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The Spider and Jesus Shuttlesworth: 30 Years of Heat

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John Salley and three-point king Ray Allen are in today’s countdown.

2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

30. John Salley

John Salley was a four year starter for the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. A 6'11" center from Brooklyn, NY, the "Spider" is perhaps best known for being an integral part of the great Detroit Pistons teams of the late 80's that won two championships. Born on May 16th, 1964, he played 125 games in college, scoring 12.7 points with 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest, graduating with the Class of 1986. The Pistons chose him with a first round pick they had previously acquired from the Sacramento Kings, 11th overall. In six seasons with the Pistons, he had a franchise fifth-best 709 blocks, and appeared in 459 regular season contests. During the 1992 offseason, the Pistons traded him to the Heat for Isaiah Moris and a draft pick (Lindsey Hunter). With Salley, Miami also took on his six-year, $13,733,000 contract, in its second year.

In Salley's first season with Miami, he played 51 games, starting 34. He shot 50.2% from the field in 27.9 minutes per game. He put up 8.3 points with 6.1 rebounds (team third), 1.6 assists, and a team leading 1.4 blocks per game. Miami went 21-30 with him in the lineup, with 21 games in double figures and five double doubles. On November 20th, he scored 13 points with 11 rebounds, three blocks, three helpers, and two steals in a 129-128, three overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The next night, in a 123-111 Miami loss to the Charlotte Hornets, he scored 20 points on eight-of-11 shooting, adding a season high eight assists with three rebounds. He scored a season high 23 points on eight-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds, two steals and two assists on February 9th in a 106-105 win over the Pistons. In a 116-107 loss to the Hornets on February 12th, he scored 18 points with 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists.

Miami missed the playoffs by five games with a 36-46 record.

In 1993-94, Salley started 45 times at power forward and 31 more times off the bench. He scored 7.7 points per game on 47.7% shooting, adding 5.4 rebounds (team fourth), 1.8 assists and one block (team second). He collected six double doubles and had 24 games in double digit points. On December 11th, in a 111-80 win over the Boston Celtics, he collected 13 rebounds, scoring seven points with six assists, four steals, and two blocks. On December 30th, he shot eight-of-12, scoring 20 points with 16 rebounds and two steals in a 108-100 loss to the Orlando Magic. In April 11th, in a 99-97 loss to the Hornets, he scored 21 points with 11 rebounds, three blocks, and three assists. The Heat earned the last seed by going 42-40 before losing three-games-to-two in the opening round to the Atlanta Hawks. Salley led the Heat with 40.2 minutes per game on the floor, averaging 11 points, eight rebounds, and one block.

1994-95 would see Salley average 26.1 minutes per game, appearing 75 times with 50 starts at center. He scored 7.3 points per game on 49.9% shooting, with 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and a team leading 1.3 blocks. He scored 10 or more points on 22 occasions with three double doubles and helped the Heat to a 28-47 record while in the lineup. In a 109-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on November 16th, he set season highs with 21 points and with 12 rebounds. Miami finished well out of the hunt at 32-50.

Salley split the following season between the Toronto Raptors (25 games) and the Chicago Bulls (17 games), where he earned his third ring. He played in Greece in 1996-97 before retiring for two seasons. He came back to play for the Los Angeles Lakers for 45 games in 1999-00, helping the team to win a championship (his fourth). He has since appeared in all manners of pop culture, in movies, game shows, reality shows, and as a co-host on The Best Damn Sports Show.

Stat Line: 202 games, 26.2 minutes, .491 field goals, ..750 free throws, 7.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 blocks, 0.7 steals, 12.1 PER, 11.0 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1369.6

29. Ray Allen

Ray Allen is a 6'5" shooting guard from Merced, CA. Born on July 20th, 1975, the right-hander attended Hillcrest High in Dalzell, SC. As a three year member of the University of Connecticut Huskies, he was twice honored with NCAA AP All-American selections, third team in 1994-95, and first team in 1995-96. He was originally selected in the first round of the 1996 draft by the Minnesota TimberWolves, with the fifth overall pick. He was soon after traded with a draft pick (Rasho Nesterovic) to the Milwaukee Bucks for Stephon Marbury.

