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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Miami Heat
Miami Heat, Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

13. Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Ilgauskas was a two-time All-Star and Cavaliers legend. They took him with the 20th overall pick in 1996, and the 7’3 big man did not disappoint. He was a strong rim protector, rebounder, and scorer who helped LeBron James lead Cleveland to the playoffs five straight years from 2006 to 2010. The Cavs made the NBA Finals in 2007 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs every season.

When LeBron departed for Miami, Big Z joined him. The 7’3 center had played a dozen years in the NBA and was desperately seeking his first championship. Ilgauskas averaged just 20.9 minutes per game in his final season in Cleveland and was a backup for the first time in his career. Big Z was declining before joining the Heat.

Miami did not have a ton of center options around their Big 3, which led to starting Ilgauskas 51 times. The 35-year-old averaged just 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 15.9 minutes per game. The Heat even opened the playoffs with Big Z starting, but he was axed in the second round and never returned to the rotation.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a two-time All-Star, but he had zero business starting for a championship hopeful at that stage of his career. Big Z retired after his lone season in Miami. The Heat lost to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, which meant the 7’3 big man fell just short of winning an NBA title.