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Miami Heat Player Countdown: #45-43

Good morning, and welcome to another Sunday Edition of the Miami Heat's all-time Player Countdown, exclusively on Hot Hot Hoops. Today, we look back at Quentin Richardson, Mark Strickland, and Gary Payton.

Marc Serota

45. Quentin Richardson

Quentin Richardson was a 6'6" shooting guard with DePaul University when selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 18th pick of the 2000 draft. Born in Chicago, IL on April 13th, 1980, he earned McDonald's All American honors for Whitney Young High in Chicago. He played two seasons for DePaul in college, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds and two assists per game. Richardson declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season.

Richardson played four seasons with the Clippers (281 games), one season with the Phoenix Suns (79 games), and four seasons with the New York Knicks (241 games). In 2004-05 as a member of the Suns, he led the NBA with 226 three pointers, also winning the NBA's Three-Point Shootout during All-Star Weekend. During 2009's offseason, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzles, for Darko Milicic, then to the Clippers for Zach Randolph. The Clippers sent him to the Minnesota TimberWolves for Mark Madsen, Craig Smith, and Sebastian Telfair. The Wolves turned around and sent him to Miami for Mark Blount.

With Richardson, the Heat inherited the last season of a six-year, $46,408,900, or $9,352,400. He started in 75 of his 76 appearances through the season, playing 27.4 minutes and sinking 43.1% of his field goal attempts. He also hit a career high 39.7% of his three point shots. An average night was nine points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal. He posted 28 double digit efforts and five double doubles as Miami went 44-32 with him in the game. He shot four or more three-pointers on 14 occasions. In a 102-95 loss to the Portland TrailBlazers on December 20th, he hit seven-of-seven three-pointers, scoring 22 points with four rebounds. On March 4th, he hit seven more three pointers, scoring 25 points with five rebounds in a 114-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Two nights later, in a 100-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks, he scored 22 points with 11 rebounds. Miami went 47-35 overall, finishing third in the Southeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, they lost four of their five postseason matchups in the opening round to the fourth-seeded Boston Celtics. Richardson played half an hour per night, shooting 40% overall. In game four, Miami's only win (101-92), he put up 20 points with seven rebounds.

Nightly Notable: Quentin Richardson Is Hot (via HeatTeo)

Richardson signed on with the Orlando Magic as a free agent following the 2010 playoffs. He spent two seasons with the team (105 games). He sat most of the 2012-13 season out, signing with the Knicks for a second time on April 16th. He played just one game, New York's 82nd of the season, a 98-92 win over the Hawks. He scored five points with 10 rebounds. He is currently signed for three seasons with the Toronto Raptors.

All-Time HEATline: One season, 76 games, 27.4 minutes, 8.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 12.8 PER, 6.1 win shares.

44. Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland, a 6'9" forward from Atlanta, GA, played his high school ball at McNair High in his hometown. Born on July 14th, 1970, he played three collegiate seasons with the Temple Owls. He averaged 10 points per game as a senior, and six rebounds per game through his career. After going undrafted, he signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Hawks in September 1992. He didn't make the team. After bouncing around for a while, he signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Indiana Pacers near the end of the 1995-96 season, scoring three points over four games. He spent 1995-96 in the Continental Basketball Association with the Yakima Sun Kings.

Before the 1996-97 season got underway, Strickland signed a two-year deal with Miami for $519,750. He appeared in 31 games total, averaging less than five minutes on the floor in each. In his extremely limited engagement, he shot 41.7% from the floor, totalling 62 points, 37 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Due in part to Miami being so far ahead by the time they put him in the game, Miami went 28-3 in his appearances. On January 16th, he totalled a then-career high with 11 points in 14 minutes, shooting five-for-nine in a 102-94 win over the Boston Celtics. In their last game of the season on April 19th, he again finished with 11 points, also grabbing four rebounds and blocking three of Orlando's shots in a 102-88 win. Miami finished at 61-21, winning the Atlantic Division with a second seed in the postseason. They defeated the Orlando Magic in a five game series to start the playoffs, also eliminating the New York Knicks in seven before losing to the Chicago Bulls in five games in the Eastern Conference Championship. Strickland got into four playoff games, scoring eight points in 16 minutes total.

Strickland appeared in 51 games, starting eight at power forward for Miami in 1997-98. It was arguably his best NBA season, as he set career highs in most categories, including 6.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, ad 0.7 blocks per game. He shot 53.9% from the field in 16.6 minutes per appearance. He finished in double figures 17 times with two double doubles, as the Heat went 34-17 with him in the lineup. In a 117-97 Heat win over the Boston Celtics on December 5th, he scored 20 points with six rebounds in only 16 minutes. On March 25th, in a 105-91 win over Boston, he set career highs with 23 points and 13 rebounds. At 55-27, Miami again went to the playoffs with a division title and the second best record in the Eastern Conference. They were shown the door in the first round by the seventh seeded New York Knicks, three games to two. Strickland played in three games, totalling nine points in 28 minutes.

