Dwyane Wade - A Career Retrospective Chapter 1: The Rookie Year

Feng Li

The first part of an ongoing series looking back at the greatest Miami Heat player ever.

In June of 2013 we witnessed Dwyane Wade and company win their second back-to-back NBA championship. After a grueling season, and post-season it seems as if Wade is on his way to cementing himself as one of the best shooitng guards of all time, if not top three.

Wade has been one of the focal points of the NBA for years now, and his legacy is growing quickly. This was Wade's third championship, and it's evident that the heart and soul of the Miami Heat franchise has certainly come a long way in his ten-year playing career. He's faced trials and tribulations on and off the court, but has come out on top, each time. These hurdles have helped define him. (i.e "Fall down seven times stand up eight") but nevertheless it's important to regard the time before he was a superstar. In an off-season with limited Heat trades and news, I present to you. Dwyane Wade: A Career Retrospective Part 1: The Rookie Season

Dwyane Wade attended college at Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin; he was recruited by then coach Tom Crean and looked upon to become the next Golden Eagles' superstar. However, he was unable to play his freshman year due to his grades not being up to the strict NCAA regulations. Nevertheless, Wade worked tirelessly to improve his English writing abilities, and joined the team in his sophomore season. He quickly grew to be a force in the NCAA averaging 17.8 points, 2,47 steals, 6.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. He only continued to improve his junior year and helped bring his team to a Final Four appearance.

Wade decided to declare for the 2003 NBA draft prior to his senior year and in the shadow of Carmelo Anthony andLeBron James was picked fifth by the Miami Heat. Wade was a productive member of the Miami Heat from the start, averaging 16.2 points per game as well as 4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. In spite of this, paralleling his present state, Wade fell victim to injuries at various points. Due to this facet, he missed 21 games playing only 56 regular season games in total. While he was outshined by LeBron and Carmelo for much of the season, Wade did find himself winning his own accolades. In February of 2004 Wade became the first rookie in 21 years to win Eastern conference player of the week as well as earn a unanimous selection to the 2004 All-Rookie team. There were times in which Wade was indistinguishable from the veteran players surrounding him. This partly due to his post season success that season, where Rick Carlisle the then coach of the Indiana Pacers was quoted saying:

"He's a great player, He's stepping his game up at an important time of the year. At this point, I don't think he feels like he's a rookie, and we certainly don't consider him to be one either.

This was made evident in that post-season. Wade averaged 18 points per game and was almost unstoppable, leading Miami into the Eastern Conference semi finals, where they fell to the Pacers in six games. Nevertheless, his astonishing series versus the Charlotte Hornets and Pacers really helped cement his status as an up-and-comer in the league.

This concluded Wade's first season as a member of the Miami Heat organization, and set up much promise for the following season. In spite of this, the Heat's plan to build around Lamar Odom and Wade changed completely when Shaquille O'Neal came to town, and flipped everything on its head and in some ways helped fashion Dwyane Wade's career.

By Brandon DiPerno

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