As 2022-2023 marks the Miami Heat’s 35th season, the Sun Sentinel presents a series of “5 in 35” reflections from staff writer Ira Winderman, covering all 3 1/2 decades of the franchise.

After opening the series with a look at the five greatest games in team history, five franchise changing momentsteams biggest celebrity fans, the five greatest persons for many years, five famous Heat Lifers and a rivalry that defined the franchisetoday, we begin our positional breakdown of the top five offensive backs since the franchise’s inception in 1988 (given that without the positions, some who could be considered offensive backs were listed at other positions during the week).

1. Dwyane Wade. The. The greatest. Player. U. Franchise. History.

Five NBA Finals. Three NBA championships. The lure that allowed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form the Big Three after they earlier helped bring in Shaquille O’Neal.

The No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA draft has stepped up when needed as the main man. He stepped aside as O’Neill and James arrived.

His number 3 already hangs at the FTX Arena, and the next logical step would be a statue at 601 Biscayne.

“Greatness and a legacy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “that will live forever.”

2. Eddie Jones. If the resume ended with being Wade’s original mentor in the NBA, that would be enough. But it was much more than that. It helped keep the Heat afloat from the end of the mourning era of Tim Hardaway and Alonzo to the beginning of the Wade era.

The Pompano Beach Ely High product led the Heat in scoring four straight seasons from 2001 to 2004, the franchise’s longest streak before Wade’s arrival.

3. Dan Majerle. As an offensive guard and small forward, as a starter and as a reserve, Majerle defined the Heat’s intense playoff era under Riley from 1996-2001.

Even while battling debilitating back pain, Majerle was a vital component of the plug-and-play rosters that helped first define Heat Culture.

And come to think of it, he arrived as a consolation prize when the Heat failed to sign Juwan Howard in the 1996 offseason.

4. Ray Allen. Heath’s tenure only lasted two seasons, but one moment in time might have put him even higher on this list because perhaps no other moment in franchise history has been as significant.

In Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, security at AmericanAirlines Arena for the San Antonio Spurs’ championship celebration was already calling three times for timeouts. And then from the right corner – Bah! The game is a draw. An overtime win that night and a championship the next game.

And to make it even sweeter, he was lured away from Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics in free agency.

5. Kevin Edwards. For the most part, Heat’s history as an offensive guard can be broken down into three eras: Kevin Edwards in the beginning, Jones in the middle, and then Wade for his 15-year championship streak (with others mixed in along the way).

During the franchise’s first five seasons, Edwards was a reliable presence when consistency was at a premium, averaging double figures in each of those five seasons.

Edwards’ ability to do so in the toughest of times gives him an edge over the likes of Josh Richardson, Washawn Leonard, Duncan Robinson, Brian Shaw, John Sundvold, Eddie House and, yes, Dion Waiters.

Next up: We continue our positional evaluations with the five best point guards over the years as the franchise turns 35.


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