Best Heat Player Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2001 - Eddie House
On a team the age and health problems of which were its undoing, House's youth and upside win him the prize. When the Heat made the Arizona State guard the 37th pick in last year's NBA draft, the question heard at breakfast tables across South Florida was, "Who is Eddie House?" He's a scorer, we were told -- in fact he once scored 61 points in an overtime college game. He was touted as a Glen Rice-caliber shooter. So how did we get him? Well, he's a 'tweener. At six-foot-one, he was too short for the two-guard slot and didn't have the ball-handling skills to play the point. Coach Pat Riley gambled on him anyway; judging by House's rookie season, it was a hell of a bet. Number 5 has sparked several victories with his play off the bench and shows an almost uncanny ability to stroke the net with his jumper. He's deceptively quick and practices as hard as anybody on the team. But he played only in about a third of the games this past season, and even then for scant minutes. Sure, he got a little extra PT in the playoff debacle, but that was a desperation move by Riley as the team fell apart against the Hornets. Next season House must be not only in the Heat's house but on the floor. We think he can be something special, as in Miami's answer to The Answer. (OK, maybe not that good, but who knows?) The bottom line is, we agree with Riley's 12-year-old daughter, who is known to wear an "FEH" T-shirt: "Free Eddie House!"