Delving into the advanced statistics, we can glean which players made the Heat tick for each season. I've done the research by going into every box score in every game in which the Heat have ever played, and distilled the results here for you on HHH. This is the third in a planned 29-part series, which will culminate just before the start of the 2016-17 season.
Season three of the great NBA experiment in Miami would see continued improvement of the still fledgling franchise, with six wins more than they had in their second season. They strung together consecutive wins four times through the season, even putting together a three-game winning streak in early March and closing the season with a 24-58 overall record. The five best players from that season are outlined below.
11 Sherman Douglas 1088.3
Douglas played his way to Miami's First Star for the second time in his two NBA seasons to that point, starting in all 73 of his overall appearances at point guard. He led the Heat with 1,352 points and with 624 assists in 2,562 minutes, an average of 35.1 minutes per game. Despite his high volume of shots taken, he led the club with a .504 field goal percentage, making 532-of-1055 from the field, including four-of-31 from outside. He made 284-of-414 from the free throw line, and added 209 rebounds (78 offensive). Douglas ranked second on the team with 121 steals and blocked five shots in total.
Douglas earned double-doubles in 26 games through the season, and dished out at least 10 assists on 28 total occasions. On November 10th, as the 1-2 Heat defeated the 3-1 Indiana Pacers, 120-105, Douglas scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting with 14 assists and two steals. In his best game of the season, on December 27th, he scored a season high 42 points on 14-of-24 shooting, with eight assists, five rebounds, and two steals as the 6-20 Heat defeated the 6-20 Denver Nuggets, 124-114.
Douglas only played in five games for the Heat the following season before the front office traded him to the Boston Celtics for Brian Shaw. Douglas would play the rest of the season as well as the next three and a half for Boston before logging time with the Milwaukee Bucks, the New Jersey Nets, and the Los Angeles Clippers before retiring after the 2000-01 campaign.
41 Glen Rice 859.1
Rice was much more productive in his second professional season. A year after nabbing the Fourth Star, he moved all the way up to the second slot with a team-second 1,342 points, starting in all 77 of his appearances for Miami at small forward. For the first of several times, he led the Heat in three pointers, making 71-of-184 for a 38.6% shooting percentage (ninth in the NBA). He made 550-of-1193 shots overall (.461) and 171-of-209 free throws (.818). He was third on the team with 381 total rebounds (85 offensive) and fourth with 189 assists and 101 steals. He also pitched in with 26 blocked shots.
Rice scored over 30 points on five occasions and had three double-doubles through the season. On Groundhog's Day, he scored a season-high 37 points on a 14-for-22 performance, making three-of-five from outside and pitching in with four boards, two assists and two steals as the 12-33 Heat dropped a 108-98 decision to the 11-33 Orlando Magic. Three weeks later, he scored 27 with six rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot in a game which saw 15-36 Miami turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 104-90 win over the 22-31 Washington Bullets.
4 Rony Seikaly 752.0
By Miami's third season, Seikaly was one of only two Heat players to rank amongst the team's best five players in each of the seasons to date. He started in 59 of his 64 overall appearances for the Heat at center, and led the club with 709 rebounds and with 502 defensive rebounds. He also led the team with 86 blocked shots. Seikaly played 2,171 minutes in total, shooting 395-of-822 from the floor (.481) and 258-of-417 from the line (.619), and dished out 95 helpers with 51 steals. His 11.1 rebounds per game would have ranked him sixth in the NBA if he had played as little as two more games.
Over the full season, Seikaly had 20 or more rebounds six times, and racked up a double-double in 36 of his appearances. On November 14th, Seikaly scored 30 points with 21 rebounds, three assists and three blocks as the 2-3 Heat defeated the 4-2 Dallas Mavericks by a 105-93 final. Unfortunately, for Seikaly, he ended up missing most of the month of January due to knocking knees with Billy Thompson in Miami's 10 point win over the Nuggets on December 27th. In his best game of the season, on April 19th in a 114-100 win over the 44-36 Philadelphia 76ers, he scored 35 points with 20 rebounds and three blocks to lead the 23-57 Heat to victory.
43 Grant Long 690.8
Long started in 66 of his 80 games at power forward for Miami. In 2,514 minutes overall, he made 276-of-561 shots from the floor (.492) and 181-of-230 from the stripe (.787). He scored 734 points for the team, which only ranked him sixth on the club with a 9.2 PPG mark. Nonetheless, he was an excellent Sundance Kid to Seikaly's Butch Cassidy, ranking second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per game and 568 in total. He actually led the team with 225 offensive boards. He had a team-fifth 176 assists, a team-third 119 steals, and a team-fourth 43 blocked shots.
Long totaled 13 double-doubles for the Heat in his (and their) third season, and three times collected 15 or more rebounds. January 18th would see him score 18 points on eight-of-12 shooting with 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals and a blocked shot as the 10-27 Heat set down the 14-21 New York Knicks, 107-86. On February 28th, he led 16-39 Miami to a surprise 100-98 victory over the 37-20 Detroit Pistons by scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 15 rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
21 Kevin Edwards 641.6
Edwards was the other of two players (with Seikaly) to appear in the top Five Stars in each of Miami's first three seasons. He led Miami with 129 steals, ranked second with 240 assists, third with 46 blocked shots, and fourth with 955 points. He also had 205 total assists through the season, and started in just 16 of his 79 appearances at guard, racking up exactly 2,000 minutes played. Edwards made 24-of-84 three-pointers (.286) and 320-of-927 shots from the field overall (.410), also sinking 171-of-213 from the free throw line (.803). He ranked eighth in the NBA with a 3.1 steal percentage.
On November 23rd, Edwards led the 3-7 Heat to a 116-100 win over the 6-6 Charlotte Hornets by scoring 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting, including two-for-two from outside. He also had six rebounds and five assists in 41 minutes. He came off the bench for 28 points, seven assists, three blocks, three rebounds and two steals in a team-high 38 minutes on March 26th, as the 20-49 Heat beat the 24-43 Cleveland Cavaliers.
34 Willie Burton 519.2
55 Billy Thompson 382.8
12 Bimbo Coles 327.6
44 Terry Davis 258.7
33 Alec Kessler 240.9
2 Keith Askins 79.1
20 Jon Sundvold 61.6
53 Alan Ogg 41.3
25 Milt Wagner 31.0
Check back here on June 13th as we take a closer look into Miami's fourth season, 1991-92. It features four familiar faces and one brand new to the red, white and black.