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Bloodsport and The Chef: 30 Years of Heat

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James Johnson features in today’s countdown article.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

60. Daequan Cook

Daequan Cook, creatively nicknamed “The Chef,” was a 6'5" shooting guard and small forward for Miami. Born on April 28th, 1987 in Dayton, OH, he attended the university of Ohio State in college, averaging 10 points and four rebounds before declaring early for the 2007 draft. The Philadelphia 76ers made him their first round selection, choosing him with the 21st overall pick. The Sixers immediately sent him to Miami with cash and a second round pick for Jason Smith. He signed on with the Heat for three-years and $3,819,720.

Cook appeared in 59 games for Miami as a rookie, starting 19 at shooting guard. He shot 38.1% from the field, including a 33.2% clip from long range while scoring just under nine points, three rebounds, and one and a half assists for the Heat in just over a half per appearance. He scored 10 or more points 26 times, including four 20-point performances. On April 14th, he showed his season's best performance, scoring 22 points with six rebounds and three assists in a 91-75 Heat loss to the Toronto Raptors. Miami lost a franchise record-tying 67 games that season.

Both Miami and Cook got better in 2008-09, as Miami posted a 43-39 playoff-berth earning record and Cook scored in double figures in just over half of his 75 games, including four starts at small forward. He scored just over nine points with two and a half rebounds per game. He shot 37.5% from the floor, with an even better 38.7% three point rate in 24 minutes per game.

At the midseason all-star break, Cook become the third Heat player to win the Three Point Shootout. He scored a season high 27 points, including a six-for-eight rate from long distance along wtih five rebounds and two steals on March 4th in a 135-129 win over the Phoenix Suns. Miami lost the conference quarterfinals in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks. Cook appeared in all seven games, averaging 5.3 points in 23 minutes per game. He was best in game two, when he scored 20 points with four rebounds in a 108-93 road victory.

2009-10 would see Cook's minutes per game reduced to just over 15 over 45 appearances, with a corresponding drop in production, five points, two rebounds and an assist per game. His field goal and three point rate both dropped to 32%. In a rare bright spot, he scored 22 points with four rebounds on February 20th, as the Heat lost a close one to the Dallas Mavericks, 97-91. The Heat traded him with a draft pick during the 2010 offseason to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a draft pick (Dexter Pittman).

Cook played two seasons with the Thunder (100 games), later catching on with the Houston Rockets (16 games) and the Chicago Bulls (33 games).

Stat Line: 179 games, 22.2 minutes, .368 field goals, .358 three-pointers, .848 free throws, 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 8.9 PER, 1.9 Win Shares

Cumulative GameScore: 768.9

59. James Johnson

Johnson, known as “Bloodsport,” was born on February 20th, 1987 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After two seasons of college ball with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, he was picked in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, with the 16th overall selection.

Johnson played with four teams through his first seven NBA seasons. After a season-and-a-half with the Bulls (78 games), he joined the Toronto Raptors (87 games), the Sacramento Kings (54 games), and the Memphis Grizzlies (52 games) before rejoining the Raptors for two more seasons (127 games).

Johnson exercised free agency to join Miami for a one-year, $4 million deal on July 10th. He spent the season as part of Miami’s enviable bench package, half of the Brothers Johnson, along with Willie Reed, Wayne Ellington, and Okaro White. He started five times, but ranked third on the team with 76 overall appearances.

Johnson was fifth on the team with 12.8 points, third with 4.9 rebounds, fourth with 3.6 assists, and second with 1.1 steals per game playing an average of 27.4 minutes. His .479 field goal percentage was the best mark of any non-center on the team. Miami went 1-5 when he didn’t play, and 40-36 with him in the lineup. He totaled four double-doubles through the season.

On December 1st, in a 111-110 Heat win against the Utah Jazz, Johnson scored 24 points off the bench on 11-of-15 shooting, with six boards and three assists. In a 108-99 win against the Brooklyn Nets on February 10th, he totaled a team-high 26 on an 11-of-17 night, with eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists. On March 19th, in a 115-104 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, he made nine-of-13 shots for 24 points, with seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots. In a 112-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets on April 5th, Johnson got a rare start and drained 10-of-12 overall, including six-of-seven from deep. He added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Although the Heat missed the playoffs with a 41-41 record, Johnson parlayed his newfound versatility into a four-year, $60 million deal, signing a contract on July 7th, 2017.

Stat Line: 76 games, 27.4 minutes, .479 field goals, .340 three-pointers, .707 free throws, 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.1 blocks, 17.0 PER, 5.1 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 777.2