Miami Heat's "Flash" or as he now likes to be referred to as, "Three" came off a great regular season averaging 21.2 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game, only to fade for long periods of time within the post season. These absences or lapses occurred up until the NBA Finals. Like a flash of lightning Dwyane appeared to return. While Wade appeared mostly healthy (reports of knee draining were frequent) and even unstoppable at points during the Finals, there was no doubt that this was not the man that dominated the league for so many years. While Miami did of course achieve their ultimate goal of an NBA title, it seemed a lot more difficult then in the past playoffs.
I've said before a healthy Dwyane Wade is the key to sweeping a series, and unfortunately knee injuries robbed Miami of that weapon up until the Finals. Nevertheless, the question that must be addressed at this time is, will Wade come back the same, or continue this slight decline? The extent of his Wade's injuries are as of yet unknown, however he has been quoted after Game 7 explaining that there would be no need for off-season surgery:
"There will be a few treatments, but it won't be surgery," he said. "A lot of rest is going to be key for them. I'm going to treat my knees very well this summer."
That being said it makes one wonder how much effort will he be able to put in this summer in order to come back stronger. Wade's lack of range in his jump-shot was exposed frequently throughout the playoffs, and while much can be blamed on his limited elevation (courtesy of his right knee injury) it's something that needs to be fixed coming into the season.
Dwyane Wade isn't a young man anymore, while he can elevate with success he is anything but an NBA premiere dunker. In order to transition his game, Wade has to elevate his shooting level. There is no more room for injury; Dwyane is 31 years old, he can't be getting battered. We saw some transition this season with more of a use of floaters, and his deadly post game, yet his jump shooting range still proved to be an issue. While Wade only has 29.8% career average from beyond the arc he certainly has the tools around him for success.
Wade has the opportunity to learn from three-point specialist like Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, as well as James Jones and Rashard Lewis. Wade's work ethic has been unquestionably great throughout his whole career, and as he approaches his contract season it will be interesting to see how much stronger, and complete he becomes as a player.
Wade has had a history of proving his critics wrong, but can he accomplish that task yet again? Unfortunately, fans and basketball enthusiasts alike will have to wait until November to discover. But if his track record has any input, Miami will witness lightning flash once again.
By Brandon DiPerno