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TJ and the Other DW: 30 Years of Heat

Dorell Wright and Tyler Johnson darken our doorstep on the road to Wade County.

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

42. Dorell Wright

Dorell Wright originally from Los Angeles, CA, was born on December 2nd, 1985. The Heat drafted him right out of Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, CA in the first round of the 2004 draft, with the 19th overall pick. He signed his initial contract for three years and $3,716,040.

Wright appeared in three games as a rookie in 2004-05, scoring a total of seven points in 27 minutes. He scored all his points in the last game of the season, playing 22 minutes and adding two assists and three steals in a 109-103 win over the Orlando Magic. Miami won all three games that Wright appeared in, and posted a 59-23 overall record for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami swept the New Jersey Nets and the Washington Wizards before losing in seven games to the Detroit Pistons. Wright did not appear.

In 2005-06, Wright started in two of his 20 appearances, playing 6.6 minutes per game and scoring 2.9 points with 1.6 rebounds. He shot 46.5% from the floor and sunk three-of-six three point attempts. Most of his impact occured in the season's final two games. In a 103-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on April 18th, he scored 19 points with seven rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. The next night, he scored 20 points with seven boards, three assists and two steals as the Boston Celtics won, 85-78. Miami went 52-30 and went on to win the NBA Championship by defeating the Chicago Bulls in six games, the Nets in five games, the Pistons in six games, and the Dallas Mavericks, also in six games. As in the season before, Wright did not play in the postseason.

2006-07 would see Wright's role increase exponentially, starting 19 times and appearing in relief 47 times. He shot 44.5% overall, scoring six points with 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Miami went 32-34 with Wright in rotation, finishing in double figures 19 times with four double doubles. In a 107-04 loss to the Orlando Magic on November 24th, he scored 12 points wtih 13 rebounds and three helpers in 38 minutes. On December 27th, he scored 17 points with 14 rebounds and four assists in a 109-103 loss to the Bulls. Two nights later, in a 91-81 loss to the Nets, he achieved season highs with 21 points, six blocks, and four steals, also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists. Miami made the playoffs as the fifth seed with a 44-38 record, but lost four straight in the opening round to the Bulls. Wright saw his first playoff action in game four, playing 48 seconds as the Heat were eliminated, 92-79. Wright resigned with the Heat for three more years and and $7,403,581.

Wright played 44 games in 2007-08, starting 34 times and playing 25.1 minutes per game. He scored 7.9 points on 48.8% shooting with five rebounds, 1.4 assists and nearly a block per appearance. Miami went 15-67 overall, and 7-37 with Wright. He had 13 double figure games, with four double doubles. In a 120-113 loss to the Golden State Warriors on December 7th, he scored 19 points on eight-of-14 shooting with 18 rebounds and three blocks. On December 10th, he scored 16 points with 12 rebounds, four asists and two steals in a win over the Phoenix Suns, 117-113. On February 12th, in a 114-113 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets, he scored 19 points with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Wright was limited to only six games in 2008-09, playing 73 minutes and scoring a total of 18 points with 20 rebounds. The Heat went 43-39 before getting eliminated in the opening round of the postseason by the Atlanta Hawks in seven games. Wright got into one game, playing three minutes.

In 2009-10, Wright played his last season in South Beach. He appeared in 72 games, starting once. In 20.8 minutes per game, he scored 7.1 points with 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists, shoing 46.3% from the field. For the first time, he made more than five three-point shots on the season, hitting 61-of-157 (.389). The Heat went 40-32 with Wright, as he finished 22 games in double figures. His best showing of the season was February 23rd, when he hit six of his seven three-point attempts, scoring a season high 26 points with seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a loss to the Minnesota TimberWolves, 91-88 (see below). The Heat lost four out of five games to the Boston Celtics to open the playoffs. Wright scored 25 points with 19 rebounds and nine assists.

Wright signed with the Golden State Warriors before 2010-11, establishing himself as one of the NBA's premeire three-point shooting specialists. In his first season there, he led the league with 516 attempts and with 194 made. He played a total of 143 games there, joining the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012-13 (79 games). He then played two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers (116 games).

