Although Miami continued to dominate the Eastern Conference through the regular season in 1998-99, it turned out to be a case of "big fish, small pond" syndrome. For the second year in a row, the New York Knicks punched the Heat out of the playoffs, three-games-to-two.
33 Alonzo Mourning 859.3
Mourning earned his fourth "Star" performance in a row, and for the second time came in as the First Star for his efforts in 1998-99. He played in and started 46 times for the Heat at center, making the NBA All-Defensive first team, the All-NBA first team, and winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. He finished second in the voting for MVP that season, and led the league with 180 blocks and 3.9 blocks per game.
Mourning led the Heat with 924 points and with 507 rebounds (with an NBA eighth 166 offensive) for the shortened season, also pitching in with 74 assists and 34 steals. He shot 324-for-634 (for an NBA-fourth .511) from the field and 276-of-423 from the foul line (.652), ranking fifth in the NBA in attempts and sixth in free throws converted in 1,753 minutes. His 11.0 rebounds per game was good for sixth in the association.
Mourning finished with a double-double in more contests than he didn't, turning the trick 29 times. He scored 20 or more points 22 times, collected 15 or more rebounds nine times, and blocked five or more shots a staggering 18 times. On February 15th, he sunk 12-for-18 shots to score a season-high 34 points, with 17 rebounds and seven blocks in a 95-72 win over the (still) New Jersey Nets. 11 days later, in a 95-93 squeaker against the Detroit Pistons, he scored 29 with nine boards, five blocks, and four assists. On April 14th, he made eight-of-11 shots from the field to score 30, also making 14-of-17 from the foul line and collecting 10 rebounds with four blocked shots.
Mourning was a major factor in Miami's five-game series against the Knicks, averaging 21.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 52.1% from the field, making 38-of-73 overall and putting up an average GameScore of 16.3.
10 Tim Hardaway 624.5
Like Mourning, Hardaway was appearing in the Five Stars for the fourth consecutive time. He made the All-NBA second team, and ranked ninth in the NBA with a team-leading 352 helpers. He played in 48 games for Miami that season, starting each of them at point guard and averaging 36.9 minutes with 17.4 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
Hardaway played a total of 1,772 minutes to lead Miami, making 301-of-752 field goals (.400). He was second in the NBA in three-pointers made and third in three-pointers attempted, going 112-for-311 (.360). His 835 points ranked second on the team, and he also helped with a team-fifth 152 rebounds, a team-leading 57 steals, and six blocks.
Hardaway had five double-doubles for the season, scoring 20 or more points 17 times. On February 8th, in the third game of the season, Hardaway scored 32 points with six assists in a 94-91 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Three days later, in a 102-84 win over the Toronto Raptors, he scored 27 points with nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals. Six days after that, he put up 29 points with nine assists, seven boards and two steals in a 91-80 triumph against the Pistons. In those three games (his highest GameScore outputs from the season), he shot 50% from three-point range, making 16-of-32 from deep.
Hardaway was not very good for the Heat in their five game postseason appearance against the Knicks, averaging a GameScore of 3.9 while making just five-of-25 from three-point range. He wasn't much better from two-point range, making 10-of-31 from inside the arc and averaging nine points per game.
42 PJ Brown 495.2
Brown made the All-Defensive NBA second team for the second time in three years with the Heat, and played his way to the Five Stars for the third time. He shared the NBA lead by appearing in all 50 games, all starts for Miami at the power forward position. He played 1,611 minutes to rank fourth on the team, scored a team-third 571 points, ranked second with 346 rebounds (115 offensive), a team-third 46 steals, and pitched in with 66 assists.
Brown shot 229-for-477 from the field for a .480 field goal success rate, sinking 113-of-146 free throws (.774). He played 32.2 minutes and scored 11.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game. He had seven double-doubles and scored 20 or more points four times.
On February 20th, Brown scored 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 15 rebounds (eight of them offensive), two helpers and two steals, playing 38 minutes of an 81-71 Miami victory over the Houston Rockets. In a 94-87 Miami loss to the Orlando Magic on March 28th, Brown shot nine-of-13 from the field over 38 minutes, with 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks. On April 7th, in a 93-87 win against the Dallas Mavericks, he scored 23 points with four rebounds and two blocks.
In the postseason, Brown played 144 minutes and appeared in all five games. He scored 10.2 points, with 6.2 rebounds per appearance, averaging a 7.9 GameScore although the Heat were not victorious against the New York Knicks.
30 Terry Porter 453.7
Porter was a 6'3", 195 lb. point guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born on April 8th, 1963, he played four seasons of college ball at the University of Wisconsin before getting selected in the first round of the 1985 NBA Entry Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. Porter was twice selected as an all-star over his 10 seasons with the Blazers, appearing in 758 games and averaging 14.9 points, 7.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. After three seasons in Minnesota, averaging 8.6 points, 4.1 assists, and 2.3 rebounds over 246 games, he was unceremoniously released. The Heat picked him up on the cheap, for one year and $1 million.