Before the next season started, Strickland signed a three year deal with Miami for $6,802,400. 1998-99 would see him
shooting at a 49.5% clip, appearing 32 times, all but once off the bench. He played 11.2 minutes and scored 3.7 points with 2.4 rebounds per game. Miami went 22-10 with Strickland, who scored in double figures four times. In a 91-83 win over the Charlotte Hornets on February 24th, he scored a season high 13 points on six-of-eight shooting with four rebounds in 30 minutes. On April 29th, in a 107-96 loss to the Celtics, he scored nine points with eight rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench. Miami qualified for the playoffs with an Eastern Conference best 33-17 record, but were again eliminated in the opening round by the New York Knicks, again three-games-to-two. Strickland scored four points in eight minutes over two games.

1999-00 would Mark Strickland's (pun intended) last season in South Beach. He started five times out of a careeer high 58 total appearances. He shot 54.5% overall in 11.4 minutes per game, scoring 4.9 points with 2.4 rebounds. Miami went 36-22 with Strickland in the rotation, as he scored 10 or more points seven times. In a 101-96 loss to the Blazers on November 16th, he scored eight points with eight rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes. In a 96-88 win over the Denver Nuggets on March 10th, he scored a season high 13 points with four rebounds and two steals. Miami was the second seed at 52-30. After sweeping the Detroit Pistons in three games to open the playoffs, Miami lost in familiar fashion in seven games to the Knicks. Strickland closed out his Heat career by appearing in one game, scoring two points with two steals in 10 minutes. On June 27th, Miami traded him with Voshon Lenard to the Denver Nuggets for Chris Gatling and a draft pick (Eddie House).

Strickland played 46 games for Denver, later playing with the New Jersey Nets (nine games), the Atlanta Hawks (46 games), and the Dallas Mavericks (four games).

All-Time HEATline: Four seasons, 172 games, 11.7 minutes, 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 16.4 PER, 6.1 win shares.

43. Gary Payton

Gary Payton, also known as "The Glove," is a Hall-of-Fame point guard from Oakland, CA. Born on July 23rd, 1968, He was a four year starter for the Oregon State Beavers. As a senior in 1989-90, he scored 26 points with five rebounds and eight assists per game. The Seattle SuperSonics selected him in the first round of the draft with the second overall pick.

Payton played 12 and a half seasons with the Sonics, playing in 999 of a possible 1004 regular season contests. He tops the Sonics/Thunder all-time leaderboard in the category, also ranking first with 36,858 minutes played, 7,292 field goals, 7,384 assists, 2,107 steals, and 18,207 points scored. He also ranks highly with 917 successful three-point attempts (second), 2,706 free throws (fourth), and 4,240 rebounds, (third). He went on to join the Milwaukee Bucks (28 games), the Los Angeles Lakers (82 games), and the Boston Celtics (77 games).

Payton signed with the Heat on September 22nd, 2005 for two years and $2,316,848. 2005-06 would see him appear in 81 games, starting 25 times at point guard. He shot 42% from the field and 28.7% from three point distance in 28.5 minutes per game. He scored 7.7 points with 2.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists while sharing time at the position with Jason Williams. Payton finished in double figures 28 times. On December 11th, he scored a season high 21 points with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in a win over the Washington Wizards, 104-101. Three nights later, in a 100-83 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, he scored 20 points on eight-of-12 shooting with six rebounds, five assists and two steals. In a 111-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks on December 20th, he scored 15 points with eight assists and three boards in just 27 minutes for Miami. The Heat went 52-30 through the season before winning 16 games in the playoffs against seven losses for their first NBA title. Payton played in all 23 games, scoring six points with 1.6 assists in just over a half per game for his only career NBA title.

Miami Heat-2006 NBA Champions (via Corey Justus)

Payton stayed on for his second season in Miami, starting at point guard 28 times. He shot 39.3% from the field and 26% from three point range in 22.1 minutes over his 68 games played. He averaged 5.3 points, three assists, and 1.9 rebounds through the campaign. He finished in double figures a dozen times, as the Heat went 35-33 with him in the rotation. On January 22nd, in a 101-83 win over the New York Knicks, he put up his last career double double, scoring 10 points with 13 assists in 42 minutes. He scored 17 points with seven assists on March 11th as the Heat defeated the Wizards, 106-104. The Heat took the Eastern Division title and a fourth seed at 44-38. Miami lost four straight to the Chicago Bulls in the opening round of the postseason. Payton played in two games over 32 minutes, going scoreless with three assists to close out his NBA career.

A legendary trash-talker and one of the best competitors in the NBA, Payton was selected for the NBA's Hall of Fame on his first look, earlier this year. He is currently an analyst for Fox Sports 1's flagship show, Fox Sports Live.

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 149 games, 25.6 minutes, 6.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 9.7 PER, 6.3 win shares.