If the Miami Heat had one problematic issue to repeat as NBA champions, it'd be the same one as last year. The lack of an interior presence was bound to hurt Miami at one time or another, but a sneaky midseason signing of Chris "Birdman" Andersen has helped to shore up that weakness.
And with his future up in the air after this postseason -- whenever it ends -- the 34-year-old appears to be pushing for, maybe, a re-signing in Miami. At the least, he's hoping coach Erik Spoelstra opens up some more opportunities for him to show his stuff during this playoff run.
ESPN's Tom Haberstroh reports that Andersen is working on his game, but it's what he's working on that is a bit surprising. Birdman is practicing his three-point jumper -- seriously.
"It's still in the works," Andersen said of his 3-point shot. "Spo lets me shoot those at the end of the shot clock. But there's not one set play for the Birdman to shoot the 3. Yet."
Spoelstra, as much as he pushed for Pat Riley to sign Andersen and as much as he loves his contributions that are most obvious on defense, isn't quite buying it. Andersen has yet to show aggression in taking the three-pointer -- there's no Andrew Bynum-esque chucking here -- and he's only hit 2-of-3 this season, all at the end of the shot or game clocks.
Still, working on the jumper might do more for Birdman than developing a low-post game. The Heat start a stretch power forward in Chris Bosh as is, and for Andersen to develop into a poor-man's Bosh would certainly help him be under consideration to sign with Miami past this season.
If anything, Andersen has already proven the locker room and on-court value that followed him from his best days in Denver. Birdman flapped his wings in the Heat's first game of the postseason, a 110-87 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. He came off the bench to score 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds, four of which were offensive. As the best shotblocker on the Heat -- he averages a block per game in only 15 minutes -- he's got that down pat. As an aggressive presence on the offensive rebounding front, he can get buckets as is.
But the three-pointer might be the best way to separate himself into extending his time in Miami.