Know Your Assistant: Chris Quinn Returns to Miami Heat


If you knew the name Chris Quinn without having to look the name up, you’re a true Miami Heat fan. Congratulations!

When I read that Eric Spolestra and the Miami Heat brought on Quinn as an assistant coach, I was extremely excited. No Quinn was not a superstar talent, ala LeBron James, in his time in Miami. No, he did not bring Miami a championship and glory, like Shaquille O’Neal did. No, he does not do video bombs quite as well as Chris Bosh.

Quinn does symbolize everything that is so great about this Miami Heat organization. His hard work and determination gave him a shot at an NBA career. He made sacrifices along the way and now is back with the organization that he will always be thankful for his first shot.

At 30-years old, Quinn is coaching two former teammates in Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, both of whom he is younger than. Though he is younger than the two, Wade and Haslem will have nothing but respect for the player that was along for the ride for the first championship in team history, as well as some of the darker moments in Heat history.

After a successful collegiate career at Notre Dame, Quinn went undrafted in the 2006 NBA Draft. Quinn latched on with the Heat, on a partially guaranteed contract, played for their summer league team, and made enough of an impression to latch on the team. Making this Heat team was no small feat, as the team at the time were the defending champs.

Although Quinn did not make the Heat playoff roster that season and the Heat got swept out of the playoffs because Dwyane Wade was not healthy, he made enough of an impression for Riley to bring him back the following season.

The 2007-2008 season was the banner year of Quinn’s career, as he played in 60 games (25 starts), averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists, and .8 steals a game on 42% shooting and 42% from beyond the arc. Quinn got most of his playing time when starters Wade and Smush Parker (yes I try to forget he played for the team too) were out with various injuries.

That season will not be remembered for how Quinn played though. His biggest moment that year came when Riley dealt the disgruntled Shaquille O’Neal to the Phoenix Suns and Quinn forever became a part of a famous quote:

"“I love playing for this coach and I love playing with [the Suns],” O’Neal told the Globe. “We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I’m actually on a team again.”"

Actually Shaq, it was an honor for you to play along with the likes of Quinn and Davis. Okay, well not so much, but the comments were out of line, though Quinn didn’t seem to take any exception to it.

The following season, Quinn went off for a career high 26 points against the Detroit Pistons, sinking 6 of his 10 three pointers. Even more impressive, Quinn seemed to have pull a LeBron James of 2014, scoring 19 of the final 30 points Miami scored in that ballgame.

Unfortunately, Quinn’s vaunted time with the Heat came to an end of January 5th of 2010. In what was part of a series of moves to clear cap space for the biggest off-season in Miami Heat franchise history, Quinn was dealt to the New Jersey Nets for a conditional second round pick.

After the Heat let him go, Quinn bounced around between the Nets, Spurs, Cavs, and the D-League over the next couple of years, totaling just 73 NBA games in 3 seasons after playing in 66 games with the Heat in 2008-2009. He would be released from the Cavs after the 2013 season and was hired by Northwestern coach Chris Collins to serve as the team’s new director of player development a couple of months later.

Quinn was working for Northwestern when Spo decided to bring his coaching talents to South Beach (note: the Heat do not actually play on South Beach).

No one knows how Quinn will turn out as a coach. However, you can bet when Quinn is introduced for the first time in Miami, he’ll be met with lots of cheering from his adoring fans.

Kind of puts a damper on the “all Miami Heat fans are fake” talk, no?