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Miami Heat Player Countdown: #42-41

Today, our countdown shifts focus from three players per day down to two. In today's article, we review the contributions of Kevin Edwards and Rafer Alston.

42. Kevin Edwards

Kevin Edwards was a 6'3" shooting guard and one of the starting five in Miami's first ever game. A native of Cleveland Heights, OH, he was born on October 30th, 1965. He played college ball with the Blue Demons at DePaul, averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per apperance over two seasons. Miami selected him with the 20th overall pick in the 1988 draft. They had procured the pick from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for a promise that the Heat would select Arvid Kramer with their expansion draft selection.

Edwards led the brand new Heat as a rookie with a 13.8 scoring average and with 139 steals. He played in 79 games through the season, starting 62 at point guard and sinking 42.5% of his field goal attempts. He ranked second on the team with 4.4 assists per game, along with 3.3 rebounds in 29.7 minutes. Edwards finished in double figures more often than not, totalling 56 such games in 1988-89, along with three double doubles. On December 26th, in a 111-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs, he scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and six steals. In a 117-109 loss to the New Jersey Nets on February 20th, he scored a season high 34 points wih nine assists and six rebounds. He scored 25 points with 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks on March 10th, in a win over the Denver Nuggets, 131-130. Miami went 15-67 to start their existence.

Edwards played 78 games in 1989-90, starting 54 times at point guard. He scored 12 points per game shooting 41.2% in 28.3 minutes per night. He also collected 3.6 rebounds and dished out 3.2 assists with 1.6 steals per game. He scored 10 or more points in 47 games as the team went 18-60 with him in the rotation. On the 14th of November, in a 101-99 win against the Houston Rockets, he went 14-for-25 from the floor for 33 points along with six rebounds, six assists, and four steals. He scored 29 points with eight rebounds, eight assists, and five steals on February 2nd in a win against the Los Angeles Clippers, 126-91. On February 19th, he registered his only double double of the season by scoring 10 points with 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of a 94-85 loss to the Detroit Pistons. The Heat, although more competitive than in their first season, were still struggling to win under first ever coach Ron Rothstein - finishing at 18-64.

In 1990-91, Edwards started in 16 of his 79 overall appearances, playing 25.3 minutes per game. He shot 41% from the field, averaging 12.1 points with 2.6 rebounds, three assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Miami won 24 games and lost 55 with Edwards on the floor, scoring in double figures 49 times. In a 105-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks, he scored 19 points with 10 rebounds and five assists in his season's only double double. He racked up a season high 34 points with six rebounds and five assists on November 23rd in a 116-100 win over the Charotte Hornets. He scored 28 points on March 26th in a 104-98 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, adding seven assists, three blocks and two steals. Miami improved to 24-58, but still finished last in the Eastern Conference.

1991-92 would see Edwards appear 81 times, all but once off the bench. He shot a then career high 45.4% in 22.7 minutes per games, scoring 10.1 points with 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals. There were 44 occurences of him finishing in double figures. In a 113-109 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics on January 2nd, he hit seven-of-11 shots for 26 points along with four steals. He scored 24 points on 11-of-18 shots with six steals, four rebounds and two assists as the Heat lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 108-92. In a 123-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 6th, he scored 21 points with nine rebounds and four assists. Miami went 38-44, earning their first trip to the postseason with the eighth seed. Miami lost three straight in the opening round to the Chicago Bulls. Edwards scored 15 points with seven rebounds and seven assists in 55 minutes, appearing in all three games.

In 1992-93, Edwards was limited to 40 games, starting 30 times at shooting guard. He raised his field goal percentage to
46.8%, playing 28.4 minutes per games. He averaged 13.9 points with three rebounds, three assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He scored 10 or more points 29 times as the Heat went 15-25 with him in the lineup. In a 100-97 Heat loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on December 20th, he sunk 13-of-24 shots for 26 points, along with three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. On December 19th, in a 91-87 loss to the New York Knicks, he scored 20 points with six steals and three assists. On January 10th, he scored 25 points wih eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 101-89. Miami finished at 36-46.

Kevin Edwards: A Basketball Life (via 11iowa)

During the 1993 offseason, Edwards signed a free agent contract with the New Jersey Nets (189 games), later appearing with the Orlando Magic (12 games) and the Vancouver Grizzlies (46 games). According to Wikipedia, Edwards currently serves as DePaul University men's basketball team's director of community, corporate, and professional relations.

All-Time HEATline: Five seasons, 357 games, 26.7 minutes, 12.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks, 13.4 PER, 6.5 win shares.

41. Rafer Alston

Rafer Alston, sometimes known as "Skip to my Lou," was a 6'2" streetballer from New York, NY. His street moves were part of the inspiration for the AND1 tour. Born on July 24th, 1976, he played college ball for three different schools in three years, culminating with Fresno State in 1997-98. He scored 11 points with 7.3 assists in his only "major" college season. The Milwaukee Bucks chose him in the second round of the 1998 draft with the 39th overall pick.

Alston didn't make the Bucks roster right away, playing his first season with the CBA's Idaho Stampede and part of 2002-03 with the NBA D-League Moblie Revelers. He spent the balance of his time with the Bucks (114 games) and the Toronto Raptors (47 games). During the 2003 offseason, he signed with the Heat for one year and $688,679.

Rafer Alston Streetball Moves In NBA (via CorleHUN)

Basically a fringe player up until his time with the Heat, Alston took the next step, playing in all 82 contests and starting
28 times at point guard. He was on the floor 31-5 minutes per game, shooting 37.6% with a 37.1% success rate from three point distance. He scored 10.2 points with 4.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He ranked fourth on the Heat with 838 points scored, leading the club with 114 steals and 372 assists. Alston finished in double figures 42
times through the season. On the 9th of January, he scored 17 points with six assists and five steals in a 103-94 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. In a 99-88 loss to the New Jersey Nets on February 4th, he notched his season's only double double, with 10 points and 10 assists. His best game may have been on March 4th, in a 104-98 win over the Bucks, when he put up a season high 23 points with eight assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Although the Heat started at 26-36, they went 16-4 in the last 20 games of the season to nail down the fourth seed. After dispatching the New Orleans Hornets in seven games, Miami bowed out to the Indiana Pacers in the second round, four games to two. Alston played in all 13 games, all off the bench, playing 22.7 minutes per game with a seven point, 2.2 rebound, 1.7 assist average. His best game was a game one loss to the Pacers, 94-81, in which he scored 17 points with four rebounds and four assists.

Alston didn't stick around with the Heat, signing on with the Raptors (80 games). He also signed later with the Houston
Rockets (267 games), the Orlando Magic (29 games), and the New Jersey Nets (27 games). He was released by the Nets on January 7th, 2010.

Miami signed Alston soon thereafter for $753,133. His second stint with the Heat would see him start in all 25 of his appearances, scoring 6.6 points on 35.5% shooting. He also hit 37% of his three point shots, with 2.9 assists and 2.2 boards per game. He finished in double figures nine times, including January 15th in a 115-106 win over the Rockets. Alston scored 17 points that night with four rebounds. A week later, he scored 11 points with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals in a 112-88 win over the Washington Wizards. He started his final NBA game on March 2nd. He missed a practice and a game, prompting the Heat front office to suspend him for the rest of the season.

Alston spent part of 2011 with the Zhejiang Lions (China), joining the NBA D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2012.

All-Time HEATline: Two seasons, 107 games, 30.2 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, 12.3 PER, 6.7 win shares.