As the 2022-23 season celebrates the Heat’s 35th season, the Sun Sentinel reveals a series of “5 on 35” reflections from staff writer Ira Winderman, who has covered the entirety of the franchise’s three and a half decades.
After opening the series, take a look at the file The five greatest matches in the team’s historyAnd the Five moments of franchise changethe team Biggest celebrity fansAnd the Five of the biggest characters over the years, Five prominent thermal risers And the The competitions that defined the franchisewe started splitting the site with a position with Five best shooting guardsAnd the point guardsAnd the small attackersAnd the attackers strength And the centers Since the series’ inception in 1988, today she has transitioned to the leading sixth man over the years.
And yes, an argument can be made about modernity bias, but it is at least award-winning modernism bias.
1. Tyler Hero. No, this list is not about any one season, but rather the breadth of contributions over the course of the Heat’s career. But exceptions also seem fair when hacking is part of the equation.
In 40 years, the National Basketball Association chose the title of Man of the Year, and for only one time came that name from the Heat, which it did after last season with Hero, when he averaged 20.8 points in the league as a reserve, becoming the first player since it was… Track these stats with an average of at least 20 points, five rebounds and four assists with less than 10 starts.
In breaking Dwyane Wade’s one-season record in the Heat, Herro finished with 20 games from 25 or more points off the bench in 2021-22, the highest total in the league over the past 30 seasons.
2. Ray Allen. Forget everything else and just remember this: Ray Allen came off the bench on June 18, 2013, the night he turned the final three-second pointer against extra-time-imposed Tottenham Hotspur in Game Six of the NBA Finals. Two nights later, the Heat were the second NBA champions during the Big Three era.
As it were, Allen started just nine of the 152 regular season games he played for the Heat.
Consider it the best bench push of the tournament.
3. Mike Miller. There were only 21 games in 139 regular season games with the Heat and only five games in 58 playoffs, and the team advanced to the NBA Finals in each of its three seasons, winning titles in 2012 and 2013.
Miller’s energy on the bench was contagious, his three-pointers in the playoffs were essential and his ability to volley in the Finals without a shoe saga. He was the kind of back-up that got the fans going just by walking up to the scorers’ table.
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4. Antoine Walker. Starting in all 23 of his 2006 playoffs en route to that season’s championship, Walker was mostly in reserve during his two seasons with the Heat, starting only 34 of his 160 regular season games during two seasons with the team.
He did little to stir up the heat during those seasons more than entering Walker and hoisting away from the three-point line with his “tippy-toe.”
Walker stands as another example of the Heat who convinced a former player to play as a reserve and then thrive as a reserve.
5. Shane Battier. By the end of his three-year career with the Heat, Battier transitioned into a more mainstream role, but in the first two seasons, which produced the Heat titles, in 2012 and 2013, he was only 30 out of 137 regular seasons. Appearances came as a start.
Battier wasn’t necessarily a dynamic presence off the bench, but rather a steady force, capable of turning baskets at the right time when needed, while facing some of the biggest individual defensive challenges.
Among those who have also made big bench boosts over the years are Chris Anderson, Eddie House, Odonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Tyler Johnson and Bimbo Coles.
Up next: As part of Ira Winderman’s NBA column on Sunday, we’re unveiling the all-time Heat team at this point, with the franchise turning 35.