3. Alonzo Mourning
I knew going into this countdown, that I would probably hear some flak from die-hards who would balk at Mourning’s placement at number three. His contributions are undoubtedly worthy of the number two ranking, right?
Unfortunately for those who feel this way, this list was consolidated with cumulative GameScore, collected from every Heat box score, regular season and playoff. Mourning wasn’t a distant third by any means, only about 400 points short of the number two rank, which, incidentally, isn’t quite half of the number one ranking, but I digress...
Alonzo Mourning was a 6'10" center from Chesapeake, VA. Born on February 8th, 1970, he earned McDonald's All American Honors as a high school senior for Indian River in his hometown in 1988. He earned three slots on the NCAA's AP All-American team through his four college seasons with the Georgetown Hoyas, making the third team in 1988-89, the second team in 1989-90, and the first team in 1991-92. He averaged 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game as a senior. In the 1992 NBA Entry Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected him in the first round, with the second overall pick. He played 215 games over three seasons with the club, averaging 21.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. He made the all-rookie first team, then in his next two seasons was selected to play in the all-star game. Prior to the 1995-96 season, the Hornets traded him along with LeRon Ellis and Pete Myers to the Heat for Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves, Glen Rice, and a draft pick (Tony Delk).
1995-96 would see Mourning start 70 times at center for Miami. He made his third straight all-star team with team leading figures of 23.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks in 38.2 minutes per game. He shot 52.3% (team second) with 2.3 assists and one steal (team fourth) per contest. The Heat went 39-31 with him in the rotation. He racked up 42 double doubles and scored 10 or more points in every game but one. On December 6th, he scored 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, collected 13 rebounds with seven helpers, and made a Heat record nine blocks in a 105-101 loss to the Boston Celtics. He went 11-for-17 for 32 points with 22 rebounds on January 19th, in a loss to the Hornets, 114-106. on March 29th, in a 112-93 victory over the Washington Bullets, he scored a season high 50 points with 12 rebounds. Miami posted a 42-40 overall record and faced the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, losing in three straight games. Mourning averaged 18 points with six rebounds.
In 1996-97, Mourning made his fourth all-star roster. He started in 65 of his 66 appearances with the Heat, playing 35.2 minutes per game. He scored 19.8 points (team second) on a team leading figures of 53.4% shooting, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per appearance, with 1.6 helpers. He logged 32 double doubles and helped the Heat go 49-17 (they were 12-4 when Mourning sat). He earned at least block in all but four contests, and on 13 occasions made at least five. On November 6th, in a 106-100 loss to the Bulls, he went 12-for-21 scoring 33 points with 19 rebounds, four blocks and four helpers. He drained nine of his 10 field goal attempts on February 13th, scoring 29 points with 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks as the Heat downed the Indiana Pacers, 106-90. He scored 35 points on 13-for-20 shooting in a 94-92 victory against the New Jersey Nets on April 8th, also grabbing 18 boards and dishing out three assists. Miami eliminated the Orlando Magic in five and the New York Knicks in seven before dropping a five game series to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. The playoffs would see Mourning appear in every Heat contest, averaging 17.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks.
Mourning averaged 33.4 minutes over his 58 appearances in 1997-98, making 56 starts in the middle. He shot 55.1% from the field (NBA third), averaging 19.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks (NBA ninth) per game. His points, boards and blocks were all team leading figures. He had 24 double doubles and helped Miami to a 39-19 record. On February 13th, as the Heat defeated the Detroit Pistons, 100-86, he scored a game and season high 39 points on 13-of-18 shooting with 15 rebounds and seven blocks. He scored 25 points with 13 boards and five blocks on March 20th as the Heat dispatched the Golden State Warriors, 93-87. A week later, he helped Miami top the Milwaukee Bucks 102-77 with 34 points (13-for-18) and 11 rebounds. Miami went 16-8 without him, finishing at 55-27 overall. The Heat were eliminated in the opening best-of-five series against the Knicks. Mourning played in four of the five contests, totaling 77 points, 34 rebounds and 10 blocks.
1998-99 would see Mourning start 46 times out of the lockout shortened 50 game schedule. He led the NBA with 3.9 blocks per game, and led Miami with 20.1 points and 11 rebounds. He finished with 29 double doubles and helped the Heat to a conference best 33-17 record. In a 95-72 win against the Nets on February 15th, he scored 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting with 17 rebounds and seven blocks. He scored 19 points with a season high 21 rebounds and five blocks on March 24th, in an 84-76 Heat victory against the Bucks. On April 3rd, in an 88-77 loss to the Nets, he narrowly missed a triple double the hard way, scoring 23 points with 17 rebounds and nine blocks. Once Miami got to the playoffs, they were again eliminated in five games to the Knicks. Mourning led the Heat with 21.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game.
