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Today’s Heat countdown features a look at Harold Miner and Isaac Austin

Harold Miner

48. Harold Miner

Harold Miner, a 6'5" guard from Inglewood, CA, was born on May 5th, 1971. Known as "Baby Jordan" from early on in his career, he played his prep ball at Inglewood High. He later played for the Trojans at the University of Southern California for three seasons, averaging 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and almost two assists per appearance. He declared himself eligible for the 1992 draft, where the Heat picked him in the first round, 12th overall.

As a rookie, Miner appeared in 73 games at shooting guard for the Heat. He averaged 18.9 minutes per game, scoring 10.3 points with two rebounds and an assist on an average night. He shot 47.5% from the floor. He posted double figures just over half the time, accomplishing the feat on 37 occasions. On January 5th, he scored 19 points on seven-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes of an 89-83 win over the Detroit Pistons. On January 12th, in a 125-122 loss to the Utah Jazz (2OT), he scored 27 points by going nine-for-14 from the field tacking on three rebounds and four helpers on the night. He also won the NBA's Slam Dunk contest, defeating Clarence Weatherspoon and Cedric Ceballos. Miami missed the playoffs with a 36-46 record.

In 1993-94, Miner averaged 10.5 points with 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.6 minutes per game, shooting 47.7% from the floor. He broke double digits 33 times out of his 63 appearances, including 31 starts at shooting guard. On November 20th, in a 104-102 loss to the Washington Bullets, he scored 24 points on nine-for-11 shooting, collecting five rebounds in the losing effort. On December 11th, he scored 28 points on a 10-for-16 night as the Heat destroyed the Boston Celtics, 111-80. Later on, he notched his first career double double against the Celtics, scoring 16 points with 10 rebounds on March 13th as the Heat took a 106-87 decision. Miami squeaked back into the playoffs with another eighth seed, at 42-40, but were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks, three games to two in the opening round. Miner played in four of the five contests, scoring a combined 32 points with five rebounds and eight assists in 57 total minutes.

In 1994-95, Miner displayed less of what had made him a fan favorite in Miami, although he did become just the third NBA player to have won the Slam Dunk Contest a second time (along with Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan). He started 16 games at point guard for the Heat out of 45 total appearances. His shooting percentage dropped down to 40.3% in 19.4 minutes a game. His scoring average dropped correspondingly, to 7.3 points per game. He still finished in double figures 14 times over the course of the season. On November 15th, in a 115-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks, he scored 23 points in 34 minutes. He scored 19 points on eight-of-13 shooting along with eight rebounds on January 11th, in a loss to the Houston Rockets, 108-97. On April 4th, in 32 minutes, he scored 18 points with three rebounds as the Heat took a close decision over the Philadelphia 76ers, 95-92. Miami's 32-50 record had the team miss the playoffs by five games.

During the following offseason, the Heat traded Miner, along with a draft pick (Donny Marshall) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a draft pick (George Banks). Miner appeared 19 times for the Cavs off the bench, scoring a total of 61 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists. After getting released by Cleveland midway through the season, he announced his retirement from professional basketball. Having invested his money wisely, he has been able to pass his time as a stay at home dad.

Stat Line: 181 games, 20.0 minutes, .461 field goals, .328 three-pointers, .779 free throws, 9.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 12.8 PER, 4.2 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1030.6

47. Isaac Austin

Isaac Austin was a 6'10" center from Gridley, CA. Born on August 18th, 1969, he played at the high school level at Las Plumas in Oroville, CA. After two seasons with Kings River Community College, he transferred to Arizona State. As a senior in 1990-91, he scored 16.3 points with 8.7 rebounds per game. The Utah Jazz chose him in the second round of the 1991 draft, with the 48th overall pick.

Austin spent two seasons with the Jazz (77 games), playing just over five minutes per game and shooting 45% from the floor. He spent 14 games of the 1993-94 season with the Philadelphia 76ers, playing the balance of the season in the CBA with the Oklahoma City Cavalry. After playing in 1994-95 with CRO Lyon (France) and 1995-96 with Tuborg Pilsener (Turkey), the Heat signed him to a free agent contract for two years and $631,500 just before the 1996-97 season.

1996-97 would see Austin earn the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. He appeared in all 82 games, starting 17 and shooting at a 50.2% success rate in 22.9 minutes per game. He scored 9.7 points with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per appearance. He finished in double figures 42 times with 11 double doubles. In six games from March 6th through March 16th (all starts), he scored 18 points and nine rebounds in 36 minutes per game. On March 11th, he scored a season high 26 points on nine-of-11 shooting with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a 108-93 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami posted a 61-21 record, taking home the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat eliminated the Orlando Magic in five and the New York Knicks in seven before getting ousted in five by the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. Austin appeared in 15 of Miami's 17 contests, scoring 6.5 points with 4.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game.

Austin started in 25 of his 52 Miami appearances in 1997-98, shooting 47.4% and scoring 12.7 points with 6.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game. He finished in double figures 33 times, including in 22 of his first 23 contests. He also registered eight double doubles. In a 108-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on November 22nd, he scored 33 points with 22 rebounds, leading both teams in both categories. He scored 28 points with eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists on December 3rd in a win over Philadelphia, 94-90. On February 19th, the Heat traded him with Charles Smith and a draft pick (Brian Skinner) to the Los Angeles Clippers for Brent Barry.

Austin played 26 games with the Clippers. He later appeared with the Magic (49 games), the Washington Wizards (59 games), the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzles (73 games), Ulkerspor (Turkey), Xinjiang Flying Tigers (China), and the Jersey Squires (ABA).

Stat Line: 134 games, 24.3 minutes, .489 field goals, .672 free throws, 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 15.3 PER, 7.2 Win Shares

Cumulative GameScore: 1036.3