24. Anthony Mason
Anthony Mason, born on December 14th, 1966 in Miami, FL, was a four year starter with Tennessee State. After averaging 10 points per game as a freshman and 18 in his sophomore and junior years, he blossomed to 28 points, 10.4 rebounds and three assists per contest as a senior with the 1987-88 team. The Portland TrailBlazers selected him in the third round (remember the third round?) of the draft, with the 53rd overall pick. He didn't make the cut out of camp, although the Blazers retained his rights. Instead of sitting around, he journeyed to the city of Istanbul, Turkey, where he played his first professional season with Efes Pilsen. The Blazers released him during the 1989 offseason.
Soon thereafter, Mason signed a free agent deal with the New Jersey Nets (21 games). He played three games with the Denver Nuggets in 1990-91 before finally making a mark at the NBA level with the New York Knicks, with whom he played for the next five seasons (395 games). He led the NBA in minutes in 1995-96, with 3457. He then spent three seasons (over four years due to an injury in 1998-99) with the Charlotte Hornets (236 games). On August 1st, 2000, the Hornets traded him with Ricky Davis, Dale Ellis, and Eddie Jones to Miami for PJ Brown, Rodney Buford, Tim James, Jamal Mashburn and Otis Thorpe. Miami would pay him $5,550,000 for his service over one year.
Mason earned his only career all-star selection for his only season in Miami, starting all 80 times that he appeared in the lineup at power forward. He shot 50.5% from the field in 40.7 minutes per game, scoring 16.1 points (team second) with a team leading 9.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists (team third), and one steal (team fourth). He posted 69 games in double digit points and 38 games in double digit rebounds, on 36 occasions on the same night. On November 29th, in an 84-81 victory over the Knicks, he scored 19 points with 18 rebounds and two assists. He scored 24 points with 16 rebounds and three dimes on December 13th, in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, 94-88. In a 93-85 win against the Detroit Pistons on January 16th, he scored 23 points with 18 rebounds. On March 7th, in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, 93-86, he scored 25 points with 15 rebounds and four assists. He drained seven-of-eight field goal attempts, scoring 18 points with 12 rebounds and five assists on March 31st, as the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls, 97-90. The Heat went 50-32, earning the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami fell to the Charlotte Hornets in three straight games. For his part, Mason scored 16 points and nine rebounds in total.
After the season, Mason signed on to play for the Milwaukee Bucks, where he spent the last two seasons of his career (147 games). His son, Anthony Jr. tried out for the Heat after playing with St. John's Red Storm in college.
All-Time HEATline: One season, 80 games, 40.7 minutes, 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 17.0 PER, 11.4 win shares.
23. James Posey
James Posey, a Cleveland, OH native, was a 6'8" small forward when drafted out of Xavier University. Born on January 13th, 1977, he played three seasons with the Commodores, averaging 15.3 points with 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. The Denver Nuggets selected him in the first round of the 1999 draft, with the 18th overall pick. He played three and a half seasons with the Nuggets (261 games), later joining the Houston Rockets (58 games) and the Memphis Grizzlies (132 games). Miami acquired him in the five-team trade that also brought Antoine Walker and Jason Williams to the Heat.
In 2005-06, Posey started 63 times at small forward, appearing four times off the bench. In 28.6 minutes per game, he averaged 7.2 points on 40.3% shooting (from both two-point and three-point range) with 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Miami went 44-23 with him in the rotation, with 18 occasions of 10 or more points scored. On November 28th, in a 107-94 victory against the New York Knicks, he scored a season high 19 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He scored 17 points with nine rebounds and two steals on January 14th in a 100-94 win over the Utah Jazz. His only double double of the season came on Groundhog's Day, in a 101-73 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, when he scored 11 points with 10 rebounds. Miami secured the second seed at 52-30, eventually winning the franchises first NBA title. In 22 playoff games, he scored 7.3 points with 5.7 rebounds per contest. His best game was Miami's game six series clinching win over the Bulls, when he scored 18 points (including five-of-seven three pointers) with seven rebounds off the bench.
2006-07 would see Posey score 7.7 points on 43.1% shooting in 27 minutes per game. He started 19 times at small forward, appearing 71 times overall and shooting 37.5% from long distance. He also pitched in five rebounds, 1.3 assists, and one steal per contest. He scored in double digits 23 times as Miami went 40-31 with him on the floor. On December 15th, in a 106-95 loss to the Washington Wizards, he scored a season high 26 points with seven rebounds and three dimes. He scored 16 points with 11 rebounds and four steals on March 16th, in a win over the Sacramento Kings, 103-97. The Heat posted a 44-38 record, a Southeast Division Championship, and the fourth seed in the East. They lost four straight games in the opening round to the Bulls. Posey scored 31 points with 31 rebounds and eight steals.
Posey signed on with the Celtics the following season (74 games), later playing with the New Orleans Hornets (152 games) and the Indiana Pacers (49 games). He was recently named an assistant coach with the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League.
All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 138 games, 27.8 minutes, 7.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, 11.3 PER, 11.7 win shares.