clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five Stars: 2004-05

New, comments

Season 17 of the Heat featured the pairing of Shaq and Wade, two Jones, and UD’s best season (so far).

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls, Game 2 Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Miami’s 17th season would be the true start of Miami’s second era of winning basketball, and would see them post a 59-23 record for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They made quick work by sweeping the New Jersey Nets and the Washington Wizards in the first two rounds of the postseason before getting eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Detroit Pistons in a seven-game dogfight.

First Star

3 Dwyane Wade 1686.3

Wade played in and started 77 games for Miami at shooting guard in his second NBA season. A sophomore slump was not in the cards for who would someday become Miami’s statistical leader in nearly every category, as he made his first All Star team, as well as getting selected for the All-NBA and NBA All-Defensive Second Teams. He had a sky-high and NBA sixth-high 30.9% usage rate, 11.0 Win Shares, and stood at 4.8 VORP, ranking first on the team in each category and second with an NBA 10th 23.1 PER.

Wade led Miami with 2,974 minutes on the floor, an NBA-ninth 1,854 points scored, 121 steals, and with an NBA 10th 520 assists. He ranked fourth with 397 rebounds (110 offensive) and pitched in a team-second 82 blocked shots.

Wade made 630-of-1318 shots overall from the floor (.478) and 13-of-45 from three-point distance (.289), also draining an NBA fourth 581-of-762 from the foul line (.762). He scored a team-leading and NBA-ninth 24.1 points in 38.6 minutes per game (Heat first), with an NBA 10th 6.8 assists (Heat first), 5.2 rebounds (Heat third), 1.6 steals (Heat first) and 1.1 blocks (Heat third).

Wade posted 16 double-doubles through the season as the Heat went 56-21 with him in the lineup. He scored 20 or more points 56 times. On November 6th, in a 118-106 win over the Washington Wizards, he played 37 points on 11-of-16 shooting, also making his only three pointer and 14-of-16 from the line with 12 assists and eight rebounds. He scored 38 points with eight helpers, five steals, and four rebounds in a 93-91 loss to the Indiana Pacers on February 23rd. By GameScore, his finest effort of the season came in a 126-119 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on April 14th, when he dropped 48 points on 18-of-33 shots, along with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Wade’s performance didn’t flag in the postseason. In fact, his PER went up over a point to 24.3 as he averaged 27.4 points, 6.6 helpers, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks by playing 40.8 minutes per game. In Game One of the second round, a 116-98 win over the New Jersey Nets on April 24th, he scored 32 with eight assists and five boards over 40 minutes. On May 10th, in a 108-102 Heat win over the Washington Wizards in Game Two of the second round, he scored 31 points with 15 assists, seven rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocked shots. Four days later, in a 99-95 Heat win against the Wizards, he scored 42 points on 13-of-22 shooting, with seven rebounds and four assists. In Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons, he led the Heat to a 92-86 victory with 40 points, eight rebound, six assists and two blocks.

Second Star

32 Shaquille O’Neal 1472.5

O’Neal was a 7’1”, 325 lb. center from Newark, New Jersey. Born on March 6th, 1972, he’s also known as “Shaq”, “Diesel”, and “The Big Aristotle.” He played three seasons of college ball with the Louisiana State University Tigers, scoring 21.6 points with 13.5 rebounds over 90 contests. The Orlando Magic chose him in the first round of the 1992 NBA Entry Draft with the first overall selection.

After four all-star seasons with the Magic, in which he averaged 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.4 assists over 295 contests, O’Neal signed through free agency to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. He would win three rings with LA, and average 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks over 514 regular season games. He also made the All Star roster in seven out of his eight seasons while playing in the City of Angels.

Shaq signed a contract to play for the Heat through free agency, for six years and $128,696,430. His first season in Miami would see him lead the team with an NBA-third 27.0 PER, and rank second with a 30.5% usage rate. He tied Dwyane Wade for the team-lead with 11.0 Win Shares, and was second by 0.1 wins with a 4.7 VORP.

O’Neal averaged a team-second 22.9 points in a team-third 34.1 minutes per game for the Heat, with team-leading figures of 10.4 rebounds (NBA sixth) and 2.3 blocks (also NBA sixth), along with a Heat-third 2.7 assists. He made his 12th All Star team and made the All-NBA First Team for the seventh time, leading the NBA with a .601 field goal percentage by hitting 658-of-1095 from the field.

A point of contention for O’Neal throughout his career was his terrible free throw percentage, and in his three full seasons in Miami would post the three worst full-season free throw percentages of his 19 season NBA career. He made 353-of-765 free throws for the season (.461) in 2004-05, ranking third in the NBA with his 765 attempts. (If he had hit a modest 70%, he would have led the Heat with 25.4 points per game). In fact, the Heat went 53-20 in O’Neal’s appearances through the season, and in 11 of those losses, the Heat would have won had O’Neal made more of his free throw attempts. Do the math. This version of the Heat was a clear 70-win threat with a decent free-throw shooting O’Neal. He totaled a team-second 1,669 points for the Heat, with a team-leading 760 rebounds, a team-fourth 200 assists, a club-best and NBA-fourth 171 blocks, and 36 steals.

