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30 Years of Heat: All-Time All-Player Countdown #96-94

Rodney McGruder is featured in today’s countdown along with a shooting guard and a center from years past.

Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

96. Rodney McGruder

Rodney McGruder is a 6’4”, 205 lb. shooting guard from Landover, Maryland. Born on July 29th, 1991, he went undrafted out of Kansas State University, then signed a free agent contract to play with the Orlando Magic in the Orlando Summer League, then with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Las Vegas Summer League.

McGruder ended up spending the 2013-14 season with Atomeromu SE. That’s the highest professional league in Hungary, where McGruder averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per contest. In 2014-15, he spent time with the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics, the Maine Red Claws, and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

After playing with the Heat in the 2015 NBA Summer League, McGruder remained with Sioux Falls, helping the team to the League title and a 40-10 record. After spending 2016 in another Summer League with the Heat, Miami signed him to a three-year contract.

McGruder led the Heat with 78 games in 2016-17, scoring 6.4 points with 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists. His best show of the season was on February 6th, when he went six-for-eight from the field, including three-of-four from outside for 15 points in 39 minutes, along with five rebounds and four assists in a 115-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was Miami’s 11th win in a row.

The Heat went 40-38 in games in which McGruder appeared. In the upcoming season, McGruder stands to more than double his pay, and will make $2.9 million over the final two seasons of his deal.

Stat Line: 78 games, 25.2 minutes, .413 field goals, .332 three-pointers, .620 free throws, 6.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 blocks, 9.1 PER, 2.9 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 387.7

95. Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson is a 6'6" shooting guard from Toledo, OH. The alum of Macomber-Whitney was born on October 14th, 1970. After graduation, he joined the Ohio State University Buckeyes for three college seasons. He scored 22.4 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game as a junior, leaving for the draft afterward. He was picked by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, with the fourth overall choice. Over the next 14 NBA seasons he appeared on a record-tying 12 teams.

Jackson played four and a half seasons with Dallas (289 games), also spending time with the New Jersey Nets (31 games), the Philadelphia 76ers (48 games), the Golden State Warriors (31 games) the Portland TrailBlazers (49 games), the Atlanta Hawks (96 games), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (39 games). Miami signed him to a $789,170 free agent contract on December 2nd, 2001.

Jackson jumped right into the Heat rotation at small forward, starting in 19 of his 55 appearances over the season. He averaged 33.2 minutes per appearance, shooting 44.2% overall and 46.9% from long distance. He scored almost 11 points with five and a half rebounds and two and a half assists per appearance. He finished 29 games in double figures, with four double-doubles on the season. On January 16th, he came off the bench for 31 minutes, scoring 19 points with seven rebounds and five assists in a 102-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 16 points with 11 rebounds and three assists on February 27th as the Heat dropped an 82-72 decision to the 76ers. On March 12th, in a 90-78 triumph over the Phoenix Suns, he scored 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including three three-pointers, along with seven rebounds and two helpers. March 23rd would see him score 17 with seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in an 89-79 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Miami would miss the playoffs with a 36-46 record.

Jackson did not stay in Miami any longer, joining the Sacramento Kings (63 games), the Houston Rockets (104 games), the Phoenix Suns (67 games), and the Lakers (13 games).

Stat Line: 55 games, 33.2 minutes, .442 field goals, .469 three-pointers, .862 free throws, 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 11.3 PER, 2.8 Win Shares

Cumulative GameScore: 397.2

94. Mark Blount

Mark Blount was a 7' center from Dobbs Ferry, NY. Born on November 30th, 1975, he spent two seasons playing for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, averaging nine points and seven rebounds in his final season, 1996-97. He then left college to play professionally, getting drafted 54th overall, in the second round by the Seattle Supersonics. He didn't make the squad out of camp, instead signing on with the CBA's Yakima Sun Kings. He later made appearances with Paris Basket Racing (France), the Atlantic City Seagulls (USBL), the La Crosse Bobcats (CBA), the Baltimore Bayrunners (IBL), and the New Jersey Shorecats (USBL).

Prior to the 2000-01 season, the Boston Celtics gave Blount another shot at NBA glory. He spent most of six seasons with the team, interrupted by a 54 games stopover with the Denver Nuggets. For Boston, he averaged 23 minutes with eight points and five rebounds per appearance. Midway through 2005-06, the Celtics sent him via trade to the Minnesota TimberWolves, with whom Blount would play 124 games over the next season and a half.

Before the 2007-08 campaign, Minnesota traded Blount with Ricky Davis to Miami for Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien, Antoine Walker, and a draft pick. Miami would pay $16,414,956 over two seasons for his services. 46 of his 69 appearances that season were starts, and he averaged 8.4 points per contest by shooting 46.2% from the field. He also pitched in with an average of 3.8 boards per game. On January 11th, he scored a season high 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting as the Heat dropped a 114-88 decision to the New Orleans Hornets. He notched a double-double (one of three on the season) with 18 points and 13 rebounds on February 12th in a 114-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. All told, he scored in double digits 28 times, including four 20+ point performances.

2008-09 would see Blount relegated to bench depth, averaging just over 10 minutes per game in 20 appearances. He averaged four points and two rebounds per performance. On January 30th, in a 114-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers, he logged his last good game, scoring 17 points with eight rebounds in 24 minutes of floor time. The Heat traded him back to the Wolves before the 2009-10 season, where Blount was waived before the start of the season. He has not made another NBA appearance to date.

Stat Line: 89 games, 19.7 minutes, .452 field goals, .394 three-pointers, .636 free throws, 7.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 11.1 PER, 0.6 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 403.1