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The 5 Greatest Miami Heat Shooting Guards of All Time, Ranked
- Updated: May 23, 2020
The Miami Heat debuted in the NBA in 1988, a year after the league approved the city’s bid to host a professional basketball team.
The team may have begun its NBA tenure with years of mediocrity, but it has now become one of the league’s most prominent franchises. In 32 seasons, the Heat have made the playoffs 20 times and won a championship on three glorious occasions.
The organization’s leadership deserves much of the credit for the Heat’s success. Not only has it cultivated a winning culture, it has also been able to find players who have fit and bought into the culture.
Listed below are the five best shooting guards the Heat have employed through three decades.
Before we head to the list, it is only right to acknowledge the two players who just missed the cut.
One of them is Voshon Lenard. The University of Minnesota product was nothing more than a role player for the duration of his playing career, but he fulfilled his part quite well.
Playing for the Heat from 1996 to 2000, Lenard was not asked to do much except score and light it up from beyond the arc. His three-point shooting prowess opened the lane for his All-Star teammates, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. The marksman made 1.9 3-pointers per game while playing in Miami.
Another player who did not make the cut is current Heat star Jimmy Butler. Although he has had a better career than most of the players on the list, it is difficult to put him in the top five as he has not even completed a full season with the team.
Butler has played both shooting guard and small forward for Miami this year. The all-around player has even moonlighted as point guard in some of Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s lineups. He is a huge reason the Heat have been successful on both ends of the court this season.
If he ends up finishing the rest of his career in Miami, as he has said multiple times that he wants to do, there is no doubt Butler would eventually overtake most of the players ahead of him in the rankings.
5. Ray Allen
An argument can be made against Allen’s inclusion here. After all, when the sharpshooter signed with the Heat in 2012, he was already way past his prime and lasted just two more seasons in the league.
His average of 10.3 points per game in his two-year stint with the team does not stand out either.
However, one has to look beyond the stats to recognize Allen’s huge impact on the Heat. Even though he came off the bench, he was on the floor during clutch situations.
Also, who could forget Allen’s last-second three-point shot against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals? If he were not with Miami and on the court at the time, the Heat would have probably missed out on winning back-to-back titles.
4. Josh Richardson
Richardson was a diamond in the rough when the Heat drafted him No. 40 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. But in just his first season, he began showing flashes of his potential. He won the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March in the 2015-16 season.
By his fourth season, he had become one of the team’s go-to guys and playmakers. He averaged 16.6 points per game, which led the team, and 4.1 assists per game, a career-high, in what turned out to be his last season with the Heat.
In the 2019 offseason, Miami had to part ways with the fan favorite as he was part of the trade package that brought Butler to South Florida.
3. Steve Smith
Coming out of college in 1991, Smith was expected to provide a scoring boost to any team that drafted him. The Heat lucked out as the Michigan State University product fell to them at the fifth overall pick of the draft.
Smith immediately made an impact in his first season in Miami. He played in 61 games, starting in all but two of them, and posted per-game averages of 12.0 points and a team-leading 4.6 assists.
The six-foot-seven shooting guard had his best season with the Heat during his third year, averaging 17.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
He also helped deliver the franchise’s first playoff wins that season as they faced the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. Although they lost the series, the Heat still took two games from the first-seeded Hawks.
Smith’s first tenure with the Heat ended two games into the following season. He was traded to the Hawks, where he eventually blossomed into an All-Star player.
2. Eddie Jones
Before arriving in Miami in 2000, Jones was a three-time All-Star. He was one of several players brought in to upgrade a team that had been ousted from the playoffs three consecutive times by their rival New York Knicks.
Unfortunately for Jones and the Heat, franchise player Alonzo Mourning was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that caused him to miss all but 13 games of the 2000-01 season. Still, the team rallied to grab the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Jones became the focal point of the offense, leading the Heat in points (17.4) and field-goal attempts (13.8) per game. He kicked it up a notch in the postseason, recording 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in a first-round loss to the shooting guard’s previous team, the Charlotte Hornets.
The Pompano Beach native would go on to play for Miami for five more seasons. He is currently in the top 10 of the franchise’s most minutes played, points, assists, steals, blocks and 3-pointers.
1. Dwyane Wade
While some of the previous selections and their rankings are up for debate, there is no question on who should own the number one spot on this list.
Wade is not just the best shooting guard in franchise history, he is arguably the third-best shooting guard of all time — behind only Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Selecting Wade in the 2003 NBA Draft turned out to be one of the best decisions the Heat front office has ever made. Because of the Miami icon, the team has hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy three times.