Stat Line: 211 games, 19.5 minutes, .461 field goals, .344 three-pointers, .806 free throws, 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, 13.6 PER, 8.4 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1147.2

41. Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson was an undrafted left-handed shooting and point guard from Grand Forks, North Dakota. Born on May 7th, 1992, he signed with the Sioux Falls Sky Force prior to the 2014-15 season, and quickly made his way onto the Heat bench.

In 2014-15, the newly LeBron James-less Heat were forced to rely on a try-whatever approach at first, and Johnson was one of the things that ultimately paid off. In 32 appearances, mostly off the bench, Johnson shot .419 from the floor and .375 from outside for 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.

On March 2nd, in a 115-98 Heat win over the Phoenix Suns, Johnson came off the bench to sink 10-of-13 shots, including all three of his three-pointers. He led Miami with 26 points, with four steals. His “second best” game of the season came later that week, on March 7th. In a five-point win over the Sacramento Kings, he scored 24 points with six assists and six rebounds in a team-high 44 minutes. The Heat, although entertaining as always, stumbled to a 37-45 record. Johnson’s 12.0 PER and 0.8 Win Shares, as well as his 0.1 VORP would indicate that he was right about where the Heat would hope from a replacement level player.

In 2015-16, Johnson was hampered by injuries, but still managed to appear in 36 contests. He improved his PER to 13.8, with 2.0 Win Shares and a VORP of 0.5. He averaged 24.0 minutes per game, and shot a white-hot .486 through the season, including .380 from beyond the arc. He scored 8.7 points with 3.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.7 steals per game.

On November 1st, in a 109-89 victory over the Houston Rockets, Johnson came off the bench to make 5-of-7 shots, scoring 11 points with eight rebounds and three assists. He had his best game of the season on November 19th, in a 116-109 win over the Kings, with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting with three assists and three boards. On December 5th, in a 99-84 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Johnson sank six-of-10 shots for 19 points, with five rebounds and two helpers.

The Heat surprised the Eastern Conference with a 48-34 record and a three-seed, and Johnson played in five games for Miami later in their two-round appearance. He hit five-of-11 shots overall, making half of his six long-distance shot attempts as Miami fell in seven games to the Toronto Raptors. The team went 19-17 when he played and 29-17 when he didn’t.

After the season, Johnson signed a 4-year, $50 million contract to remain with the Heat. The first year of the deal would see him make a shade under $6 million, and he responded in kind, with a team-fifth-best 15.9 PER, denoting him as an “above average” player in the NBA (15.0 is the mathematical floating average). He also earned 5.8 Win Shares, behind only Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, and came in at a 1.9 VORP, behind only Dragic and the other half of the “Brothers Johnson,” James.

Tyler played in 73 contests to rank fourth on the team, appearing in each of them off the bench. In 29.8 minutes per appearance, he shot .433 overall and .372 from deep, earning career-highs with 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks. The Heat went 35-38 when he played and 6-3 without him. Oh, and this video is not a mistake.

On December 7th, in a 103-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson scored 27 points, making four-of-five from outside and dishing out five assists. On December 20th, he scored a career-high 32 points in a 136-130, two-overtime loss to the Orlando Magic. He made 13-of-20 shots and pulled down five rebounds, with three assists and three steals before fouling out. On February 24th, Johnson scored 23 points on nine-of-11 shooting for the resurgent Heat, including a three-of-four performance from deep. He added five rebounds and five assists. as Miami defeated the Hawks, 108-90. The Heat finished at 41-41, barely missing the postseason.

Johnson is again slated to earn just a smidgen less than $6 million for the coming season, with a hefty pay raise scheduled for the 2018-19 campaign, just over $19 million. The final season of the deal, also for $19 million, is a player option.

Stat Line: 141 games, 25.8 minutes, .442 field goals, .374 three-pointers, .762 free throws, 10.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, 14.7 PER, 8.6 Win Shares

Cumulative GameScore: 1180.3