O’Neal racked up 43 double-doubles through the season for the Heat, scoring 20 or more points 52 times and finishing in double figures in every game but one. He had 15 or more rebounds on 11 occasions, and six games where he finished with at least five blocked shots. On November 30th, in a 94-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors, he made 12-of-15 shots from the field and 10-of-13 from the foul line, scoring 34 points with 17 rebounds. Two weeks later, on December 13th, he threw in 40 on 15-for-23 shooting, with a dozen rebounds, five blocks, and three assists in a 106-83 victory against the Washington Wizards. On March 10th, he stared down Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota TimberWolves, scoring 33 points with 13 rebounds, three blocks and three assists as Miami won, 107-90.

When Miami made the postseason, for some reason O’Neal’s PER dropped nearly nine points, from 27 way down to 18.1. Still, he averaged 19.4 points with 7.8 boards, 1.9 assists and 1.5 blocks in 33.2 minutes per game.

Third Star

19 Damon Jones 939.6

Damon Jones, also known as “Basketball Jones,” or “The Specialist,” was a 6’3”, 185 lb. guard from Galveston, Texas. Born on August 25th, 1976, he played three collegiate seasons for the Houston Cougars, averaging 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 81 games overall. After going undrafted in the 1997 NBA Entry Draft, he signed on with the IBA’s Black Hills Posse, later appearing in the USBL with the Jacksonville Barracudas and in the CBA with the Idaho Stampede.

Before eventually making his way to Miami, Jones played with the New Jersey Nets (11 games, 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals per 36), the Boston Celtics (13 games, 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steals per 36), the Golden State Warriors (13 games, 12.5 points, 7.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals per 36), the Dallas Mavericks (42 games, 14.3 points, 4.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals per 36), the Vancouver Grizzlies (71 games, 11.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds per 36), the Detroit Pistons (67 games, 11.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds per 36), the Sacramento Kings (49 games, 11.4 points, 4.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds per 36) and the Milwaukee Bucks (82 games, 10.2 points, 8.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds per 36).

Jones was the only player on the Heat to play in all 82 games for Miami, starting 66 times for them at the point. He ranked fourth on the team with 2,576 minutes played, and fourth with 955 points. He was second with 350 dimes, fourth with 44 steals, and also had 231 rebounds.

Jones’ big weapon was the three-point shot, and he made 225-of-521 for Miami (an NBA-fifth .432). Overall, he made 331-of-726 from the floor (.456) and 68-of-86 from the foul line (.791). He had a team-fourth 11.6 points per game, ranked fifth with 31.4 minutes per game, and second with 4.3 assists.

From an advanced metrics point of view, the 2004-05 Miami Heat were Shaq, Wade, then everybody else. Jones, no exception, wound up with a 15.6% usage rate, a team-fourth 8.7 Win Shares, a slightly better-than-the-average-player PER of 15.5, and a surprising 2.9 VORP. Going by these statistics, Jones’ Heat campaign was by far the best season of his career. His next highest VORP would be the following season, when he posted a 0.5 mark with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In fact, if you were to add Jones’ career VORP to the 2.9 value he earned with the Heat, you would end up with......2.9.

None of what occured outside of 2004-05 really mattered to the 2004-05 Heat, who were more than happy to welcome Jones to the lineup. He finished 48 games in double figures for Miami. On February 11th, he scored 22 points on eight-of-11 shooting, including six-of-eight from outside along with eight assists in a 97-87 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Five days later, he scored a career-high 31 points on nine-for-11 shooting, making eight-of-10 from deep and adding five helpers and three rebounds as the Heat finished off the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-95. On March 31st, he made five-of-five from three-point range, adding a five-for-eight success rate from inside the arc for 27 points, along with five boards and four assists as the Heat dropped a 114-108 decision to the Indiana Pacers.

Check out this terrible video (looks like it was shot with a toaster), which is the only one I could find of Damon Jones (besides his posterizing at the hands of LeBron James, which is everywhere).

Jones scored 12.1 points per game through the playoffs, with four assists and 2.7 rebounds in 33.2 minutes over 15 appearances. His best game through the postseason came in Miami’s series opener with the Nets on April 24th, in which Jones scored 30 points on 10-of-12 shooting, making seven-of-nine from deep along with four assists as Miami defeated New Jersey, 116-98 in the first of four straight victories.

Jones signed on with the Cavaliers through free agency during the 2005 offseason, and after having never played more than a full season with any one team, spent three years with the club (209 games, 10.8 points, 3.0 assists, 2.1 rebounds per 36). He then spent part of 2008-09 with the Bucks (18 games, 11.0 points, 2.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals per 36). He currently serves as a “shooting consultant” with the Cavaliers and their NBADL affiliate, the Canton Charge.

