Cleveland Cavaliers Player Watch: Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen’s Milestones to Look For in 2016-17

Dec 31, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat center Chris Andersen (11) runs up the floor in a game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Miami 106-95. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We’re all eagerly anticipating the start of the 2016-17 NBA season. While we wait, here are the milestones to watch for Cleveland Cavaliers center Chris Andersen this season.

Last year was an incredible season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They had their ups and downs, from Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert‘s injuries to chemistry issues later on in the regular season and a 3-1 deficit in the Finals.

Despite the rocky road, the Cavs came out on top. They united and prevailed, giving the franchise its first ever NBA championship and giving Cleveland its first major sports title in 52 years.

While last season was a dream for Clevelanders and Cavs fans everywhere, it ended more than two months ago. And now we’re ready for some more basketball and counting down the days until the 2016-17 NBA season begins.

In the meantime, we’re taking a look at all the milestones that various Cavs players can reach this upcoming season. Now we’re looking at the Cavs’ latest addition, Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen. As a 38-year-old veteran big man, Birdman has plenty of milestones to watch for.

Apr 4, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) looks for an open man against Detroit Pistons center Joel Anthony (50) during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

700th Game

Currently, Chris Andersen has 683 games in the books. With his yearly average of games played at 49 over his 14 years in the NBA, Birdman should easily hit the 700 mark. Furthermore, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost a few big men this summer, as Timofey Mozgov signed with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sasha Kaun was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and retired soon after. So Birdman is the Cavs’ next man up at center after Tristan Thompson and potentially Channing Frye, depending on the matchup.

Mar 24, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) and Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia (27) reach for a rebound during the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 24, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) and Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia (27) reach for a rebound during the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

13,000 Minutes Played

Going hand-in-hand with games played are minutes played. Birdman currently has 12,159 minutes logged over his 14 years in the NBA. He has a career average of 17.8 minutes per game, which means if he plays at least his career average number of games played (49), then Birdman can reach over 13,000 minutes played. As mentioned before, the Cavs are shallow in the center position, so Birdman is sure to get some good minutes.

Apr 1, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chris Andersen (7) passes the ball against Toronto Raptors forward Jason Thompson (1) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

350th Assist and 325th Steal

While Birdman is more of a rebounder and shot blocker, he can still contribute on the court in other areas. Currently, Birdman has 332 assists and, with a career average of 0.5 assists per game, he can dish out enough assists to reach 350. He also has 307 steals as of right now and, with a similar average of 0.4 steals per game, Birdman can hit 325. These milestones, of course, depend on Birdman playing in at least his career average number of games played at 49 per year.

Mar 4, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) shoots past Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1,400th Field Goal and 1,100th Free Throw

Birdman has 1,327 field goals over his 14 years in the NBA, including 1,312 two pointers and 15 three pointers. He averages 1.9 field goals per game, so with his career average of 49 games per year, Birdman can easily get to 1,400 field goals. His two point field goal average per game is also 1.9, which means he can reach 1,400 two point field goals this year.

In addition, Birdman has just over a thousand free throws in the bag, specifically 1,058. With a career average of 1.5 free throws per game and 49 games per season,  Birdman would be able to comfortably hit 1,100 free throws.

Apr 24, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chris Andersen (7) grabs the rebound against San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and center Tim Duncan (21) during the first half in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

3,700th Rebound

Birdman has grabbed 3,461 total rebounds with an average of 5.1 rebounds per game. If he plays his career average of 49 games with the Cavs, Birdman can grab 250 rebounds this year. This means he could reach the milestone of 3,700 total rebounds.

Furthermore, if we break down Birdman’s rebound total, we can see the more specific milestones he can reach this season. Birdman has a total of 2,295 defensive rebounds and a career average of 3.4 per game. At this rate, and playing in at least 49 games, Birdman can grab his 2,400th defensive rebound this year.

And while he excels more on the defensive side, Birdman still has over a thousand offensive rebounds with 1,167. If he records his career average of 1.7 offensive rebounds per game over the career average of 49 games, Birdman can get his 1,250th offensive rebound.

Feb 21, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) takes a shot as Memphis Grizzlies center Chris Andersen defends during the second half of the Raptors 98-85 win at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

1,000th Block

One of the areas that Birdman is best known for is his ability to clog up the lane and block shots, so it’s no surprise that he has some milestones in this category. Birdman has already rejected 984 shots during his time in the NBA, so with just 16 more blocks, he can reach 1,000. It seems like a given that he’ll hit this milestone and to back up the likelihood he does, we can look at the averages. Birdman averages 1.4 blocks per game over his 14 NBA seasons, so if he plays his career average of 49 games, he can get 68 blocks this year. That means that not only can Birdman get to 1,000 blocks, he can get to 1,050.

Feb 6, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen (11) dunks the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

4,000th Point

As of right now, Birdman has scored a total of 3,727 points. With 273 points to 4,000, it seems like an achievable milestone. But over his 14 years in the NBA, Birdman has averaged 5.5 points per game. This means, if he plays his career average of 49 games per season, he’ll score around 270 points.

So based on his career averages Birdman might not get his 4,000th point, but he can hit the 3,995th point milestone. He’ll only need three more points to reach 4,000 though, and we’re hoping he performs a little above average (either playing a few more games or scoring a few more points in a game or two), so can get those extra points.

What should be expected of Chris Andersen this season? Let us know in the comments section or follow us @KJG_NBA.

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