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Skeeter and The Prince: 30 Years of Heat

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Keith Askins and Luol Deng are featured in today’s countdown article.

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat - Game Six Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

28. Keith Askins

Keith Askins, born, raised, and schooled in Athens, AL, was a 6'7" guard and forward in his time with the Heat. Born on December 15th, 1967, he was a four year letterman for the University of Alabama. As a senior, he scored 10 points with five rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. After graduating with the Class of 1990, he went undrafted, but signed on as a free agent to play for Miami.

As a rookie in 1990-91, Askins played 39 times, starting once at small forward. He shot 42% from the field in 6.8 minutes per appearance, scoring 2.2 points with 1.7 rebounds. Miami went 7-32 with him in the lineup. On April 3rd, he scored a season high 10 points with three rebounds in 12 minutes in a 127-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors. In Miami's final game on April 20th, he scored eight points with six rebounds, four steals and two blocks as the 24-58 Heat closed with a loss to the New Jersey Nets, 118-103.

1991-92 would see Askins appear 59 times, starting four times. He scored 3.7 points per game on 41% shooting, adding 2.4 rebounds in 14.3 minutes. In a 118-112 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers on December 18th, he scored a season high 18 points off the bench on seven-of-11 shooting with five rebounds and three steals. He scored 14 points with nine rebounds and three assists on February 5th when the Heat lost to the Golden State Warriors, 126-124. Miami earned their first trip to the postseason with an eighth seed clinching 38-44 record, only to lose three straight to the Chicago Bulls. Askins totaled 48 minutes, scoring 13 points with nine rebounds.

In 1992-93, Askins started once out of his 69 appearances, scoring 3.3 points with 2.9 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game. He shot 41.3% overall from the field. He scored in double digits four times, and helped the Heat to a 29-40 record while in the rotation. On November 28th, in his only start of the season, he scored six points with 12 rebounds, four steals and three assists in a 112-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. In a 116-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on February 12th, he scored 10 points with nine rebounds and two blocks. On April 23rd, in a 121-120 overtime victory against the Bullets, he set season highs with 14 points and 16 rebounds, also making three blocks in his first career double double. The Heat went 36-46.

Askins appeared 37 times off the bench in 1993-94, playing 8.6 minutes per night and scoring 2.3 points on 40.9% shooting with 2.2 boards. The Heat went 20-17 with Askins. On December 30th, in a 108-100 loss to the Magic, he scored seven points with eight rebounds. In a 113-80 victory over the Washington Bullets on Janaury 23rd, he scored a season high 13 points, going a perfect six-for-six from the field. He scored 13 points again on April 2nd, also collecting seven rebounds in a 110-87 loss to the New York Knicks. Miami finished at 42-40, but lost three out of five to the Atlanta Hawks in the opening round of the postseason. Askins played six minutes in one game, turning the ball over twice, missing a shot, and making one offensive rebound.

1994-95 would see Askins appear 50 times, starting five games at small forward. He scored 4.6 points shooting 39.1% from the field, with four rebounds in 17.1 minutes per appearance. Miami went 23-27 with Askins on the floor, as he scored 10 or more points on seven occasions. He scored a season high 19 points wh eight rebounds on January 30th in a 95-92 loss to the Hawks. In a 98-75 win over the Detroit Pistons on February 1st, he scored 11 points with 10 rebounds and four steals for his second career double double. He got his third on February 28th, in a 95-85 win against the Bucks, when he scored 16 points with 14 rebounds. The Heat went 32-50, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their first seven seasons.

In 1995-96, Askins appeared 75 times, starting 14 times. He played a career high 25.3 minutes per game, and also set career highs with 6.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He shot 40.2% from the floor. He helped the Heat go 38-37, and scored in double figures 16 times. On December 1st, in an overtime, 108-101 Heat win against the Hornets, he hit eight-of-13 shots for 21 points, also collecting seven boards with four blocks. He scored 15 points with 13 rebounds and four more blocks on December 16th in an 83-74 Heat loss to the Utah Jazz. In a 96-89 win against the San Antonio Spurs on January 22nd, he scored 11 points with 11 rebounds. Miami went 42-40, but were swept by the Bulls in three games for a second time to open the playoffs. Askins scored 13 points in 48 minutes over three games.

Askins started in 30 of his career high 78 appearances in 1996-97, playing 22.7 minutes per game. He shot 43.3% for 4.9 points, with 3.5 rebounds and one assist per contest. He scored 10 or more points 13 times. In a 106-90 win against the Pacers on February 13th, he scored a season high 15 points. He scored 11 points with 10 rebounds and three steals on February 23rd in a win against the Nuggets, 95-86. On April 14th, He scored 13 points with five rebounds in a loss to the Minnesota TimberWolves, 95-87. Miami won the division title and the second seed in the East with a 61-21 record. They defeated the Magic and the Knicks in the playoffs before losing in five games to the Bulls. Askins played in 12 of the Heat's 17 postseason contests, totaling 30 points and 28 rebounds.

