Miami Heat: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Miami Heat

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Chris Andersen and LeBron James. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)

The Miami Heat have only been around since 1988, but they’ve packed several current and future hall of famers into their relatively brief franchise history.

Of the handful of NBA teams that have been around for 30 years or less, the Miami Heat have the best collection of talent, and it isn’t close.

The franchise was formed in 1988. While it took several years for the Heat to become relevant as a playoff contender, Miami has won three of the last 12 NBA championships and helped usher in the era of “superteams” with the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Plenty of other hall of famers suited up in Heat white and red, from prime Alonzo Mourning to past-his-prime-but-still-effective Shaquille O’Neal and twilight Gary Payton.

The Heat are still relevant heading into 2019, employing one of the best head coaches in the league in Erik Spoelstra. They have remained competitive despite losing the best player on the planet with no compensation in James a few years back.

A quick explanation: this list only considers each players’ career in a Heat uniform, and the impact they had on the franchise. This could include All-Star appearances, playoff performances and length of tenure, on top of the obvious: overall production.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Here’s No. 30.

30

Chris Andersen

Center, Miami Heat

  • Four seasons with the Heat (2012-16)
  • Averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game
  • 1x NBA champion with the Heat

Chris Andersen, or as he was more affectionately known as, “Birdman”, began his career as an undrafted, ultra-athletic, enigmatic big man with the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

He missed the entire 2006-07 season due to a suspension for substance abuse. After playing in just five games in 2007-08, the Nuggets gave him another chance.

Anderson reinvented himself as a fantastic pick-and-roll defender and rim protector, even becoming one of the better defensive centers in the league for a stretch. He was waived by the Nuggets in 2012 and latched on with the Heat in 2013, where he would be a key rotation player for three-plus years.

Anderson appeared in 20 playoff games in 2013 for the Heat, averaging 15.2 minutes per game off the bench. While he only scored 6.4 points and grabbed 3.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs, he was a force on defense and in the open floor and provided much-needed energy to the reserve unit.

The Heat won the NBA championship that year, and “Birdman” went on to appear in 181 regular season games and 38 playoff games for the Heat. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2016 and spent his final season in 2016-17 on the bench for James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

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