In 1999-00, Mourning made his return to the all-star team, his fifth such invitation. He played 79 games (78 starts) averaging 34.8 minutes, 21.7 points (on 55.1% shooting), 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and an NBA leading 3.7 blocks per contest. As usual, his blocks, points and rebounds ranked him tops on the Heat. He put up 38 double doubles and led the Heat to a 52-30 record. He put up five or more blocks on an incredible 28 occasions. On December 1st, in a 90-83 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, he scored 28 points, sinking 10 of his 18 field goal attempts with 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots. On December 18th, he scored 18 with 11 rebounds and nine blocks in a 106-89 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. On February 23rd, as the Heat downed the Nets, 99-85, he dropped 43 points on 13-of-14 shooting with 16 boards and five rejections. The Heat made easy work of the Detroit Pistons, eliminating them in three straight to open the postseason. Unfortunately, the Knicks dropped the Heat for the third season in a row, after seven games. Mourning averaged 21.6 points with 10 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game through the tournament.
In 2000-01, Mourning was invited to his sixth all-star game, and his second in a row. His selection was largely sentimental, as he hadn't yet played a game that season due to a focal segmental glomerulosclerosis diagnosis, a kidney disease. He returned to the court in March, and played the last 13 games of the season, all but three off the bench. The Heat went 8-5 with him in the rotation, and he racked up two double doubles. He shot 51.8% from the floor in his limited time, scoring 13.6 points with 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game. He had his best game of the season on April 17th, in a 91-89 win over the Bucks in which he totaled 25 points, 16 rebounds, and five rejections. The Heat posted a 50-32 record before opening the postseason with a three game sweep at the hands of the Hornet. Mourning started each game, totaling 35 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocks in just over 30 minutes per game.
Mourning came back in 2001-02 to start 74 games, appearing once off the bench. He averaged 15.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 1.2 assists per game, shooting 51.6% overall. He made his seventh career all-star team, and his third in a row. His condition hadn't caused his game to deteriorate, as he scored in double figures 66 times with 26 double doubles. In a 98-94 overtime win against the Seattle SuperSonics on December 7th, he scored 21 points on seven-of-nine shooting with 12 rebounds, five blocks, and four helpers. On January 8th, in a loss to the Nets, 104-95, he sunk 11 of his 16 field goal tries for 26 points, adding 14 rebounds in the effort. He scored 17 points with 12 rebounds and seven blocks on February 20th, in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, 81-71. Despite Mourning's heroics, the Heat did not make the postseason, going 36-46 through the campaign.
Mourning took the 2002-03 season off to deal with his illness, during which time his contract expired. The Nets picked him up as a free agent during the 2003 offseason. He would total 30 games over the next two seasons with New Jersey, eventually getting traded with Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two draft picks (Joey Graham and Renaldo Balkman) to the Toronto Raptors for Vince Carter. Toronto waived him before he had a chance to suit up.
Miami resigned Mourning near the end of the 2004-05 season. He would appear 19 times, starting in three games. He scored just five points per game, shooting 51.6% from the field with 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 12.9 minutes. His best game was on April 10th in an 80-72 loss to the Pistons. Mourning scored 10 points with 14 rebounds and five blocks. The Heat swept the Nets and the Washington Wizards before losing the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games to the Pistons. Mourning appeared in all 15 games, scoring 6.1 points with 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per appearance.
In 2005-06, Mourning shot a career best 59.7% from the field in 20 minutes per game, starting in 20 of his 65 appearances. He scored 7.8 points with 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He still occasionally had the stuff, finishing the year with nine double doubles and scoring 10 or more points 24 times. On November 26th, he scored 15 points with 21 rebounds and four blocks in an 80-77 loss to Orlando. Two days later, in a 107-94 win against the Knicks, he scored nine points with nine blocks and seven rebounds. On March 21st, in a 100-96 loss to the Minnesota TimberWolves, he finished with 21 points (seven-for-eight) and 12 rebounds. Miami went 43-22 with Mourning in the lineup, and 52-30 overall. Mourning appeared in 21 of Miami's 23 postseason engagements, helping the Heat to win their first NBA Championship with 3.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
Mourning played 102 games for Miami over the next two seasons, starting 43 times and averaging 7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He currently tops Miami's all-time leaderboard with 1,625 blocked shots and with 1,960 personal fouls, ranking second with 9,459 points and with 4,807 rebounds. He was the first Heat player to have had his number retired (number 33), and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2014. He currently holds the position of Vice President of Player Programs and Development for the Heat.
Stat Line: 593 games, 29.8 minutes, .537 field goals, .657 free throws, 16.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 21.7 PER, 64.9 Win Shares.
Cumulative GameScore: 8204.9