We continue our look at the greatest players for each position that have played for the Miami Heat. The center position is filled with some great players, and it’s a little bit of choice where you want to put them.
We’d love for you to read through and tell us what you think.
**These rankings are based on both longevity and impact. A player is not ineligible if they played for a short amount of time, but their impact must be high.**
Let’s take a look at the best centers to play for the Miami Heat.
#5 — Rony Seikaly
For six seasons in Miami, Seikaly was the starting center in Miami as the franchise began. He was a good center, averaging 15.4 PPG and 10.4 RPG. He also won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 1989-90.
Seikaly never did anything to wow you, but he was a consistent presence on a young team and for that, he make the list.
#4 — Hassan Whiteside
There’s a lot of mixed feelings about Whiteside’s time in Miami. It started out with such intrigue and promise as a D-League call-up who started getting triple doubles with blocks. Whiteside was a double-double machine in his 5 seasons with the Heat. He led the league in rebounding with 14.1 in 2016-17. And he led the league in blocks with 3.7 in 2015-16.
Whiteside signed a massive 4-year, $98 million deal in 2016 and he had his best season in that first year averaging 17 PPG and 14 RPG. But after than, his minutes started to decline, as well as his numbers...and some suggested his effort. He was disgruntled and the Heat traded him away.
Regardless, he was a powering presence that played 5 seasons in Miami.
#3 — Bam Adebayo
At 22 years-old, Edrice Adebayo became only the third center for Miami to become an All-Star. Adebayo has only been in Miami for three seasons, and this is his first time as a full-time starter, but he hasn’t disappointed. He is well rounded, averaging 5 APG, which is by far the best for any center in Heat history.
His sky is the limit. Yes, Seikaly and Whiteside probably have room to grumble being behind him, but the fact that he so quickly became an All-Star and is on his way to a stellar career, I went ahead and penciled him in above him. In October of 2018, Alonzo Mourning predicted that Adebayo would be the best player in the organization...
#2 — Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is probably the greatest center to ever play the game, so dominant. But we are judging his time in Miami. And when he arrived at age 32, he was good, but not unstoppable. Shaq had a near MVP season in 2004-05, claiming second to Steve Nash. And then you know he led the Heat, alongside Dwyane Wade to the 2006 title.
In Miami, Shaq averaged 19.6 PPG and 9.1 RPG. His first two years in Miami, he led the NBA in FG%. He was the Diesel, but only spent 3 and a half seasons here as things went south immediately after the title. Still, he’s the second best center to lace them up here.
#1 — Alonzo Mourning
There is a reason he is still around and involved as a part of the Miami Heat organization today.
Alonzo Mourning is one of the best players to ever play for Miami. And his longevity and skill lead him to the top for this category. It’s interesting because for much of his career, Zo was overshadowed by Shaq...maybe all of his career. He averaged 21 and 10 as a rookie, but Shaq was the story.
Mourning spent 11 different seasons with the Heat, including the 2006 title team. Mourning was a 5-time All-Star with the Heat (7 overall). He won NBA Defensive Player of the Year in back to back years in 1999 and 2000. He was second in MVP voting in 1999. He led the league in blocks twice. He’s got All-NBA’s and all kinds of things.
He was the center of the 90’s teams that made a real push and he came back after his kidney disease and played for the Heat again after a stint in New Jersey. Mourning is the best and will always be a legend in Miami.
Let me know what you think of the list! What would you change? Brian Grant was someone I considered but he didn’t make the list.