Miami Heat: Compiling an all-time starting 5

Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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NBA Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat is one of the greatest franchises in NBA history easily able to compile one of the best starting 5 of all-time.

The Miami Heat has become one of the NBA’s greatest franchises of all-time, beginning as an expansion team with their first game played in the 1988-89 season.

They were mired in mediocrity for their first seven years, but this all changed in 1995 when Carnival Cruise Lines Chairman Mickey Arrison bought the team and hired Pat Riley, who coached Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Showtime Lakers to four NBA championships and is considered one of the all-time greatest coaches.

Riley would make two huge trades for hall of fame big man Alonzo Mourning followed by trading for an all-star point guard with a crossover called the “U-step 2-step”, Tim Hardaway. For a few years the Heat were regular playoff contenders even making the conference finals against Michael Jordan’s Bulls, but ultimately losing on multiple occasions to Patrick Ewing’s New York Knicks.

The Miami Heat’s path to true greatness began when they would draft one of the greatest players of all-time named Dwyane Wade from Marquette University in 2003. Wade immediately brought the Heat back to the playoffs after a short drought hitting a playoff game-winner in his rookie season.

When Shaq and Kobe broke up after their three-peat (a term coined by Pat Riley in the ’80s about winning three consecutive championships) the Miami Heat landed Shaquille O’Neal towards the tail end of his prime leading them to their first franchise championship in 2006 led by the superstar duo of Wade and O’Neal, with Wade putting the team on his back in one of the greatest finals performances ever at only 24 years old.

Wade continued to dazzle even being referred to by many as the best player in the league at one point, but the Miami Heat truly began to enter the legendary franchise conversation when LeBron James infamously announced he would be taking his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat forming a Big Three and a new era in the NBA with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Big Three went on to win two titles, with one series including arguably the greatest shot in NBA history from Ray Allen. The Heat now enters a brand new era of young studs led by superstar Jimmy Butler where they are once again looking like true contenders.

This list will not be limited to what position each player played. The Miami Heat’s all-time starting five will be a combination of their greatest players and who would fit best together. This starting five is assembled to give the Miami Heat the best starting five if all 30 franchises were to compile their greatest players into a starting lineup for a season.