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Miami Heat Player Countdown: #57-55

Happy Labor Day, Heat fans! Today, take a break (from your break) and check out three more of Miami's forgotten heroes, Antoine Walker, Rod Strickland, and Brian Shaw.


57. Antoine Walker

When drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 draft by the Boston Celtics, Antoine Walker was a 6'8" power forward with the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Born on August 12th, 1976 in Chicago, IL, he was a graduate of Mount Carmel High, where he earned McDonald's All American Honors in 1994. He played two seasons under Rick Pitino with the Cats, as the team went a combined 62-7 during Walker's tenure, with a National Title in 1996. As a senior, he scored 15.2 points with 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per appearance.

In seven seasons with the Celtics, Walker played in 528 games and averaged 20.8 points, 8.7 boards, 4.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He made the all-rookie team, three all star appearances, and led the NBA in three pointers in 2000-01 (221), finishing second the next two seasons (222, 188). He played in all 82 games three times, and appeared 81 times twice during his seven year run. In 26 playoff games, he scored 20.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. For all his accolades, however, the one thing he couldn't boast was an NBA title. He joined the Dallas Mavericks for the 2003-04 season (82 games) before splitting 2004-05 between the Atlanta Hawks (53 games) and the Celtics (24 games). The Celtics unloaded Walker during 2005's offseason as part of a massive five-team trade that landed the ex-all-star in South Beach. He signed with the Heat for two seasons and $14,486,820.

Walker's first season with Miami would see him play in 82 games for the fifth time in his career. He shot 43.5 from the field with a 35.8 success rate from three-point range, playing 26.8 minutes and scoring 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and two assists per game. He finished in double digits 55 times, with four double-doubles. In the season opener on November 2nd, he scored 25 points, including four-for-seven from deep, along with a season high 16 rebounds and four assists in a 97-78 Heat win against the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 18th, in a 106-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, he sunk 11-of-13 shots overall, including three treys, with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals in just 30 minutes. On April 11th, he scored a season high 32 points with eight rebounds, five helpers, two thefts and a rejection in a win over the Toronto Raptors, 106-97. Miami was 52-30, earning the Southeast Division Title and a second seed in the playoffs. Walker led the NBA with 48 three pointers through 23 playoff games on his and Miami's way to their first NBA title. He scored 13.3 points with 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists through the postseason.

Walker started in 15 of his 78 appearances in 2006-07, shooting just under 40% from the field and just 27.5% from three-point distance. His averages dropped to 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He scored 10 or more points 31 times with three double-doubles. On November 5th, in a 107-98 loss to the 76ers, he scored a season best 23 points. The Heat posted a 44-38 record, again winning the division title. As the fourth seed, they faced the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls in the playoffs, losing four-games-to-none. Walker totalled 47 points with nine rebounds and six assists.

Just before the 2007-08 season, the Heat sent Walker with Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien, and a first round pick (Ty Lawson) to the Minnesota TimberWolves for Mark Blount and Ricky Davis. He played 48 games with the Wolves. After an absence from pro basketball, he returned in 2010 with the Guaynabo Mets (Puerto Rico) before joining the NBA D-League's Idaho Stampede for parts of two seasons. He retired for good during the 2012 offseason.

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 160 games, 25.1 minutes, 10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, 12.0 PER, 4.7 win shares.

56. Rod Strickland

Rod Strickland, a 6'3", 175 pound point guard from the Bronx, played for Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia in High School. Born on July 11th, 1966, he played with the University of DePaul in college. He played and started for three seasons, scoring 20 points with four rebounds and four assists as a senior in 1987-88. After declaring for the NBA draft early, the New York Knicks picked him in the first round with the 19th overall pick.

Strickland played a year and a half in New York (132 games) backing up all-star Mark Jackson. The Knicks sent him to the San Antonio Spurs midway through his second season, where he played for two and a half seasons (146 games). He later played with the Portland TrailBlazers (291 games), the Washington Bullets/Wizards (304 games) and the Blazers again (21 games).

Just before the 2001-02 season, the Heat signed Strickland to a one year, $1,000,000 free agent contract. He played in 76 games for Miami, starting 64 times at point guard. In 30.2 minutes per night, he averaged 10.4 points with 3.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists in each game, shooting 44.3% from the floor. He scored 10 or more points just over half the time, notching four double-doubles in the process. On February 23rd, in a 97-95 triumph over his former team in Washington, he scored 18 points with 14 assists in 38 minutes. On March 6th, he shot eight-for-11, scoring 23 points with seven assists and two steals in a 92-87 win over the Chicago Bulls. March 27th would see him score a season high 24 points with eight assists in a tough 81-80 loss to the Toronto Raptors. The Heat weren't quite good enough to make the playoffs that season, finishing with a 36-46 mark.

