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Miami Heat Player Countdown: #69-67

Another day, another lesson. In today's brief, we cover former HEATsters Sasha Danilovic, Rasual Butler, and Chris Gatling.

69. Sasha Danilovic

Predrag Danilovic (commonly called "Sasha") was a 6'5" shooting guard from Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Born on February 6th, 1970, he played with Serbian team KK Partizan starting in 1988. He played for Virtus Palacanestro Bologna in Italy for three seasons starting in 1992. At the same time, the Golden State Warriors secured his rights in the 1992 draft, picking him in the second round with the 43rd overall pick. He was still playing in Italy when the Warriors traded him with Billy Owens to the Heat for center Rony Seikaly.

Danilovic signed with Miami for two years and $3,347,000, joining the team for the 1995-96 campaign. He made his NBA debut in the Heat season opener, an 85-71 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He scored a game high 16 points, pitching in with four rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes. He was limited to 19 games on the season, missing most of it after an injury in mid-December. He averaged 13.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, starting at shooting guard in each of his appearances except for one. He scored in double figures 14 times, or 74% of the time. On December 9th, in a 94-92 win over the Phoenix Suns, he scored a season high 30 points (shooting nine-for-15 overall, six-for-nine on three-pointers) with four rebounds and four assists. He hit 43.6% of his three-point attempts on the season, shooting 45.1% overall. Miami went 42-40, earning the eighth seed and a first round date with the Chicago Bulls. They lost in three games straight, as Danilovic played 60 combined minutes, scoring 25 points wtih four assists.

Predrag "Sasha" Danilovic (15pts) vs. Bulls (1996 Playoffs) (via LamarMatic)

In 1996-97, Danilovic started 33 of his 43 overall appearances while with the Heat. He played 31.4 minutes per game, shooting 44.2% from the field and 35.8% from long distance. He scored 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He finished in double figures 31 times. On November 12th, the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls, 105-97 as Danilovic scored 17 points with three rebounds in 29 minutes. On December 3rd, he scored 21 points on perfect seven-for-seven shooting from three-point distance in a 99-75 Heat win over the New York Knicks. On Valentine's Day, the Heat traded him with Martin Muursepp and Kurt Thomas for Jamal Mashburn.

Danilovic played 13 games with the Mavs to close out his NBA career. Later on, he rejoined Virtus Bologna, playing for three seasons before retiring in 2000. He went into management with his first club, KK Partizan soon thereafter, ascending to the club presidency in 2007. In May of 2013 he was involved in a bar fight, getting hospitalized with life-threatening stab wounds. He continues in his role as club president.

All-Time HEATline:
Two seasons, 62 games, 30.5 minutes, 12.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 11.1 PER, 3.6 win shares.

68. Rasual Butler

Rasual Butler, a 6'7" guard/forward out of La Salle University, was born on May 23rd, 1979. A native of Philadelphia, PA, he is a product of Roman Catholic High School in his hometown. He started for the Explorers for four collegiate seasons, averaging 19.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 38.3 minutes per game. The Heat chose him in the second round of the 2002 draft, with the 52nd overall pick.

As a rookie for the Heat in 2002-03, Butler played 72 games, starting 28 at shooting guard. He shot 36.2% from the floor, with a 29.2% three-point percentage. He scored seven and a half points, tacking on two and a half rebounds and just over an assist per contest. He posted in double figures in a third of his games on the season. On March 7th, in a close 91-89 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, he scored 20 points to lead the Heat, tacking on five rebounds. The next night, in a 98-92 Heat loss to the Denver Nuggets, he led all scorers with 22 points, again adding five boards. He also chipped in with three assists, two steals, and a block. On March 21st, he scored 18 points (including four treys) in a win against the Toronto Raptors, 107-98. Miami finished up with a 25-57 record, badly missing the postseason.

In 2003-04, Butler appeared in 45 games off the bench, improving his shooting percentages to 46.3% from deep and 47.6% overall in 15 minutes per game. He averaged just under seven points and one and a half rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 11 times. On February 17th, he scored 15 points in 21 minutes of a 97-85 win over the Utah Jazz. On March 4th, he scored a season high 20 points with five rebounds in a 104-98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. In a 100-89 win over the Orlando Magic five days later, he led the Heat with 19 points, including a three-for-five night from behind the arc. Under Stan Van Gundy, the Heat earned a fourth seed with a 42-40 record. They took on the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, taking the series in seven games before bowing out to the Indiana Pacers in six games. Butler played in 10 of the games, scoring two points with one rebound per contest.

