Ranking 15 worst starters of the Dwyane Wade era

Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Heat were fortunate that Dwyane Wade fell to them at fifth overall in the famed 2003 NBA Draft. The 6’4 guard quickly proved to be a superstar and brought three championships to South Beach. Pat Riley did an outstanding job putting star talent around him, including signing LeBron James and trading for Shaquille O’Neal.

Wade is a legend and became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2023, but he may have been even better if it was not for knee trouble. The 6’4 guard had a meniscus surgery in college that plagued him in the later stages of his NBA career. There is no denying his greatness, and the Heat may still be searching for their first championship if it wasn’t for D-Wade.

The Heat surrounded him with superstar talent, but there were some regrettable names at the backend of their starting fives. Here is a look at the worst next to Wade during his first 13 seasons in Miami. Players had to make a minimum of 20 starts to avoid one-off injury replacements, and his return to the Heat in 2018 and 2019 was not factored in.

Miami Heat worst starters of the Dwyane Wade era

15. Jason Kapono

Kapono was an elite shooter and his 43.3 percent success rate from 3-point range is the seventh-highest in NBA history. The 6’8 wing knocked down jumpers but offered little else. He slipped into the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft and struggled to find a consistent role for several reasons. Kapono was a negative defender and did little on the offensive end besides shoot.

He played just 13.0 minutes per game in his first season with the Heat as a 24-year-old and got two total playoff minutes during their 2006 title run.

Kapono had a more consistent role in 2007, including earning 35 starts. It was the best season of his career but left plenty to be desired as Kapono averaged 10.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. He led the league by shooting 51.4 percent from downtown but saw his role sink to 19.3 minutes each night in the playoffs as Miami was swept in the first round.

Jason Kapono was an elite shooter, but a modern-day Davis Bertans. Someone who should be played in small doses as a change of pace and not making 35 starts next to a first-ballot Hall of Famer.