At 73, Heat’s Pat Riley not thinking retirement: ‘Something sucks you back in’

 

Heat president Pat Riley said ‘there’s always something that brings you back in,’ when thinking about retirement. (Photo Tom D’Angelo)

MIAMI – Something changed for Pat Riley the last two years.

Perhaps it’s the challenge of rebuilding this team, a process that started two summers ago. Or just the fact that about six weeks after his 73rd birthday that competitive flame still burns.

But after saying two years ago that he’s “had thoughts the last couple of years of moving on,” the Miami Heat president did an about face Monday at his postseason news conference on the same question.

“No, no I haven’t,” he said. “Until (owner Micky Arison) comes to me …  you know, I haven’t.”

Then, and now, Riley spoke about something that always “sucks you back in.”

“I‘ve spoken about this before, because I think this happens all the time to players, coaches, executives,” Riley said Monday. “This is my 50th year (in the NBA). There’s always something that brings you back in, there’s something that sucks you back in. You could tell yourself in September, ‘This is my last year.’ But by the end of the season something happens that sucks you back in. ‘I can’t now. I’ve got to make the team better. We have free agency. I’ve got a draft pick. I can’t do this to Micky. I can’t do this.’”

For Riley, this challenge of making the Heat competitive again in the post Big Three era is as difficult as any he’s had.

Riley appeared energized at his postseason news conference Monday, opening with a long statement about how he has had to build, tear down and rebuild several times since arriving in South Florida in 1995. He cited several major moves from the Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway era to the Eddie Jones, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant era to the Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal era to the Big Three to now.

“But my point in going back to Zo and Tim and that first team is what has got us to where we are here today,” he said. “Because between then and now I can’t think about the number of transactions. … 50, 60 transactions across the board.

“When you think about the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs and the ones not going to the second round, there’s 22 teams that didn’t advance. They’re not happy. They’re just like I am. They’re not happy. Getting beat in the first round … they’re having the same conversations we’re having. That’s why this is a wonderful time and open market. I always go back to the very first trade I made here to get Zo. There are more of those out there. I’m not saying they’re going to happen this year.”

That does not sound like a man ready to ride off into the sunset, even though he did say two years ago he has spoken to Arison about an exit plan.

“I would love to have one of those golden consulting jobs somewhere,” he said. “There’s a few guys around the league that have those jobs. But I say that in jest, because all the men who do that I’m sure they provide a good service. But I’m an active participant, and I want to stay that way to the chagrin of some of you and some people in the organization.”

[Heat’s Dwyane Wade to Sixers’ Ersan Ilyasova: ‘Who are you?’]

[Pat Riley said Erik Spoelstra, Hassan Whiteside need an ‘intervention,’ adds ‘I’m going to try to help both of them’]

[Should Heat take on final year of Carmelo Anthony’s large contract to shed future money?]

Wayne Ellington wants to return to the Heat and they want him back. But it won’t be easy as a salary-cap hurdle looms]

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Wayne Ellington as he closes in on Heat 3-point field goal mark: ‘I’m not satisfied at all with 200 threes’

Miami Heat’s Wayne Ellington attempts a 3-point shot against the Washington Wizards on March 10. (Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI – Wayne Ellington remembers one of his early practices with the Miami Heat, when he made the mistake of a pump faking on a 3-point shot.

And paid the price.

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect from that standpoint,” Ellington said. “I just know when I got here (coach Erik Spoelstra) said ‘Let it fly.’ The first time I pumped fake he made me run up and back in practice. I said, ‘All right I won’t be doing that any more, I won’t pump fake.’ And that’s the result.”

The result is Ellington is on the verge of the most prolific season from long range in Heat history. The Heat’s mad bomber became the third player in team history to surpass 200 threes during Miami’s 119-98 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday, his four threes giving him 201 on the season.

Ellington needs just three to pass Tim Hardaway, whose 203 threes in 1996-97 is second on the all-time list before aiming for Damon Jones’ franchise record of 225 threes from 2004-05.

Ellington needs to average 2.4 on the Heat’s final 10 games to catch Jones. He is averaging 3.0 per game for the season.

“It’s a testament of the coaches here, testament of the work I put in,” said Ellington, who previous high was 149, which he made last season, his first in Miami.