Fourth Star

40 Udonis Haslem 930.1

Haslem, a 6’8”, 235 lb. power forward from Miami, Florida, has been with the Heat longer than anyone, and will appear in his team-record 14th season on October 26th. His cumulative PER x minutes played say he’s the sixth most important player to ever appear for the Heat, and he’ll be number four at some point in November. Born on June 9th, 1980, he went undrafted in 2002 after four seasons with the Florida Gators, in which he scored 13.7 points with 6.4 rebounds over 130 contests.

Haslem went undrafted after graduating from Florida, then gained enough weight to have him in excess of 300 lbs. He played 2002-03 with Chalon-Sun-Saone in France, averaging 16.1 points and almost 10 boards per appearance. After losing the weight, he made a pit stop in the NBADL before joining the Heat for the 2003-04 season. He averaged 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in 23.9 minutes over 75 games for the Heat as a rookie, making the NBA’s all-rookie second team.

Haslem posted the highest PER in his career in 2004-05, putting up a 15.5 mark which placed him sixth on the club. He was third on the team with 9.2 Win Shares, fifth with a 2.6 VORP, and near the bottom of the ladder with a 14.9% usage rate (ahead of only Shandon Anderson and bit players Wesley Person and Steve Smith).

Haslem led the Heat with an NBA-fourth .540 field goal percentage, making 346-of 641 from the floor, and made 178-of-225 (.791) from the line. He played in 80 games, starting each of them at power forward, and averaged a team-fifth 10.9 points, a team-second 9.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists over a team-fourth 33.4 minutes per game. He was third with 2,675 minutes, fifth with 870 points, second with 726 rebounds, third with 41 blocks, third with 63 steals, and also pitched in with 108 assists.

Haslem collected 23 double-doubles during the season, scored in double figures 47 times, and collected 15 or more rebounds on five occasions. On December 8th, he scored a game-high 20 points with a game-high tying 13 rebounds, along with six assists in a 101-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. On January 28th, he scored 17 points with 12 rebounds, three steals, and two assists in a 106-96 win against the Atlanta Hawks. In a 101-99 loss to the Boston Celtics on April 15th, he filled the scoresheet with 13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

Haslem’s PER dropped to 12.0 in the postseason, although he appeared in all 15 games and was third on the team with 36.2 minutes played per game. He averaged 9.2 points and a team leading 10.0 rebounds through the playoffs. On April 28th, in a 108-105 win over the Nets, he scored 14 points with 19 rebounds and three assists.

Fifth Star

6 Eddie Jones 885.6

Jones rounded out the Five Stars in 2004-05, starting at small forward in all 80 of his appearances. He ranked second on the team with 2,839 minutes played, third with 1,018 points, 405 rebounds, and 212 assists, and second with 86 steals.

Jones made 351-of-820 from the field (.428) and 142-of-382 from outside (.372), along with a .806 success rate from the foul line (174-of-216). He averaged 12.7 points (team-second) over 35.5 minutes (team second), with 5.1 rebounds (team-fourth), 2.7 assists (team-third), and 1.1 steals (team-fourth).

Jones 16.6% usage rating may have had a little to do with his not appearing higher on the Five Stars in his last Miami season. He ranked fifth on the team with 8.0 Win Shares, posted the first below-average PER of his tenure with the Heat, at 13.6, and was third on the team with a 3.1 VORP.

Jones posted three double-doubles through the season, scoring in double figures 58 times and at least 20 in 10 games. On December 3rd, he made seven-of-11 from the field and three-of-five from outside for 21 points, with five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals in a 105-81 win over the Chicago Bulls. On December 19th, in a 117-107 against the Orlando Magic, Jones scored 25 points on eight-of-10 shooting, making all five of his three-pointers along with three helpers and three boards. “Steady Eddie” had his best performance of the season on March 25th, scoring 23 points on eight-of-13 shooting including four-of-seven from three-point distance and adding eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals as Miami defeated the 51-16 Phoenix Suns, 125-115.

Jones put up a 13.3 PER in the postseason, starting all 15 games and averaging 13.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 40.1 minutes per game. After the season, the Heat did their part in orchestrating a five-team, 15-player trade which sent Jones to the Memphis Grizzlies and netted the Heat Antoine Walker, Andre Emmett, James Posey, Roberto Duenas, and Jason Williams. Miami also dispersed Albert Miralles, Qyntel Woods, Rasual Butler, and two draft picks (Edin Bavcic and Nikola Pekovic) in the deal.

Jones played a season and a half in Memphis (104 games, 10.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals) before rejoining the Heat in 2006-07 (35 games, 9.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals). He appeared in 47 games for the Dallas Mavericks in 2007-08 (3.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists) before hanging up his high-tops.

The Rest

5 Keyon Dooling 310.5

45 Rasual Butler 273.7

44 Christian Laettner 254.5

51 Michael Doleac 226.8

49 Shandon Anderson 213.7

33 Alonzo Mourning 172.4

35 Malik Allen 65.4

7 Wesley Person 43.4

15 Wang Zhizhi 29.7

8 Steve Smith 15.0

24 Qyntel Woods 5.8

1 Dorell Wright 3.1