2004-05 would see Butler start in 15 of his 65 appearances for the Heat, playing 18.5 minutes per game and scoring 6.5 points with 2.3 rebounds and one assist. He shot 39.9% from the field and 37.3% from outside. He finished in double figures 18 times. On December 13th, in a 106-83 win over the Washington Wizards, he scored 16 points with seven rebounds and five assists. On January 14th, in 39 minutes of a 114-112 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 18 points (including a perfect four-for-four from three-point range) along with five rebounds. He scored 20 in 28 minutes on February 1st, in a 109-104 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. On the 19th of April, in a 99-80 win against the Charlotte Bobcats, he scored a season high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting with six rebounds. The Heat went 59-23, nailing down the first seed by five games. After sweeping the New Jersey Nets and the Washington Wizards, they lost the Eastern Conference finals in seven games to the Detroit Pistons. Butler played 12 games, scoring 4.7 points with 1.5 rebounds.

Rasual Butler Mix by Patrys15 (via BigPatrys15)

During 2005's offseason, the Heat traded Butler away in a five-team blockbuster deal in which they also lost Qyntel Woods, Albert Miralles, Eddie Jones, and two second round picks (Edin Bavcic, Nikola Pekovic) and gained Antoine Walker, Andre Emmett, James Posey, Jason Williams, and Roberto Duenas. Butler played four seasons with the Oklahoma City/New Orleans Hornets (293 games). He later played with the Los Angeles Clippers (123 games), the Chicago Bulls (six games), and the Toronto Raptors (34 games). He is currently employed by the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Developmental League.

All-Time HEATline: Three seasons, 182 games, 18.6 minutes, 6.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 10.5 PER, 3.7 win shares.

67. Chris Gatling

Chris Gatling, known also as "The Energizer," was a 6'10" power forward and center from Elizabeth, NJ. Born on September 3rd, 1967, the big left-hander three seasons of collegiate ball with Old Dominion University, averging 21.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Golden State Warriors chose him in the first round of the 1991 draft, with the 16th overall pick.

Gatling played 311 games for the Warriors over four and a half seasons. He averaged nine points and five rebounds playing around one and a half quarters per game. Before the 1996 trading deadline, Golden State traded him along with Tim Hardaway to the Heat for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis.

Gatling entered Miami's rotation right away, playing 24 games to close out the season. He averaged 23.5 minutes per game, shooting at an all-world 59.6% clip. He put up 15.2 points with 7.3 rebounds per game. He finished in double figures 21 times, putting up seven double-doubles in the process. On February 28th, in a 116-112 win over the Orlando Magic, he hit nine-of-12 shots for 18 points with 10 rebounds. On March 16th, he scored 22 points with 18 rebounds win a win against the Houston Rockets, 121-97. In a 111-98 win over the Boston Celtics on March 24th, he went eight-for-12, scoring 20 points. On the 17th of April, he went nine-for-10 for 19 points with nine rebounds as the Heat dropped a 90-86 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers. Miami earned the eighth seed at 42-40, but dropped three straight to the top seeded Bulls for a quick exit. Gatling scored 18 points with 24 rebounds in the three losses.

Gatling did not stick with Miami, opting instead to sign on with the Dallas Mavericks (44 games). He was selected to the 1997 All-Star Game before being traded days later to the New Jersey Nets. He then played for the Milwaukee Bucks (30 games), the Orlando Magic (45 games), the Denver Nuggets (40 games), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (74 games). Before the 2001-02 season, the Cavs sent him to the Heat as part of a three team trade. Miami lost Ricky Davis and Don MacLean in the deal.

2001-02 would be Gatling's last NBA season. He played in 54 games for the Heat, starting one at power forward. He shot 44.7% from the field in 15 minutes per appearance, scoring six and a half points with four rebounds per game. He put up double figures in 14 contests for the Heat. He went six-for-seven from the field on November 24th, scoring 17 points in 24 minutes of a 100-96 loss to Cleveland. On March 2nd, he scored a season high 19 points with seven rebounds in a 109-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Miami went 36-46, missing the postseason.

Chris Gatling Career Mix (via LamarMatic)

Gatling later played with CSKA Moscow (Russia) and Scavolini Pesaro (Italy). He made headlines earlier this year when he pled guilty to theft and forgery charges in connection to his having squatted at an Arizona residence for 13 months. He was caught when he tried to rent the home out on Craigslist.

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 78 games, 17.6 minutes, 9.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks 17.3 PER, 3.7 win shares.