The Miami Heat organization has been through the ringer this summer, but has managed to retain a roster that is still a title contender, at least throughout the Eastern Conference. Several key veterans were re-signed in order keep balance and order within the locker room, with the frontcourt rotation being one of the utmost priorities. This is why Chris Andersen was re-signed.
Although he played poorly in the 2014 NBA Finals, Andersen has been a defensive mainstay for the Heat throughout the last two seasons. His averages of 6.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 1.2 BLKPG speak to this. During this time, Andersen was only playing on a veteran’s minimum contract. This time around, he has signed a two-year, $10.4 million deal. This contract alone demands a lot more of Andersen on the court, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be in the starting lineup.
What has defined Andersen’s time in Miami throughout his two-year stint has been his energy off the bench. Through his timely blocks and rebounds, he has marked the Heat’s second unit through his grit and demeanor. Much of this is due to the low number of minutes that Andersen plays per game. If inserted into the starting lineup, his minutes would undoubtedly increase, potentially affecting his productivity statistically.
Andersen also doesn’t fit the “stretch the floor” offense the Heat typically like to exploit, which is why having Chris Bosh start alongside fellow stretch forward Josh McRoberts is a much better option.
Andersen’s contract may warrant starting minutes, but the Birdman will always be best suited for the second unit. He shouldn’t start alongside Bosh for the Heat because Andersen is best playing off the bench. He has played this secondary role very well over the last two seasons, and he will have to do it again to keep the Heat organization in the NBA title conversation.