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NBA Power Rankings: The Top 5 All-Time Greatest Miami Heat Teams

21 Jan 2001:   close up of Tim Hardaway #10 of the Miami Heat as he looks on from the court during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers 103-92.    NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge  /Allsport
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Danny DolphinAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2010


This list is a compilation of the greatest Heat teams in franchise history. Sadly, the 2010-11 Heat cannot be considered just yet. They haven’t even played a game yet. However, their time is coming.

1. The Year Riley Steps In (2005-06)

Starters - Jason Williams, Dwyane Wade, James Posey, Udonis Haslem, Shaquille O’Neal

Bench – Antoine Walker, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Kapono, Shandon Anderson

Result – NBA Champs

They won it all. Enough said.

2. The Big Diesel’s Arrival (2004 – 05)

Starters - Damon Jones, Dwyane Wade, Eddie Jones, Udonis Haslem, Shaquille O’Neal

Bench – Rasual Butler, Keyon Dooling, Michael Doleac, Christian Laettner, Alonzo Mourning, Shandon Anderson

Result – Lost in Conference Finals (Pistons in seven)

A healthy Wade during the 2005 playoffs might have equated to two championships for the franchise at this point. You’d think Wade at full strength would have been enough to take out a Pistons team that barely beat Miami in the conference finals with Wade hurting.

3. Timmy, Mash, and Zo (1996-97)

Starters – Tim Hardaway, Voshon Leonard, Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, Alonzo Mourning

Bench – Sasha Danilovic, Dan Majerle, Isaac Austin, Kurt Thomas, Keith Askins

Result – Lost in Conference Finals (Bulls in five)

Although this was one of the best three teams in Heat history, the ’97 Bulls were much better. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Bulls to another championship that year after disposing of Miami in five games.

4. The Knicks Deliver The Final Blow (1999-00)

Starters – Tim Hardaway, Dan Majerle, Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, Alonzo Mourning

Bench – Voshon Lenard, Bruce Bowen, Anthony Carter, Clarence Weatherspoon, Otis Thorpe

Result – Lost in Conference Semis (Knicks in seven)

Everyone remembers this team for losing to New York in the playoffs. They had everything going for them, but couldn’t close out the Knicks for the second consecutive year. The Knicks-Heat rivalry was in full swing at this point.

5. The Year A Legend Was Born (2003-04)

Starters – Dwyane Wade, Eddie Jones, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant

Bench – Rafer Alston, Udonis Haslem, Rasual Butler, Malik Allen

Result – Lost in Conference Semis (Pacers in six)

To this day I still think this squad was the most exciting team in Heat history. They might have been small but that was their appeal. They were fast and entertaining led by a young rookie named Wade at the point. This was also arguably Odom’s best year as a pro. It’s too bad they had to break this team up. But anytime you have a chance to get an impact player like Shaq, you pull the trigger.

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