With 2022-23 marking the Miami Heat’s 35th season, the Sun Sentinel is unveiling a series of “5 at 35″ reflections from staff writer Ira Winderman, who has covered the entirety of the franchise’s 3 1/2 decades.
After opening the series with a look at the five greatest games in the team’s history, five franchise-altering moments, the team’s biggest celebrity fans, five of the biggest personalities over the years, five notable Heat Lifers and rivalries that have defined the franchise, today we begin our position-by-position breakdown with the top five shooting guards since the franchise’s 1988 inception (appreciating that position-less could have some who could be considered shooting guards being listed at other positions through the course of the week).
1.Dwyane Wade. The. Greatest. Player. In. Franchise. History.
Five NBA Finals. Three NBA championships. The lure that delivered LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form the Big Three, after previously helping attract Shaquille O’Neal.
The No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA draft stepped forward when needed as a leading man. He stepped to the side when O’Neal and James arrived.
Already his No. 3 hangs at FTX Arena, with the next logical step a statue erected at 601 Biscayne.
“Greatness and a legacy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “that will live on forever.”
2. Eddie Jones. If the resume ended with serving as Dwyane Wade’s initial NBA mentor, it would be enough. But it was far more than that. It was helping keep the Heat afloat from the end of the Tim Hardaway-Alonzo Mourning era to the start of the Wade era.
The Pompano Beach Ely High product led the Heat in scoring for four consecutive seasons, from 2001 to 2004, the franchise’s longest such leadership run until Wade’s arrival.
3. Dan Majerle. As a shooting guard and small forward, as a starter and reserve, Majerle’s hustle defined the Heat’s big-muscle playoff era under Pat Riley from 1996 to 2001.
Even while battling debilitating back pain, Majerle was an essential plug-and-play component to the rosters that helped first define Heat Culture.
And to think, he arrived as the consolation prize when the Heat were unable to sign Juwan Howard during the 1996 offseason.
4. Ray Allen. The Heat tenure lasted only two seasons, but one moment in time arguably could have him even higher on this list, because no moment in franchise history arguably was as meaningful.
Down three with time running out in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, security officials already were ringing the court at AmericanAirlines Arena for a San Antonio Spurs championship celebration. And then, from the right corner — Bang! Tie game. Heat win that night in overtime and the championship the next game.
Plus, making it all the sweeter, he was lured away from Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics in free agency.
5. Kevin Edwards. For the most part, 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 mixed in along the way).
For the franchise’s first five seasons, Edwards was a reliable presence when stability was at a premium, averaging in double-figure scoring in each of those five seasons.
Edwards’ ability to get it done over the toughest of times gives him the nod over the likes of Josh Richardson, Voshon Lenard, Duncan Robinson, Brian Shaw, Jon Sundvold, Eddie House and, yes, Dion Waiters.
Up next: We continue our positional evaluations, with the top five point guards over the years, as the franchise turns 35.
Source: Berkshire mont