1997-98 would see Askins appear in a smaller role than in the past season, playing 46 times total with 12 starts. He shot 32% from the field in 14.8 minutes per game, scoring 2.4 points with 2.2 rebounds. The Heat posted a 32-14 record With Askins. He only scored 10 or more points once, on March 5th, when the Heat defeated the Houston Rockets, 117-93. Askins scored exactly 10 points. Miami went on to a 55-27 record. Although Miami collected a second seed, they didn't make it past the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Knicks, three-games-to-two. Askins scored five points with seven rebounds in 58 minutes over four games.

Askins appeared 33 times in his final NBA season, 1998-99, scoring a total of 53 points with 44 rebounds and 17 steals. He retired after getting waived, immediately linking on as a coach with the Heat.

Stat Line: 486 games, 16.4 minutes, .401 field goals, .355 three-pointers, .717 free throws, 3.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 9.2 PER, 14.5 Won Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1487.7

27. Luol Deng

Luol Deng, also known as “The Man from Sudan,” is a 6’9”, 220 lb. forward from Wow, South Sudan. Born on April 16th, 1985, he was picked in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft with the seventh overall selection, by the Phoenix Suns. The Chicago Bulls traded for him immediately thereafter, for Jackson Vroman and a 2005 first round pick (Nate Robinson).

Deng played for nine-and-a-half seasons with the Bulls to begin his NBA career, appearing in 637 regular season contests and scoring 16.1 points with 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He ranks highly on Chicago’s all-time leaderboard with 22,882 minutes (fifth), 637 games (sixth), 3,987 field goals (fifth), 387 three-pointers (seventh), 1,925 free throws (eighth), 4,078 rebounds (ninth), 1,572 assists (14th), 639 steals (fifth), and 360 blocks (10th). On January 6th, 2014, the Bulls traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Per basketball-reference.com:

Traded by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum, a 2015 2nd round draft pick (Sir'Dominic Pointerwas later selected), a 2016 2nd round draft pick (Paul Zipser was later selected) and a 2017 2nd round draft pick (Jordan Bell was later selected). (1st-round pick is from SAC and is top-12 protected in 2014, top-10 protected from 2015-17; becoming a 2nd-round pick if not conveyed by 2017) Chicago has the option to swap 1st round draft picks with Cleveland in 2015 (if Cleveland's selection is within 15-30; not exercised)

Deng appeared in 40 games for the Cavs, playing 33.8 minutes and scoring 14.3 points, with 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals. On July 15th, 2014, Deng signed on with the Heat for two years and $20 million.

In 2014-15, Deng ranked as Miami’s “Second Star” of the season, starting a team-high 72 contests and averaging a team-third 33.6 minutes per game. He ranked fourth with 14.0 points, third with 5.2 rebounds, and seventh with 1.9 assists. Cumulatively, he led the club with 2421 minutes on the floor and ranked second to Dwyane Wade with 1,007 points and second to Hassan Whiteside with 376 rebounds. He was also third on the team with 65 steals and fourth with 22 blocked shots. Miami went 33-39 in Deng’s starts and 4-6 when he missed a game.

Deng racked up five double-doubles through the season for the Heat that season, always with points and rebounds. According to GameScore, Deng’s best of the season came early, on November 9th in a 105-96 win against the Dallas Mavericks. He scored 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting with five boards and four helpers. Two weeks later, in a 94-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets, he scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting with eight rebounds and three assists. On January 16th, he went 11-for-18 from the field for 25 points, with six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks as the Heat defeated the Sacramento Kings, 95-83.

Deng ranked as Miami’s fourth star in 2015-16, behind Whiteside, Wade, and Goran Dragic. His 74 appearances ranked second on the team, and his 73 starts tied Wade for the team lead. He was tops on the team with 2,394 minutes on the floor, but he was fifth with 12.3 points, third with 6.0 rebounds, and fourth with 1.9 assists.

The 48-34 Heat earned a surprising third seed in the postseason, going 45-29 with Deng and 3-5 without him. He earned 13 double-doubles, again each time with points and rebounds. Deng’s two best contests of the season came on back to back nights in February. On the 19th, he made 11-of-17 shots for 30 points with 11 rebounds and four steals in a 115-111 win against the Atlanta Hawks. The following night, in a 114-94 victory over the Washington Wizards, he scored 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting with 10 rebounds and four helpers. On March 30th, in a 102-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, he racked up 22 points with 11 boards, three blocks and two assists.

The day after Deng’s 31st birthday, on April 17th, he had his best game as a member of the Heat in the opening game of the postseason, a 123-91 win against the Charlotte Hornets. Deng shot 11-for-13 overall and four-of-six from outside for 31 points with seven rebounds. He went on to appear in all 14 of Miami’s postseason games, averaging 13.3 points, 5.9 boards, 1.6 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 35.4 minutes per appearance.

After the season, Deng signed with the Los Angeles Lakers through free agency for four years and $72 million. He played 56 games with the club in 2016-17, averaging 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.9 steals per game.

Stat Line: 146 games, 33.0 minutes, .462 field goals, .349 three-pointers, .758 free throws, 13.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 15.2 PER, 11.7 Win Shares.

Cumulative GameScore: 1641.6