With 2022-23 marking the Miami Heat’s 35th season, the Sun Sentinel unveils a series of “5 to 35” thoughts from writer Ira Winderman, which covered the franchise’s entire 3 1/2 decades.
After opening the series with a look at the five greatest games in team history, five moments that changed the franchise, the team’s biggest famous fans, five of the biggest personalities over the years, five notable Heat Lifers and the rivalries that have defined the franchise, Today we begin our position-by-position breakdown with the top five shooting guards since the franchise’s inception in 1988 (knowing that without a position, some might be considered as shooting guards listed at other positions during the week).
1.Dwyane Wade. The. The greatest. Player. In. Franchise. Story.
Five NBA Finals. Three NBA championships. The lure that allowed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form the Big Three, having previously helped lure Shaquille O’Neal.
The No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft stepped forward when needed as a leading man. He pulled away when O’Neal and James arrived.
Already his number 3 is hanging at the FTX Arena, with a logical follow-up to a statue erected at 601 Biscayne.
“Greatness and a legacy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “that will live forever.”
2. Eddie Jones. If the resume ended with Dwyane Wade being the first NBA mentor, that would be enough. But it was much more than that. It helped keep the Heat afloat from the end of the Tim Hardaway-Alonzo Mourning era to the start of the Wade era.
Pompano Beach product Ely High led the Heat in scoring for four straight seasons, from 2001 to 2004, the franchise’s longest leadership run until Wade arrived.
3. Dan Majerle. As a shooter and small forward, as a starter and reserve, Majerle’s hustle defined the Heat’s big-muscle playoff era under Pat Riley from 1996-2001.
Even while battling debilitating back pain, Majerle was an essential plug-and-play component for the rosters that first helped define Heat Culture.
And to think he came as a consolation prize when the Heat couldn’t sign Juwan Howard in the 1996 offseason.
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4. Ray Allen. The Heat’s tenure only lasted two seasons, but a moment in time could arguably put him even higher on this list, as arguably no moment in franchise history has been more significant.
Down three on the clock in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, security officials were already ringing the bells on the field at AmericanAirlines Arena for a San Antonio Spurs championship celebration. And then, from the right corner — Bang! Draw. Heat wins that night in overtime and the championship the next game.
Also, to make it all that much sweeter, he was drawn to Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics in free agency.
5. Kevin Edwards. Essentially, the Heat’s history at shooting guard can be broken down into three eras: Kevin Edwards at the start, Eddie Jones in the middle, and then Dwyane Wade for his 15-year championship run (with others shuffled in). along the way).
For the franchise’s first five seasons, Edwards was a reliable presence when stability was paramount, averaging double-digit scores in each of those five seasons.
Edwards’ ability to pull it off in the toughest times gives him nods to Josh Richardson, Voshon Lenard, Duncan Robinson, Brian Shaw, Jon Sundvold, Eddie House and, yes, Dion Waiters.
To be continued: We continue our position evaluations, with the top five point guards over the years, as the franchise turns 35.