Ranking the 5 best rookies in Heat history: Jaime Jaquez Jr. among elite company

Jaime Jaquez Jr. is proving to be one of the best Miami Heat rookies, but where does he rank amongst other franchise greats?

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat
Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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1. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat v Washington Wizards / G Fiume/GettyImages

2003-04: 16.2 PPG 4.0 RPG 4.5 APG

Of course, Dwyane Wade comes in at No. 1. He has the highest points per game for a Heat rookie, and how many guards make game-winners in their playoff debut? D-Wade did that.

His speed and poise immediately jump out when rookie Wade laced up. He was so dynamic in his younger years; finding defenders to keep up with him laterally was difficult. He was like an agile running back the way he went left to right in the blink of an eye.

Wade entered the NBA with a solid enough handle that allowed him to play point guard. He's a natural rim attacker but still made the right plays with the ball in his hands. He finished third in the 2004 Rookie of the Year race after LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. That 2003 draft class was stacked, but neither one immediately impacted winning like D-Wade.

Honorable Mentions

Tyler Herro: 2019-20
Udonis Haslem: 2003-04
Steve Smith: 1991-92
Sherman Douglas: 1989-90

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