Welcome to Miami: Chris Andersen

Known for his shot blocking, rebounding and energy, NBA veteran Chris Andersen has fit in nicely with the Miami HEAT. After signing two 10-day contracts earlier this year, the team signed him for the rest of the season on February 8, 2013.

When asked what it meant to play with the HEAT, Andersen replied, “It’s a dream come true. 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."

Andersen played on basketball courts around the world. After one year at Blinn Junior College (Texas), He began his professional career in the Chinese Basketball League. His stint overseas allowed him to play against some of the best players in the world, including former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. After playing a few seasons overseas, Andersen got his opportunity to play in the NBA in 2001 and was signed by the Denver Nuggets. He has made a name for himself ever since.

Giving Miami his all is exactly what Andersen has done. This season he has averaged 3.4 points and 3.4 rebounds, while only playing 12.8 minutes per game. His high-energy play and strong defensive presence were a perfect fit with this team.

Andersen’s efforts also made an impression on HEAT forward LeBron James. “Everything that he does, he does it with aggression, he does it with a pace and with a motor,” James said. “He doesn’t leave anything in the tank when he’s out on the on the floor and we love that about him.”As a member of the HEAT, Andersen has mentioned that his job is to “protect the paint and rebound” which are important parts of a team’s success. “Shot blocking is a big asset for a team to have,” he said. “When guards drive in, they know someone is there to contest their shot, it can make them think twice.”

As good as Andersen is defensively, he is also taking advantage of any offensive opportunities that may come his way. In his 15th game with the HEAT, Andersen helped Miami to a 141-129 win, in double overtime, against the Sacramento Kings after scoring a season-high 10 points off the bench. Andersen’s efforts have generated praise from Head Coach Erik Spoelstra as well.

“Chris Andersen will play until his tank is absolutely empty,” said Spoelstra. “He doesn’t save anything.” Off the court, Andersen enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, has recently taken a liking to archery and has incorporated the art on to the basketball court. “Archery helps strengthen your focus,” he said. “Whether it’s shooting free throws, reading defenses or offenses, the hand-eye coordination factor can really help sharpen someone’s focus.”

Andersen is not taking his opportunity with the HEAT lightly and is using every chance he gets to help the team win. “Something like this is overwhelming, you can’t put it into words,” he said. “It’s all the motivation in the world to keep on pushing, getting stronger and in better condition.”

Stats are accurate as of March 12 and are provided by HEAT.com.

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