Allen played six and a half seasons for the Bucks (494 games), ranking 10th on their all-time leaderboard. He is the franchise's all-time leader with 1,051 three-point shots made, and ranks eighth with 618 steals. He was an all-rookie team selectee in his first year, and later was selected to the all-star game three times. He then made four more all-star rosters in four and a half seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics (296 games). He made three more all-star games in five seasons with the Boston Celtics(358 games). If he had retired before joining the Heat, he would already be a probably first ballot hall of famer....but he didn't retire....

On July 11th, 2012, Allen rejected a two-year, $12,000,000 contract with Boston to sign a three year deal with the Heat for just over $3,000,000 per season. He played 79 minutes off the bench backing up perennial NBA top-ten player Dwyane Wade, shooting 44.9% in 25.8 minutes per game. He shot 41.9% from three-point range, and 88.6% from the charity stripe. He averaged 10.9 points per game, with 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per appearance. He posted in double digits 49 times. On November 3rd, in a 119-116 win over the Denver Nuggets, he shot eight-for-12 with six three pointers, five rebounds, and two steals, totalling a season high 23 points. Allen scored 18 points on seven-of-10 shooting in 29 minutes on January 23rd in a 123-116 win over the Toronto Raptors. On April 10th, he equalled his season high with 23 points, also pitching in with six rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 103-98 triumph against the Washington Wizards. Miami went 66-16, losing the only three games in which Allen did not appear. He played in all 23 of Miami's playoff games on their march to their third NBA title, maintaining his season averages in most categories. His performance was most notable in game six of the NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs. According to Wikipedia:

In Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 18, Allen made a game-tying three-point shot with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Having rallied from a 10-point deficit at the end of the third quarter, the Heat won in overtime 103-100 over the San Antonio Spurs and forced a seventh game in the series. With the Heat leading 101-100, Allen stole the ball from Manu Ginobili under the Spurs' basket and drew a foul with 1.9 seconds remaining in the overtime period. Allen made both ensuing free throws to put Miami up 103-100. Allen played 41 minutes in Game 6 off the bench and scored nine points on three-for-eight field goal shooting; his game-tying three-pointer was the only three-pointer he made in three attempts. Allen also had one defensive rebound and two assists.

In 2013-14, Allen returned to the Heat in the second year of the three-season contract, although it would be his last. He appeared in 73 contests for Miami, starting nine times and helping the team to a 47-26 record when he played (they were 7-2 when he didn’t appear). He drained 116-of-309 shots from outside, leading the team in attempts and makes from long-distance. Allen averaged 9.6 points with 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals. Despite his continued contribution to his team’s bottom line, he registered the lowest PER of his career, coming in at a value of 12.8. He was still putting up a 1.0 in the VORP category (value over replacement player), and ranked sixth on the team with 4.1 Win Shares.

Allen’s best games of the regular season occurred in back-to-back contests on March 14th and 16th. In the first of those, a 111-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Allen paced the Heat with 22 points on seven-of-nine shooting, including five-of-seven three-pointers. He added four rebounds and two helpers coming off the bench for 29 minutes. In the second of those, a 113-104 victory against the Houston Rockets, Allen drained four-of-six from outside and scored a season-high 25 points in 29 minutes.

In the postseason, Allen was perhaps most instrumental in getting the Heat through their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Championship series. Miami defeated the Brooklyn Nets in five games, and Allen came off the bench in each of them, scoring 13 an average of 13.0 points on .360 three-point shooting. He also shot .941 from the line.

Allen didn’t officially retire after the Heat were eliminated from the finals by the Spurs, and remained on almost every team’s free agent radar for the next two seasons before officially retiring on Halloween, 2016.

Allen is currently the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers attempted (7,429) and made (2,973). He spent 11 seasons in the top 10 of the latter category, and also ranks highly with 8,567 field goals (32nd), 1,300 games (21st), 46,334 minutes (14th), 1,451 steals (49th), and 24,505 points (28th). More impressive perhaps, he ranks sixth with an .894 career free throw percentage, and has a career .400 three-point percentage (40th).

Stat Line: 152 games, 26.1 minutes, .446 field goals, .398 three-pointers, .894 free throws, 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 13.8 PER, 9.4 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1415.1