Porter started just one time for the Heat, but appeared in all 50 games to tie for the NBA lead at the age of 35. He totaled 1,365 minutes to rank fifth on the team, and put up an effective field goal percentage of 60.3%, which ranked third in the entire NBA. Porter made 172-of-370 shots from the field (.465), draining 58-of-141 three-pointers (.411) and 123-of-148 free throws (.804). He was fourth on the team with 525 points, pulled down 140 rebounds, assisted on a team-third 146 buckets (Dan Majerle had 150), and ranked second on the team with 48 steals.
Porter averaged 10.5 points in 27.3 minutes per game, with 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals, scoring 20 or more points three times for Miami. On February 9th, in a 108-101 loss to the Boston Celtics, Porter scored 21 points on six-of-10 shooting with three helpers, three steals, and two boards. On March 4th, Porter put up 16 points with seven assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals as the Heat dusted off the Denver Nuggets, 95-87. He only finished with a double-double in one game through the season, on May 2nd in a 100-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets,when he scored 18 points on seven-of-11 shooting in 31 minutes, with 10 assists, three steals, and two rebounds.
In the postseason, Porter averaged nine points, 3.8 rebounds, and three assists while appearing in all five games and playing just under 28 minutes per.
Porter went on to play three more NBA seasons, with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. He has appeared twice as an NBA head coach, with the Milwaukee Bucks and then the Trail Blazers. He was hired to coach at the collegiate level by the University of Portland on April 2nd, 2016.
35 Clarence Weatherspoon 341.8
Weatherspoon, a 6'6", 240 lb. forward from Crawford, Mississippi, was born on September 8th, 1970. A University of Southern Mississippi alum, he was initially selected in the first round of the 1992 NBA Entry Draft, with the ninth overall choice by the Philadelphia 76ers. He spent five-and-a-half seasons with the Sixers, averaging 15.3 points with 8.3 rebounds, two assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. His relatively diminutive height, coupled with his rebounding and shot-blocking ability earned him the nickname, "Baby Barkley." In the middle of the 1997-98 season, Philadelphia traded him with Jim Jackson to the Golden State Warriors for Brian Shaw and Joe Smith. He played 31 games for the team to close out that season.
As we all know, the 1998-99 season started late, and Weatherspoon signed on with the Heat on January 24th as a free agent. His first season in Miami would see him appear in 49 games for the team, starting three times at small forward. You won't find him on any NBA leaderboards for that season, but he ranked second in the league with a .607 "true" shooting percentage. He was fifth on the Heat with 397 points, sixth with 1,040 minutes, third with 243 rebounds (72 offensive), and third with 17 blocks. He also had 34 assists and 28 steals.
Weatherspoon made 141-of-264 field goals in total, leading the team (minimum one attempt per game) with a .534 success rate. He didn't attempt a single three-pointer, and sunk 115-of-143 free throws (.804). Weatherspoon played his way into the "Top Five" despite averaging less than a half of playing time per game, averaging 21.2 minutes (veterans Dan Majerle and Jamal Mashburn both averaged more). Weatherspoon's per-game average totaled up to a pedestrian 8.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and little else. Still, his ball control and relative lack of foul trouble, added with his other per-minute statistics totaled up to a team-third 17.0 Player Efficiency Rating.
On February 11th, Weatherspoon scored 12 points with five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in a 102-84 win over the Toronto Raptors. He had season highs with 22 points and 37 minutes on March 11th, making nine-of-10 shots from the field and adding five rebounds and a pair of steals in an 83-73 triumph over the Raptors. By GameScore, his best performance of the season was on April 29th in a 107-96 Miami loss to the Boston Celtics, when he started and scored 19 with three boards and three steals in 34 minutes.
Weatherspoon, like Hardaway, didn't really step up in the playoffs, averaging a 4.6 GameScore with 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per appearance. "Spoon" played another season in Miami, but would earn the seldom mentioned "Sixth Star" for his efforts. During the 2000 offseason, he was involved in the three-team deal that got the Heat Chris Gatling and Brian Grant. Weatherspoon landed in Cleveland, and played one season with the Cavaliers (82 games) before going on to join the hated New York Knicks for three seasons (150 games). He finished up his playing career after two seasons with the Houston Rockets (77 games). More recently, he won a lawsuit filed against him by two rap artists.
9 Dan Majerle 308.6
24 Jamal Mashburn 257.1
5 Mark Strickland 98.3
21 Voshon Lenard 67.7
23 Rex Walters 62.1
32 Blue Edwards 61.8
4 Duane Causwell 24.4
2 Keith Askins 23.4
Terry Mills 3.4
3 Jamie Watson 0.6
7 Mark Davis -2.0
40 Marty Conlon -2.0