Strickland joined the Minnesota TimberWolves (47 games) the next season, later playing with the Orlando Magic (46 games), the Raptors (15 games), and the Houston Rockets (16 games). He is currently an administrative assistant for John Calipari at the University of Kentucky. He is also the Godfather of 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

All-Time HEATline: One season, 76 games, 30.2 minutes, 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks, 15.6 PER, 4.9 win shares.

55. Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw was born on March 22nd, 1966 in Oakland, CA. A 6'6" point guard out of Bishop O'Dowd in his home town, he played two college seasons with St. Mary's before transferring for his last two seasons to the University of California at Santa Barbara. As a senior, he scored 13.3 points with 8.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per appearance. The Boston Celtics picked him in the first round of the 1988 draft, 24th overall.

Shaw played two and a half seasons with the Celtics (178 games), interrupted by a season in Italy. On January 10th, 1992, the Celtics traded him to the Heat for Sherman Douglas.

With Miami that season, Shaw started in half of his 46 appearances, shooting 40% from the floor. He scored seven points, throwing in three rebounds and three and a half assists in just under a half per game. He finished in double figures 15 times. On January 15th, in a 134-115 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, he shot seven-for-10, scoring 14 points with six rebounds and three assists. He scored 14 points with six rebounds, five assists, and three steals on February 28th in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, 108-92. In a 114-93 loss to the Houston Rockets on March 5th, he scored 20 points with four rebounds, three assists, and six steals. Miami went 38-44, sneaking into the playoffs with the eighth seed before getting downed in three straight to the Chicago Bulls. Shaw totalled 36 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists in 85 minutes. The Heat assumed the second half of Shaw's contract, a four year deal for $5,451,000. Miami was responsible for $2,926,000.

In Shaw's first full season with Miami, he started 45 games, appearing off the bench 23 times. He played 23.6 minutes per game, shooting 39.3% overall and 33.1% from long distance. His contribution per game increased to 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Miami went 28-40 with him on the floor, as he finished in double figures 21 times with one double-double. On the 14th of January, he scored 14 points with 12 assists and seven rebounds in 39 minutes off the bench in a 104-93 loss to the Portland TrailBlazers. In a 130-129 win over the Denver Nuggets on February 15th, he shot 10-for-15, scoring 23 points with four rebounds and five assists. He scored a season high 32 points by draining 10-of-15 three pointers (then an NBA record for three-pointers made) with six rebounds, three assists and four steals in a 117-92 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on April 8th. Miami missed the playoffs at 36-46.

1993-94 would see Shaw start in 52 of his 77 appearances with the Heat. He played 26.5 minutes per game, averaging nine points with 4.5 rebounds and five assists. He also improved his shooting percentages, to 41.7% overall and 33.8% from three-point range, scoring in double digits 33 times and racking up 10 double-doubles. In a 98-90 win against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 22nd, he scored 17 points with eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals in 27 minutes. In 34 minutes on January 14th, he shot nine-for-13, including three-for-four from long distance, totalling 21 points with five rebounds and seven assists in a loss to the Blazers, 115-110. On February 5th, in a 96-94 loss to the Sixers, he scored 27 points with 10 boards and nine helpers to fall just short of a triple-double. Miami won another eighth seed at 42-40, but lost their best of five opening series to the Atlanta Hawks, three-games-to-two. Shaw scored a total of 39 points with 20 rebounds and nine assists, playing 22 minutes per game.

Shaw set out for greener pastures in 1994-95, signing with the Orlando Magic as an unrestricted free agent. He spent three seasons with Orlando (230 games), later playing with the Golden State Warriors (39 games), the Philadelphia 76ers (20 games), the Portland Trail Blazers (one game), and the Los Angeles Lakers for four seasons (284 games). After retirement, he worked as a scout for the Lakers. Later, he spent two seasons as an assistant with the Indiana Pacers. He was recently announced as the replacement for George Karl, taking over the reins as the head coach with the Denver Nuggets.

All-Time HEATline: Three seasons, 191 games, 24.2 minutes, 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, 12.1 PER, 5.0 win shares.