Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Over the course of the Miami Heat's training camp and preseason, Hot Hot Hoops will give profiles for all of the Heat players. Next up is the man who some credit as convincing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Miami, Dwyane Wade.
Who is he?
The best Miami Heat player of all-time, Dwyane Wade has now played a significant role in the franchise's only two championships. Despite the fact that he's 30 years old and is coming off knee surgery, the eight-time All-Star recently said that he's done talking about his perceived decline.
What will his role be?
As has been the case since his sophomore season, Wade will start at shooting guard. With LeBron James becoming more of a post-up threat and Chris Bosh dragging opposing centers to the 3-point line, Wade will slash to the basket for his scores and assists. With so many 3-point shooters on his team, the 2008-09 scoring champion won't take many long jumpers. Wade already dramatically cut down on his 3-point attempts last year, and it's logical to expect the same this year.
Erik Spoelstra will likely monitor Wade's minutes during the regular-season -- though it wouldn't go as low as his career-low 33 minutes per contest average last year, which was partly due to Wade's injuries and the condensed schedule -- but Wade and Allen will play together for significant stretches. Wade will take some of the ball-handling duties (along with James) when Miami has Wade, James and Allen on the court together.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
As I mentioned earlier, some perceive that Wade is in the midst of a steep decline. That perception isn't altogether accurate; he was hurt during the playoffs. Keep in mind that Wade finished third in PER rankings last season behind only James and Kevin Durant. Judging from his scintillating performance Thursday night against the Pistons, it looks like Wade isn't heading for the decline anytime soon.
Offensively, Wade splits the pick-and-roll exceptionally well and uses his craftiness around the rim to score against bigger players. Despite the fact that Wade is a bad shooter, he always seems to entice defenders to bite on his pump-fakes, earning him trips to the foul line. He's also lately worked with assistant coach David Fizdale on his moves in the post, and he's gotten particularly good at the turnaround jumper and hook shot.
Wade registered 1.51 blocks per 40 minutes last season, something no other player his size accomplished. He also ranked fifth in his position at steals per minute and can generally defend opposing players well man-to-man when he's into it (to be fair, all NBA players take breaks on defense). But Wade also has a tendency to jaw with officials if he doesn't get foul calls, giving the other team a fast-break advantage. He needs to cut down on that.
Wade will play in 75 games this season.