“It feels good, it feels really good. Like I always say, I credit my teammates, coaches. My teammates for setting screens for me, getting me open and finding me. Coaches for believing in me. But at the same time, I got a long way to go. I’m not satisfied at all with 200 threes.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is not surprised with Ellington’s success, not after watching his work habits the last two seasons. Ellington’s motor never stops. And Spoelstra has started comparing those workouts to a wide receiver running routes.

“He never stops running,” Spoelstra said. “He’s the ultimate wide receiver. He’ll run 20 routs, knowing 15 of them are going to be decoys, but every single one of them looks like the real deal. And as soon as you relax for one count, that’s when he gets you. The overwhelming majority of, particularly young players, simply won’t put in that type of work to become that type of movement, catch-and-shoot player. It takes too much effort, takes way too much conditioning for most people.”

Ellington like the comparison.

“It’s very accurate just in terms of how I run routes over and over, just the reps I put in, same routes, same screens I come off of,” he said. “Since last season and last off season I’ve probably done it more than 10,000 times so now it becomes muscle memory.”

Ellington is seventh in the league in 3-pointers made and attempted. He has made 39.2 percent of this threes (201 of 513), which is ninth among players with at least 400 attempts.

“You do it enough, you have floor presence and you can do things without even looking down to find out where your feet are,” Spoelstra said. “Wayne trains like that. And it isn’t an accident but it takes a Jerry Rice-type maniacal, obsessive compulsive work ethic to get it right every single time and to run patterns full speed. You just don’t see players – mostly young players, but even older players – that will make that kind of effort, commitment and consistency commitment every single day to train like that. It’s much easier to do other things than train how to learn how to run a pick and roll with a ball in your hands.”

[Bill Simmons took a shot at Dwyane Wade on Twitter, and Wade had a response]

[Kelly Olynyk reacts to Denver coach Michael Malone saying the Heat big man, ‘traveled all over the place’]

[Erik Spoelstra would like the Heat locker room to be a Stat Sheet-Free Zone]

[Heat injury update: Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside definitely out for Knicks game]

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Heat, Wayne Ellington set franchise records for 3-point attempts in loss at Kings. Did they shoot too many?

The Sacramento Kings’ Garrett Temple looks to steal the ball against the Miami Heat’s Wayne Ellington during the Kings overtime victory Wednesday in Sacramento. (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS)

LOS ANGELES – The Miami Heat set a franchise record with 43 3-point attempts in their 123-119 loss in Sacramento on Wednesday, eclipsing the 42 they hoisted on Jan. 15 against the Knicks.

Miami made a season-high 18, three shy of the franchise record.

Wayne Ellington’s 17 3-point attempts also was a franchise mark. Ellington, who made six, had 16 attempts in that same game against New York.

The threes were a product of a team scrambling to get back into the game in the second half and playing an overtime.

The Heat launched 27 in the second half, five of those in overtime. Ellington attempted 11 in the second half and the extra session.

The Heat needed every one of them to erase Sacramento’s 16-point fourth-quarter lead. Miami had 11 threes in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter on 15 attempts. The biggest was Ellington’s with 1:23 to play that gave Miami a four-point lead.

But Miami could not sustain that pace in overtime, missing all five 3-point attempts, including two each by Ellington and Kelly Olynyk.

The one stretch where you could say Miami depended on the long ball too much was at the start of the second half. Tyler Johnson’s three to start the half cut the Heat’s deficit to four, but they continue to jack them up. Four of Miami’s first five shots in the half were from distance and the Heat launched six threes in the first six minutes, falling behind by 10 points during that stretch.

Miami is averaging 30.7 threes a game and is on pace to smash the franchise record of 26.9 set last season. With 13 games remaining, Ellington needs 36 to break Damon Jones’ franchise record of 225 in a season set in 2004-05 and 100 attempts to surpass Tim Hardaway’s mark of 590 in a season set in 1996-97.

That means Ellington must average 2.8 makes, which is just below his season average of 3.0, and 7.7 attempts, which is his season average.

[Did the Heat forget to pack their defense for this road trip?]

[Dwyane Wade impressed with students who took part in walk-out day: ‘They’re not letting it go away’]

[Mailbag: Is a lack of rotation continuity hurting the Miami Heat?]

[Breaking down the schedules: What are Heat’s chances of moving up in Eastern Conference race?]

