With two roster spots remaining, the Miami Heat are beginning to expand their horizons on who could possibly occupy those coveted vacancies at the end of the bench.
They may have found a gem in the rough. With only the league minimum to offer, the Heat are on a quest to search for a reliable big man who could provide some help on the boards and on defense. Rather than going the past route of looking at aged and decrepit centers–Erick Dampier rings a bell–the Heat have decided to give a shot on acquiring some youth.
The 23-year-old stands at 6’10″ and weighs in at 275 pounds. He was a second-round pick of the New Orleans Hornets in the 2011 draft and was traded to the Knicks on draft day for cash considerations. Needless to say, he came in and surprised the Knicks immediately, including a 14-point and 12-rebound effort against Sacramento in only his fourth NBA game.
As Tyson Chandler’s back-up, Harrellson would play sporadic minutes throughout the season and would be featured in 37 games, even starting four. He would finish the season averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per, while shooting 42 percent from the field. He also shot 34 percent from beyond the arc, proving that he was capable of stretching the floor from as far out as the perimeter.
Harrellson was traded to the Houston Rockets over the summer, with the Knicks clearing some space to sign Marcus Camby.
Coupling that ability to shoot with an ability to play as a traditional center below the rim, Harrellson fits perfectly into the Heat’s system. The team has a thing for big men who can shoot–Chris Bosh, Rashard Lewis and Justin Hamilton–and they could still use the size in the paint when going against the league’s larger frontcourts; one like the Los Angeles Lakers, a potential threat in the NBA Finals.
Obviously, this signing would be a huge positive for a Heat team that could still use the support for a strong rebounder and defender inside. Harrellson isn’t top shelf talent, but he would be all the Heat need to at least attempt to combat with the likes of Dwight Howard or any center who could potentially give the Heat problems. Nobody would expect Josh to play significant minutes, but spot minutes to grab some rebounds, stretch the floor and deliver some fouls would be the prime directive for him whenever he stepped out on the floor.