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Miami Heat Player Countdown: #38-37

In the 40th chapter of our countdown, we tackle former NBA Most Improved Player Isaac Austin, and Miami's newest signee, Michael Beasley.


38. Isaac Austin

Isaac Austin was a 6'10" center from Gridley, CA. Born on August 18th, 1969, he played at the high school level at Las Plumas in Oroville, CA. After two seasons with Kings River Community College, he transferred to Arizona State. As a senior in 1990-91, he scored 16.3 points with 8.7 rebounds per game. The Utah Jazz chose him in the second round of the 1991 draft, with the 48th overall pick.

Austin spent two seasons with the Jazz (77 games), playing just over five minutes per game and shooting 45% from the floor. He spent 14 games of the 1993-94 season with the Philadelphia 76ers, playing the balance of the season in the CBA with the Oklahoma City Cavalry. After playing in 1994-95 with CRO Lyon (France) and 1995-96 with Tuborg Pilsener (Turkey), the Heat signed him to a free agent contract for two years and $631,500 just before the 1996-97 season.

1996-97 would see Austin earn the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. He appeared in all 82 games, starting 17 and shooting at a 50.2% success rate in 22.9 minutes per game. He scored 9.7 points with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per appearance. He finished in double figures 42 times with 11 double doubles. In six games from March 6th through March 16th (all starts), he scored 18 points and nine rebounds in 36 minutes per game. On March 11th, he scored a season high 26 points on nine-of-11 shooting with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a 108-93 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami posted a 61-21 record, taking home the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat eliminated the Orlando Magic in five and the New York Knicks in seven before getting ousted in five by the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. Austin appeared in 15 of Miami's 17 contests, scoring 6.5 points with 4.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game.

Austin started in 25 of his 52 Miami appearances in 1997-98, shooting 47.4% and scoring 12.7 points with 6.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. He finished in double figures 33 times, including in 22 of his first 23 contests. He also registered eight double doubles. In a 108-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on November 22nd, he scored 33 points with 22 rebounds, leading both teams in both categories. He scored 28 points with eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists on December 3rd in a win over Philadelphia, 94-90. On February 19th, the Heat traded him with Charles Smith and a draft pick (Brian Skinner) to the Los Angeles Clippers for Brent Barry.

Austin played 26 games with the Clippers. He later appeared with the Magic (49 games), the Washington Wizards (59 games), the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzles (73 games), Ulkerspor (Turkey), Xinjiang Flying Tigers (China), and the Jersey Squires (ABA).

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 134 games, 24.3 minutes, 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 14.9 PER, 7.0 win shares.

37. Michael Beasley

Michael Beasley is a 6'9" power forward from Frederick, MD. Born on January 9th, 1989, the ambidextrous shooter attended Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, MA. He declared himself elibigle for the NBA draft after one collegiate season with the Kansas State University Wildcats. In his only season of college ball, he scored 26.2 points and grabbed 12.4 rebounds per game. The Heat picked him in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft, with the number two overall pick.

Beasley started in 19 of his 81 appearances as a rookie in 2008-09, shooting 47.2% from the field and 40.7% from three-point range. He played 24.8 minutes, with 13.9 points (team second), 5.4 rebounds (team third), and one assist per game. He had 58 occurences of 10 or more points, with eight double doubles. On November 29th, in a 97-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 24 points with five rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. On January 9th, in a 119-115 win over the Sacramento Kings, scored 23 points with 10 rebounds in 35 minutes. In his last five appearances of the regular season, he scored 24.2 points with 11.2 rebounds per game, with three double doubles. Miami earned a fifth seed with a 43-39 record, but lost to the Atlanta Hawks in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs. Beasley played in every game, scoring 12 points and seven rebounds per appearance. In Miami's game six 98-72 victory, he scored 22 points with 15 rebounds in 36 minutes off the bench. In consecutive seasons, he had earned McDonald's All American Honors, an NCAA AP All-American first team selection, and was named to the NBA's All-Rookie first team.

Michael Beasley Miami Heat mix 2008-2009 (via g4m3r50903)

In 2009-10, Beasley played in 78 games, all starts. He shot 45% from the field, but his long distance shooting rate dropped to just 27.5% in 29.8 minutes per game. He averaged 14.8 points (team second) with 6.4 rebounds (team third), 1.3 assists, and one steal (team third) per game. He Heat went 44-34 in his presence, and he earned 11 double doubles on the season. In a 115-95 win over the Toronto Raptors on December 15th, he scored 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting with 11 rebounds. He scored a season and game high 30 points with eight rebounds on February 19th, in a 100-87, two overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In his last regular season appearance, a 94-86, two overtime win over the New Jersey Nets on April 14th, he scored 25 points with 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Heat, owners of the fifth seed with a 47-35 record, were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, four games to one. Beasley averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game. He collected $8,953,560 through his first hitch with the team.

In July 2010, the Heat traded Beasley to the Minnesota TimberWolves for cash and two draft picks (Bojan Bogdanovic and a 2014 second rounder). He played two seasons with Minnesota (120 games), playing last season with the Phoenix Suns (75 games). Beasley, still just 24 years old, signed on with the Heat just a couple of days ago, and should move up this list (if I choose to update it in (two? five? 10?) a couple of years).

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 159 games, 27.3 minutes, 14.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 16.3 PER, 8.0 win shares.