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Ray Allen made biggest shot in Heat history and now is a Hall of Fame finalist; Tim Hardaway not on list  

Ray Allen of the Miami Heat makes a game-tying three-pointer over Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – When Ray Allen joined the Miami Heat his best years were behind him. But not his best shot.

Allen, who has the most dramatic shot in Heat history, was named one 13 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2018 on Saturday.

Allen is one six first-time finalists along with former NBA stars Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith and four-time WNBA champion Tina Thompson.

Maurice Cheeks, Rudy Tomjanovich and Chris Weber return as finalists along with college coaches Lefty Driesell and Kim Mulkey, referee Hugh Evans and the 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.

Former Heat guard, a three-time finalist, Tim Hardaway, did not make the list this year.

Allen played 18 seasons, his final two with the Heat. He signed as a free agent in 2012 and helped the team win the 2013 title thanks to the biggest shot of his career. With the Heat seconds away from losing the Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, Allen made a corner 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in Game 6. The shot tied the game, the Heat won in overtime and then took Game 7 to capture their second consecutive title.

Allen, who now makes his home in Miami, also won a title with the Celtics in 2008. He was a 10-time All-Star, remains the NBA career leader in 3-point field goals with 2,973 and is sixth on the all-time free throw list percentage list at .894.

The fifth overall pick of the 1996 draft by Minnesota out of Connecticut, Allen was traded to the Bucks on draft night. He then spent 6.5 years with Milwaukee, 4.5 years in Seattle and five years in Boston.

Allen averaged 18.9 points in his career while shooting 45.2 percent, 40 percent on threes. In two years with the Heat he averaged 10.3 points.

At Connecticut, Allen was a unanimous first-team All-American in 1996. He was named the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1995 and won an Olympic gold medal in 2000.

[Report: Dwyane Wade was first Cavaliers player to challenge coach Tyronn Lue about Kevin Love’s illness]

[Heat’s Wayne Ellington enters 3-point contest under the radar. But here’s why he could leave with the trophy]

[NBA All-Star Game nod latest dream-come-true for Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic]

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Former player John Crotty named as Heat’s next television analyst

 

John Crotty will replace Tony Fiorentino as the Heat’s next television analyst.

John Crotty is moving over from radio to television.

Crotty will become the Miami Heat’s next analyst for all TV broadcasts beginning next season, the team announced today. Crotty, 48, will work alongside play-by-play broadcaster Eric Reid, replacing longtime analyst Tony Fiorentino.

Crotty, who played 48 games for the Heat in 1996-97, has been a member of the broadcast team since January 2005 when he became the Heat’s radio analyst. He will become the seventh person to serve as the TV analyst for the franchise and the second former player.

“It’s truly an honor to have such a lengthy history with the Miami Heat; first as a player, then as a radio broadcaster and now as the TV color analyst,” Crotty said in a statement. He went on to say that he is “humbled by the big shoes I have to fill, but very excited to take on the challenge.”

After a standout college career at the University of Virginia, Crotty entered the NBA as an undrafted free agent with the Utah Jazz in 1991. He spent the majority of his 11-year NBA playing career in Utah backing up John Stockton.

Crotty played for seven different franchises. In Miami, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 assists while serving as Tim Hardaway’s backup.

Crotty first appeared for the Heat on television during the 2006 championship season, when he was added to the team’s post-season coverage. He was a part of two Emmy Award-winning parade coverage shows and since the spring of 2012 has served as a studio analyst for all Heat home and road games. In addition to his work with the Heat, Crotty has also served as a color analyst on college basketball games for Fox.

“John has been part of the Heat family for many years, and has earned this opportunity,” said Eric Woolworth, president of the Heat’s business operations. “We are thrilled to have him on board as our color analyst and excited about the future of our broadcasts on Fox Sports Sun. We have every confidence that John is going to do a great job.”

The Heat have seen six former players, coaches and broadcasters serve in this role. Crotty joins a group that includes Reid (the team’s first TV analyst), Dave Wohl, Jack Ramsay, Ed Pinckney, Mike Fratello, and Fiorentino.

The Heat announced in June that this would be Fiorentino’s final season in a role he held for 14 years.

The team has not announced plans to fill Crotty’s current role on radio.

[Wade calls final year of Big 3 in Miami a “bad marriage.” Says he came to Cavs to be part of solution, not problem]

[Heat’s Andy Elisburg: From intern to VP/GM to St. Thomas University Hall of Famer]

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30 years of Miami Heat: Ranking the top 30 players in team history

A look at the top players in Heat history.

