Can the Heat Win with Chris Quinn?
Recall the 2006 NBA Draft, in which 40 percent of the 60 players taken were guards. Big East First Team pick and Miami Heat point guard Chris Quinn was the odd man out.
Despite concluding his collegiate career as the Irish' team captain in his junior and senior seasons and despite being a key player in two out of the three Fighting Irish NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance five years ago, Quinn managed to fall through the cracks and go undrafted.
Unavowed and out of college, Chris wandered the NBA's landscape, but soon signed a contract to play for the Miami Heat's Summer League Team. His performance catapulted him onto Miami's immediate roster as the clubs' reserve point guard behind NBA retirees Jason Williams and Gary Payton. Quinn played in 42 games during his rookie season and waited for his role to expand knowing ''The Glove'' was contemplating retirement.
Despite the Heat's dastardly aversion towards the slums of the league, the spry guard was one of the select Miami players to capitalize from last season.
Possessing one of the purest shots in the NBA, Quinn shot over 50 percent from downtown in the month of November
The masses of Heat fans and NBA analysts failed to comprehend that in the last two months of the regular season, Quinn was one of the top point guards in the league.
Quinn averaged 11.6 PPG, 4.6 APG, 1.4 SPG post All Star Break, which is better numbers than Jose Calderon in terms of points per game, assists, rebounding, and free throw shooting. He also had a better turnover ratio and assist total than Rajon Rondo and completely annihilated Mike Conley Jr. & Sebastian Telfair in all of the core categories of a point guard: assists, points, turnover ratio, steals, and rebounding.
Quinn was also the only player other then two-time MVP Steve Nash last season to score at least seven points, shoot 85 percent from the strip, shoot 40 percent from downtown, average two rebounds, and make 40 percent of their field goal attempts. Highlighting his smooth mechanics, Quinn was among the top 30 in three-point shooting and finished ninth in the NBA among point guards in three-point percentage.
Had Quinn completed enough free throw attempts required for the league's minimum, he would've finished fifth in the Eastern Conference and second in terms of point guards in the East, only behind Chauncey Billups. His 86 percent free throw percentage ranked supreme on the team and was the first time since 2002-03 that a Miami reserve point guard was tops in free throw shooting.
His ammo was his home-court, swishing a searing 96 percent from the free throw line at American Airlines Arena.
Even more astonishing, against the seven Western Conference teams Quinn played against, he averaged 9.4 PPG and committed only three turnovers (11 games). And he's already silenced a critic, a heavy one for that matter, in the form of Shaquille O'Neal. After Shaq's defection to the desert, he pelted the Miami Heat saying, "We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again."
Quinn, however, took the high road and offered no retaliation but placated the Big Cactus with the basketball. After the remarks, the second year guard averaged 15 points, seven assists, and four rebounds to conclude 2007-08. Though the Heat elected to take Mario Chalmers in June and sign Shaun Livingston, there should be little debate about just who exactly will be Miami's point guard to begin the season. The view should be as lucid as the waters on South Beach.
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