a terrific insurance policy to have.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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