With the Heat just days away from the start of their 30th NBA season, now is a good time to take a closer look at the players who helped make this organization what it is today. Whether it’s based off of pure talent, off-the-court impact or just longevity, there are a lot of names that helped the Heat over their first 29 seasons of existence.

In celebration of the Heat’s first three decades, we bring you the Palm Beach Post’s top 30 players in team history … Continue reading “30 years of Miami Heat: Ranking the top 30 players in team history”

30 years of Miami Heat: 30 memorable moments from the team’s history

Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat makes a game-tying three-pointer over Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat will celebrate their 30th season in the NBA this year. Miami entered the league in 1988, and after few rough years, it has been one of the more successful franchises in the NBA, as one of just five teams to win at least three titles over the last 30 years.

In celebration of the Heat’s first three decades we bring you 30 memorable moments in team history:

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/adamhs10/the-30-most-important-moments-in-miami-heat-history”]

Miami Heat celebrate 30th anniversary in NBA: The Palm Beach Post looks back

30 memorable moments from the team’s history

Aboard the Imagination and in the Dynasty lounge, the Pat Riley era begins

The early years and an intern who now deals with multi-million dollar contracts

A look at how a group of South Florida sports fans became Generation Heat

Ranking the top 30 players in team history

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

30 years of Miami Heat: Aboard the Imagination and in the Dynasty lounge, the Pat Riley era begins

Micky Arison, Nick Arison and Pat Riley of the Miami Heat celebrates the NBA Championship victory rally at the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 24, 2013. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

 

On a sunny South Florida day 22 years ago, Pat Riley was introduced as the Miami Heat’s new coach and president on a cruise ship named Imagination and in a lounge called Dynasty.

How appropriate.

Ok, the Heat’s history may go back further than that, seven years to be exact when the NBA granted Miami one of its four new franchises in 1988 and Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham would launch this new adventure. But to many, even as the Heat begin their 30th season with Wednesday’s 2017-18 season opener in Orlando, the real beginning was that summer of 1995 when, about six months after taking control of the team, Micky Arison, the chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation, reeled in Riley.

Seven years of mediocrity was about to change.

“Pat’s presence has been the overriding factor in everything in Miami since 1995,” said Ron Rothstein, who has spent 20 years in the organization starting with being named the team’s first head coach.

“He’s made an enormous difference with his persona, his coaching greatness, his ability to organize and have a clear plan and go forward with it. You have to search hard and long to find someone who’s had a run like Pat has had in Miami. He’s in the Hall of Fame for a reason.”

Riley walked onto that stage on the newest ship in Carnival’s fleet knowing this would be different. Different even from his heyday as an A-lister among the glitz and glamour of L.A. — a nine-year run as head coach of the “Showtime” Lakers that ended with four titles and the Lakers becoming the hottest show in Hollywood — and four years amongst the celebrities of Madison Square Garden while leading the Knicks to four playoff appearances, including one trip to the Finals.

He was steering a different ship.

“The setting was cool,” he said about that initial news conference. “I remember the press conference and going up to the captain’s bridge. I remember my talk with the media. It just all felt different for me and I’m sure it felt different for them. I did have a track record that they could go back and say, ‘This guy might know what he’s doing.’

“When I got to Miami I didn’t really care where the team was. It was the vision and image that I had of where I thought I could take the team and the franchise based on the experience I had.”

Until Riley arrived, the Heat were known for a 17-game losing streak before winning their first game and for six losing seasons in their first seven.

To be fair, Miami was the first of the four expansion teams from the 1980s to make the playoffs, grabbing the No. 8 seed in 1992 before being quickly disposed of by Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

Still, everything was about to change.

“They made the playoffs once,” Riley said. “The whole thing, players revolving door, coaches revolving door, the infrastructure was not really up to snuff. As soon as I got the job I went down there and spent a month trying to infrastructure up whatever we could before the start of the season.

“Micky came in with a different approach, a different attitude. Right out of the box he wanted to try and hire who he thought was the best and you paid for it.”

The Heat gave up a conditional first-round pick and $1 million to the Knicks as compensation for letting Riley out of the final year of his contract in one of the most lopsided deals in sports history.

What has followed in Riley’s 22-year tenure as Heat president (including 11 as head coach) is 17 playoffs appearances, five trips to the Finals and three championships.

