Miami Heat Player Countdown: #36-35

USA TODAY Sports

Check out today's entrants in the countdown, recently departed three-point specialist Mike Miller, and original Heat alum Billy Thompson.

36. Mike Miller


Mike Miller is a 6'8" shooting guard/small forward from the University of Florida. Born on February 19th, 1980 in Mitchell, SD, he played two seasons with the Gators, averaging 13.3 points, six rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game through his sophomore season. After declaring early for the 2000 NBA Draft, he was picked in the first round by the Orlando Magic with the fifth overall pick.

Miller played two and a half seasons with our neighbors to the north (194 games), later appearing with the Memphis Grizzlies (371 games), the Minnesota TimberWolves (73 games), and the Washington Wizards (54 games). The departure of Michael Beasley before the 2010 season opened a spot for him on Miami's roster. He signed for three seasons and $16,200,000.

2010-11 would see Miller appear in 41 games for the Heat, starting two at shooting guard. He played 20.4 minutes per game with a 40.1% shooting success rate overall, and a .364 shooting percentage from outside. He scored 5.6 points with 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He had nine games of 10 points or more and three double doubles, as Miami posted a 27-14 record with him in the rotation. His best game of the season came on January 22nd, in a 120-103 win over the Toronto Raptors, when he scored 32 points (including six-for-11 from outside) with 10 rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes. The Heat went 58-24 in the first season of the current "big three," securing the second seed. After eliminating the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, and the Chicago Bulls in five games each, they lost the NBA finals in six games to the Dallas Mavericks. For his part, Miller scored 47 points with 49 rebounds, hitting a total of 11 three pointers and dishing out 13 assists in 18 games.

In 2011-12, Miller started two of 39 games at shooting guard, shooting 43.5% from the floor and 45.3% from three point distance. He played 19.3 minutes with 6.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. He scored in double figures seven times with one double double as the Heat compiled a 29-10 record with him in the lineup. In his first appearance of the season, he went six-for-six from long distance, scoring 18 points with four rebounds on January 17th in a 120-98 win against the San Antonio Spurs. He sunk at least one three pointer in 35 of his 39 appearances. Miami registered a 46-20 strike shortened record, taking the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami defeated the New York Knicks in five games, the Indiana Pacers in six games, and the Boston Celtics in seven games before shutting down the Oklahoma City Thunder in five. Miller scored 120 points with 58 rebounds and 17 assists. In the deciding game five 121-106 win over OKC, he came off the bench to hit seven-of-eight three pointers for 23 points with five rebounds.

Mike Miller Top 10 Plays at Miami Heat—Thanks, Mike! (via LV James)

Miller started in 17 of his 59 starts at small forward, playing 15.3 minutes and scoring 4.8 points with 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest. He shot 41.7% from long distance and 43.3% overall. He tallied more than nine points on 11 occasions, and Miami went 47-12 with him. In his final nine games of the regular season, he averaged over three three-pointers and over 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Miami's 66-16 record earned them the first seed in the playoffs, and home court advantage. They took care of the Milwaukee Bucks in four, the Bulls in five, the Pacers in seven, and the Spurs in seven. He appeared 17 games through the postseason, scoring 3.4 points with 1.9 rebounds.

On July 29th, Miller signed a new contract to play for his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies for one year and the veteran's minimum of $1,399,507.

All-Time HEATline: Three seasons, 139 games, 17.9 minutes, 5.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 11.5 PER, 8.0 win shares.

35. Billy Thompson


Billy Thompson, born December 1st, 1963, was a 6'7" power forward from Camden, NJ, where he also attended high school. He was selected as a McDonald's All American in 1982. He then joined the University of Louisville Cardinals for four seasons of collegiate basketball. Over his last two seasons, he averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game. The Atlanta Hawks selected him in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft with the 19th overall pick. Immediately afterward, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thompson played his first two professional seasons with the Lakers, appearing in 68 games and helping the team to the 1987 NBA Championship. The Lakers left him unprotected in the expansion draft, where the Heat picked him up. He signed for two years and $997,500.

Thompson appeared in 79 games, starting 58 times at small forward for the 1988-89 Heat. He shot 48.7% in 28.8 minutes per game. He averaged 10.8 points (team fifth), and 2.2 assists per appearance, leading the team with 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. The "BT Express" scored 10 or more points 44 times with 13 double doubles. In a 121-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets on December 9th, he scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and four blocks in 34 minutes. He shot 11-for-15, scoring a season and game high 30 points with 16 rebounds on January 30th, in a 105-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On March 27th, in a 100-79 win over the New Jersey Nets, he scored 17 points with 14 rebounds. Miami posted a 15-67 record.

1989-90 would see Thompson start in 45 of his 79 games, spending 27.1 minutes on the floor and scoring 11 points (team fifth), grabbing seven rebounds (team second), dishing out two assists (team fourth), and blocking one shot (team second) per game. He finished in double digits 27 times with 13 double doubles. On November 29th, in a 105-100 loss to the Minnesota TimberWolves, he had a 13-for-18 night, scoring 28 points with 15 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. He scored 29 points with 16 rebounds, six assists and four steals on April 4th, as the Heat lost 128-114 to the Golden State Warriors. On April 20th, in a 117-112 win against the Washington Bullets, He scored 18 points with eight rebounds and seven assists. Miami improved to 18-64.

In 1990-91 he appeared 73 times, starting 46 times. He played 20.3 minutes, scored 6.8 points with 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He shot 49.9% from the floor. He had three double doubles, and scored 10 or more points 23 times. On January 8th, he scored 14 points with 13 rebounds in a win against the Sacramento Kings, 95-83. In a 104-102 triumph over the Orlando Magic on January 15th, he scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and three assists. The Heat finished at 24-58.

Miami released Thompson after the season. He signed with the Milwaukee Bucks before 1991's training camp, but failed to make the opening day roster. On March 4th, 1992, he signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors. He played one minute of one game. He later played with the Rapid City Thrillers (CBA), the San Miguel Beermen (PBA), Fenerbahce (Turkey), Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel), and Penarol de Mar del Plata (Argentina).

All-Time HEATline: Three seasons, 231 games, 25.5 minutes, 9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.0 blocks, 13.3 PER, 8.1 win shares.

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