NBA Free Agents: Shane Battier, Eddy Curry Add Leadership, Rebounding to Heat

Gary PikulaContributor IDecember 10, 2011

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13:  Shane Battier #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies calls a defensive play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In these early days of what's about to potentially the wildest NBA season in a long time, the Miami Heat have quietly made two huge moves.

Maybe it's because of the Chris Paul trade fiasco, or Dwight Howard wanting out of Orlando, but the signings of Shane Battier and Eddy Curry have flown under the radar. 

The addition of Battier and Curry is nothing like last year's addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh. However that doesn't delegate them as irrelevant. In fact it fills the holes that Miami had last year. 

Joel Anthony proved to be a solid low-post defender last year, especially in the postseason, but offensively he was about as productive as you or I would have been.

What Curry can provide is some low-post offense around the basket, and some additional toughness—something they lacked a year ago.  

Another thing Miami really missed last year was a shooter in the corner.

Mike Miller was supposed to be that guy, but due to injuries he missed a ton of time, and when he was on the floor he wasn't very effective. Adding Battier to the roster gives them that corner-three threat they need on high pick-and-rolls.

Without a shooter you can't leave alone in the corner the defense can collapse on the ball handler and force difficult shots and turnovers. Now with the corner threat there that should open up the middle a little bit more for slashers like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

Battier also adds leadership and defense to a team that was already one of the best defensive teams in the league. Having a hustle guy on the floor with a high basketball IQ and great leadership is often overlooked in the NBA. 

These two additions cannot be understated for Miami.

They didn't break the bank on either guy. Curry has only played 10 games in the last three seasons, but he says he's down 70 pounds from a year ago, and Miami hardly has any money invested in him. Low risk-high reward deal for the Heat. 

Whether you like it or not expect the Heat to be better than they were a year ago.

They've had a full season together to figure each other out a bit, and Chris Bosh added about 20 pounds of muscle and said he'll do whatever the team needs him to do in order to be successful.

Miami will finish a lot of games with LeBron, Wade, Battier, Udonis Haslem and Bosh on the floor. This lineup, while small, produces lock-down defense and toughness. Miami had plenty of defense last year, but their toughness was questionable. 

That shouldn't be a problem in the upcoming season.