During that time, only the Bulls, Lakers and Spurs have won at least three titles and only the Lakers and Spurs have been to at least five Finals. The Knicks? They have advanced past the conference semifinals twice, and not since 2000. They have won one playoff series in the past 17 seasons.

“You have stable leadership at the top and that’s where it starts,” Rothstein said. “If you don’t have that I think it’s really hard to be successful.”

Riley went to work immediately upon his arrival. Within two months he acquired one cornerstone to his early years, Alonzo Mourning. Then, 3½ months after bringing in Mourning, Tim Hardaway arrived. Riley had laid the groundwork for the Heat’s first successful run and set the tone for what we would become accustomed to.

The Mourning acquisition may have been the most important in Heat history. It validated Riley’s arrival and instantly made the Heat viable. Riley believes Mourning was looking to join fellow Georgetown alum Patrick Ewing in New York at the time but Ewing, his their agent and Georgetown coach John Thompson convinced Mourning to try to lead his own franchise.

“There’s always a perfect storm,” Riley said.

Riley, though, would have to wait 11 years before the franchise’s first title, one in which the team’s most significant draft pick – Dwyane Wade – combined with another blockbuster trade acquisition – Shaquille O’Neal – to bring the first of three parades down Biscayne Boulevard.

With build-ups, tear-downs, and quick rebuilds now becoming the norm under Riley, the next significant day in Heat history was July 9, 2010, when LeBron James and Chris Bosh officially joined Wade to redefine the term ‘Big Three.’ What followed were four consecutive trips to the Finals and two titles.

But each departed in their own way. James decided to return to Cleveland. Wade wanted to experience playing in his hometown of Chicago. Bosh developed blood clots and has not played in an NBA game in 20 months.

And another era was born, one that Riley, even at 72, will continue to have his fingerprints all over, with help from his handpicked successor on the bench, and possibly someday in the front office, Erik Spoelstra.

“Thing happens,” Riley said trying to explain his success. “I don’t think it’s me, Pat Riley, because none of them knew me. A lot of people who don’t know somebody take a look at somebody’s record. I had a record of 13 years of having really good success and a reputation as a head coach and I think players want to play for that man or that organization.

“In the late 90s that’s what it was about. Players wanted to come to Miami and Micky opened the purse strings and agreed to the contracts. The next thing you knew we had a new arena and here we are in 2017.”

Miami Heat celebrate 30th anniversary in NBA: The Palm Beach Post looks back

30 memorable moments from the team’s history

Aboard the Imagination and in the Dynasty lounge, the Pat Riley era begins

The early years and an intern who now deals with multi-million dollar contracts

A look at how a group of South Florida sports fans became Generation Heat

Ranking the top 30 players in team history

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Chris Bosh’s jersey will be the fourth retired by the Miami Heat. Who will join him in the future?

These four players one day will have their jerseys hanging in the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena. (Getty Images)

Sometime in the future Chris Bosh’s No. 1 is going to be raised to the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Bosh was part of the Miami Heat organization for seven years before he was officially released Tuesday, a move that was expected after he missed the entire 2016-17 season and half of the previous two years because of blood clot issues.

In a statement in which he praised Bosh for his contributions to the organization both on and off the court, Heat president Pat Riley announced that one day the team will retire his number.

“The number “1” will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters,” Riley wrote.

Though it will never look like the rafters of the TD Garden where the Boston Celtics rich history is displayed, it won’t be long before the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena starts getting crowded.

Up until last season, just two jersey numbers were retired by the Heat, the No. 33 worn by Alonzo Mourning and the No. 10 worn by Tim Hardaway.

But starting last season, Heat fans will be treated to a number of ceremonies in which jerseys are raised to the ceiling.

Last December it was the No. 32 worn by Shaquille O’Neal.

Soon it will be Bosh’s No. 1, sooner if health issues prevent the 11-time All-Star from ever playing again.

Then, in no particular order we will see Dwyane Wade’s No. 3, LeBron James’ No. 6 and Udonis Haslem’s No. 40 hanging high above the AAA court.

Wade’s is a no-brainer and Riley said as much when Wade returned in November for his first game back after leaving Miami last summer for Chicago. In fact, if one player deserves a statue in front of the arena it is Wade.

