The Miami Heat are a team full of stars Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sell tickets and run the show but it's always been the role players in Heat history that has allowed them to become champions. Mike Miller, James Posey,Gary Payton, Vershon Leonard have all been guys who throughout Heat history excelled off the bench for the Heat.
Chris Andersen has a tremendous story played basketball at the junior college level, worked hard and eventually made his way to the NBA. If I told you he reminded me of Alonzo Morning though you might think I've been experimenting with hard drugs or something. I'm not talking about prime Alonzo Mourning though. I'm talking about the guy who towards the end of his career had a limited role on the Miami Heat team who captured the 2006 NBA Championship. He was a guy who came off the bench and gave you every last ounce of energy he had and it was infectious. Zo's energy was always known to spark runs by the Heat and I look at Chris Andersen and see the same thing. I see a guy who isn't an All-Star but is a key piece to this years team he gives the Heat a toughness and an edge they didn't have before they got him.
In mid January the Heat were looking for someone who could help them become tougher and help solve their rebounding deficiencies, the heat were the worst team in the league on the boards. Fast forward about 2 months and the Heat go on a historical 27 game winning streak playing the best basketball this franchise has ever seen. During the streak the Birdman had his fair share of contributions but his impact stretches far beyond the statistics. For the first time in the big 3 era the Miami Heat had an enforcer someone who could protect the stars and let the other teams know that they will not be bullied in the paint. He gave the Heat a new layer of confidence they never had before.
Compare what Chris Andersen does for the Heat in 2013 to what Alonzo did in 2006 and you may be surprised in how similar they are. Exclude the fact that Alonzo Mourning was once the franchise player of the Miami Heat and just look at the 2006 version of him. His primary role on that team was to block shots and provide a presence in the middle defensively while giving you everything he had. This became most evident when in game 6 of the NBA Finals as the Mavericks were making a run in the 4th quarter to force game 7 when Alonzo Mourning seem to block everything in sight. Zo's defense late in the 4th preserved the win and gave the Miami Heat it's 1st NBA Title. Zo finished the game with 5 blocks.
Chris Andersen comes off the bench to provide the same things Zo did in 2006. Blocks, Rebounds, energy and a presence in the middle for a predominately small team. So in many ways Andersen is doing the same thing but to a greater extent. When he comes into the game you know it's going to be a show the tattoos, the hair, he is just cut from a different cloth and you got to love that about him.
When looking at the 2006 Alonzo Mourning vs 2013 Chris Andersen statistically you must take into account that Zo averaged 5 minutes more then Birdman. Alonzo's stats are a bit higher in 06 then Andersen's in 2013 but both are great role players who's impact stretches far beyond the box score.
For Birdman playing on this Heat team is a blessing. He is playing with the best players currently in the league and for a guy who worked his tail off to get to the league then got it taken away from him it's a great story. Think about it like this 5 months ago Chris Andersen was out of basketball hunting deer's and hog's in the country. Now he is a critical piece for a Miami Heat team looking to repeat, life's a crazy thing. I said he was like 2006 Alonzo Mourning but he still needs to win a ring for that to be 100% true.