"In a little over a full game's worth of action (52 minutes), Andersen has registered 20 points, 19 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
If he keeps up his strong play, there might even be a starting job in his future. When Spoelstra was asked whether he could see Andersen eventually starting for the team down the road, the coach said he prefers Andersen coming off the bench.
At least for the time being.
"Right now," Spoelstra said," I like it."
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra insists that he's not playing Andersen 12-15 minutes a night just to help get him into playing shape.
"Iím not trying to condition him," Spoelstra said. "Iím playing him because heís helping us."
Spoelstra likes what he's seen so far. The hustle plays. The rebounds from out of nowhere. The coast-to-coast drives. That's not stuff that you're seeing from Udonis Haslem and Anthony. And you'll never see Andersen take a play off.
"He doesnít save anything," Spoelstra said. "He doesnít pace himself. Heíll play until his tank is absolutely empty. Or until he passes out."
Spoelstra admitted that he initially wasn't planning to play Andersen until after the All-Star break. The coach wasn't sure how long it would take for Andersen to get conditioned and comfortable in the Heat's schemes. Those concerns are obviously gone now, but Spoelstra expects Andersen to need another six to eight weeks before he's in top shape.
But the thing that has intrigued Spoelstra the most is what he calls the "vertical spacing" that Andersen brings. The idea: Throw the ball up in the air and let Andersen catch it for an easy bucket. Bosh is usually out on the perimeter. Haslem doesn't have the legs or the height to pull that off consistently. Anthony doesn't have the hands to make it worthwhile. But Andersen has that promise.
At Wednesday's shootaround, Spoelstra as well as James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and even Ray Allen drilled the lob pass to Andersen over and over. It's what Spoelstra fears the most when playing against athletic big men like Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard. Now, he's trying it out with Andersen.
ďWe havenít had that element before other than Dwyane and LeBron in the fast break," Spoelstra said. "Guys are starting to see it now, but the play is there."