Same with Udonis Haslem, the consummate Heat player who overcame going undrafted out of college and working his way onto the roster through a summer league invite to play a franchise record 14 seasons with the Heat and be a part of three championship teams. And Haslem is not done. He is expected to return for the 2017-18 season.

Then there is James. When it was announced Shaq’s number never would be worn again it became a slam dunk the same honor would be bestowed on James after he retires.

Shaq played 205 games with the Heat over 3 ½ seasons and won one title. James played 294 games over four years and was part of four championship teams. Neither player left the team on good terms but Shaq and the Heat eventually found peace and so, too, will LeBron and the Heat one day.

“When things come to an end, you don’t take it personal,” Riley said in December before the ceremony to retire Shaq’s jersey. “That’s all there is to it. My tenure in Los Angeles didn’t end well. My tenure in New York didn’t end well. I just hope my tenure in Miami ends well. I got over it quick. I love Shaq, I really do. He’s a great guy. … He’s going to tell you exactly what he thinks. I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. … There’s no hard feelings at all.”

[Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat career by the numbers]

[Five memorable moments during Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat career]

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Good news for Miami Heat: Some great players were drafted 14th

Tim Hardaway was drafted 14th by the Warriors in 1989 and traded to Heat in 1996. (Harry How /Allsport)

No matter how many times you avoided walking under a ladder, picked a four leaf clover, rubbed a rabbit’s foot or just crossed your fingers it did not work.

The Miami Heat could not overcome the 98.2 percent odds in Tuesday’s Draft Lottery and will be picking 14th in the June 22 draft.

But all is not lost. Of the 63 players selected with the 14th pick in NBA draft history, one already has his spot in the Hall of Fame and one has his number hanging in the AmericanAirlines Arena rafters.

Tim Hardaway, the greatest point guard in Heat franchise history, was taken 14th overall by the Warriors in 1989. Hardaway, who played at Texas El-Paso, was traded to Miami in 1996 and along with Alonzo Mourning led the Heat to six consecutive playoff appearances. Hardaway was a five-time All-Star and six times voted to one of the top three all-league teams.

Finding another Hardaway would be huge. But finding a Hall of Famer like Clyde Drexler would be franchise altering.

Yes, Drexler is a member of the 14th-Pick Club. He was taken in 1983 by Portland. He then carved out a Hall of Fame career with the Trail Blazers and Rockets, averaging 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 15 seasons, 10 of which he was an All-Star.

Drexler is the only player drafted 14th to average at least 20 points. Next in scoring is Hardaway at 17.7 per game and third is Peja Stojakovic, who averaged 17.0 points in 13 seasons, mostly with Sacramento. Stojakovic was drafted by the Kings in 1996 and was a three-time All-Star.

Hardaway is not the only prominent former Heat player to be taken 14th overall. Dan Majerle, who was drafted by the Suns in 1988 and signed with Miami in 1996, was a part of five of those Heat playoff teams as Hardaway’s teammate. Majerle was a three-time All-Star.

Which brings us to our all-time team comprised of 14th overall picks (We are going small):

PG: Tim Hardaway, 1989, Golden State.

SG: Clyde Drexler, 1983, Portland.

SF: Peja Stojakovic, 1996, Sacramento.

PF: Dan Majerle, 1988, Phoenix.

C: Maurice Lucas, 1974, Chicago.

Bench: G Luke Ridnour, 2003, Seattle; F/C Troy Murphy, 2001, Golden State; F Walter Berry, 1986, Portland; F Michael Cage, 1984, Clippers; F Herb Williams, 1981, Indiana; C Tree Rollins, 1977 Atlanta; G Dick Snyder, 1966, St. Louis.

The last five 14th overall picks:

2016: Denzel Valentine, SG, Milwaukee: Averaged 10.7 points in 57 games off bench.

2015: Cameron Payne, PG, OKC: Sent to D-League six times in two years; traded to Chicago in February.

2014: T.J. Warren, SF, Phoenix: Started 59 games this year, averaged 14.4 points.

2013: Shabazz Muhammad, SG, Utah: Traded to Minn.; numbers dropping since avg. 13.5 points second year.

2012: John Henson, PF, Milwaukee: Best year was second – 11.1 pts., 7.1 rebounds.

[2017 NBA draft lottery: Miami Heat will have 14th overall pick in June 22 draft]

[Mailbag: Could the Miami Heat trade their draft pick no matter where it falls? Tyler Johnson’s contract]

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