The recent acquisition of Chris "Birdman" Andersen is the Heat's 2012-13 low-risk midseason pickup, following in the less-than-immortal footsteps of Mike Bibby two years ago (solid in the regular season before having one of the worst postseasons ever) and Ronny Turiaf (respectable until disappearing from the rotation after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals) in 2011-12.
Those predecessors should serve as a giant caution flag for Heat fans expecting "Bird" to come in off the street and immediately cure Miami's ailments, although at first glance the talented-but-troubled Andersen seems like a perfect fit for the Heat. The Birdman's strengths are the Heat's weaknesses.
Rebounding? Andersen's career rebound rate of 17 is easily the best on Miami's roster, and his 17.8 percent mark last season was a career high. Andersen is especially adept on the offensive boards, where Miami ranks No. 29 in the Association. His 11.7 percent career offensive rebound rate (11.9 in 2011-12) should come in a handy for a team that has just one other player with an offensive rebound rate in double figures (Joel Anthony/10.2).
Defense? Andersen averaged 3.4 blocks per 36 minutes last year. Blocks alone can be misleading in regards to a player's defensive prowess, but advanced defensive metrics say the Birdman is one of the better defenders in the league. His Regularized Adjusted Plus/Minus (read this for a primer on RAPM) has been in the top 16 of all NBA players each of the last three seasons, due largely to his defensive contributions. Essentially, when the Bird is on the court, good things are happening for his team, and those positive outcomes are directly attributable to Andersen.
Offensively, Andersen isn't going to remind Heat fans of Alonzo Mourning, but he's not a liability, either. He's a poor shooter and lacks a post game, but Andersen is a good enough finisher around the basket to post true shooting percentages of 58 percent or better each of the last four seasons. He commits about half as many turnovers per possession as fellow frontcourt teammates Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem.
The Birdman went third person while explaining to the AP's Tim Reynolds what exactly he brings to the table.
''They're taking a chance with me and I'm here to give them everything I've got, defensively, diving on the floor, blocking shots, you know, the usual that a Birdman does and what Birdman brings," Andersen, er, Birdman said.
Still, there are warts. After all, there's a reason(s) the Bird was still jobless in mid-January in a league where guys like Earl Barron and Byron Mullens are gainfully employed.
The Birdman's off-court troubles - a year-long suspension for drug use and the more recent search of his home by a taskforce investigating internet crimes against children - are well-documented. To be fair, Andersen was never charged or arrested following the latter incident, but if nothing else it raises questions about the company he keeps.
He's also had trouble staying healthy. Andersen has missed 71 games during the last two seasons, and even when healthy, he's not a guy who can log big minutes. Andersen's all-out, all-the-time style renders him a human moped - highly efficient with a tiny gas tank. At most, expect Andersen to play between 12 and 15 minutes a night, with something in the 10-12 range being more ideal. The Birdman won't solve the Heat's frontcourt issues entirely, but he can mask them for brief spurts.
The move is a no-brainer for the Heat, who put Andersen through an initial workout two weeks ago and don't have the assets to improve via trade. Don't get carried away, though, Heat fans. If Andersen was the answer to all of Miami's problems, he would've been playing for somebody else by now rather than signing a 10-day contract with the Heat.
If the Birdman can stay healthy and finds the AAA to be a suitable nest, however, the Heat may have added one of the game's elite bench players.