On Sunday, I lamented that Dwyane Wade looked ill-at-ease, awkward, uncomfortable, tortured, and various other adjectives with similar connotations. Turns out I was on to something. The Sun-Sentinel is beginning to pick up the theme:
A Sun-Sentinel article, "Out-of-rhythm Dwyane Wade forcing 'lot of shots":
Wade said he is having trouble finding himself in an offense that features several new players, including rookies Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers.
"I'm having a hard time with that right now, mentally," he said. "Right now, I'm kind of out of rhythm."
Wade said his attempts are not coming from the best spots or at the best times.
"A lot of shots I shoot right now are forced, because different things are going on offensively," he said.
"A lot of it is not to my strengths right now."
And from a column by David Hyde:
So what's the Heat's biggest concern? Some say it's at center, considering there is none. Some say it's at point guard, because four play but none play well. There's the lack of a bench. The injury to James Jones. The rookie coach.
But all of this sidesteps the issue burning like a small rag fire today, one that could either blow out in coming weeks or ignite the entire franchise: Dwyane Wade already has the look and sound of someone serving an 82-game sentence.
Which leaves only 79 games to go.
And, yes, it's nearly time to start counting.
As Hyde's one-sentence paragraphs illuminate, Wade's current commentss are the early warning signs of a superstar unceremoniously bouncing from his current situation. We all know that Miami is undertaking two concurrent missions over this and the next season: surrounding Dwyane Wade with talent, and keeping Dwyane Wade around to be surrounded. Both of those efforts have taken major hits over the last week, with Miami's and Wade's struggles and Detroit's savvy entry into the 2009 and/or 2010 free agency derby.
So it's clear that Miami will have to do better to keep Wade. To that end, the Herald's Israel Gutierrez suggests taking the desperate route.
One thing is certain, and that's any attempt at an upgrade would be appreciated by Wade. We all recognize that the primary goal for the next two seasons is to keep Wade happy enough to stick around past 2010, especially with nearly half the league setting up to throw money at the 2010 free agent class...
So, when he becomes available, (Pat) Riley should go get (Stephon) Marbury and (Erik) Spoelstra should put him in the rotation. Make it look like this year actually matters. The last thing Wade would want is to feel like the franchise is wasting a perfectly good year of his career. With Denver out of the running for his services, there would be almost no competition for Marbury.
So the logic here is this: Wade doesn't feel comfortable in the offense, so Miami should add a point guard who doesn't know the team's system and dominates the ball. I don't follow. Marbury is more name than player at this point. Juwan Howard is available too if we're putting together a late-90s All-Star team. Wade doesn't need fancy names and inflated egos next to him, he needs complementary role players.
So what's the answer for the Wade predicament. It's hard to say. It's one of those things where I know better what the answer isn't than what it is. Changes are needed, obviously, but they have to be the right kind of changes. That's not Marbury. The best strategy I can come up with is a familiar one: trade Shawn Marion. Not that Marion's exit would instantly fix the Heat's imbalance, but it would help bring some level of professional coherence to a lineup that currently looks like it has next at the Y.
I'm not usually one to preach patience, but that is what is in order right now. See what the trade market yields for Marion. Let Wade form this disparate group in his image, even if it means giving him full-time ball-handling duties. Hell, if Wade doesn't like the offense, let him run it himself. At least he'd have less room for complaint.
Worst case, we have another bad year and get B.J. Mullens or some other legitimate big man in the draft. I want this team to win now, but I also want it to be a viable contender in the long term. Somehow, the team must strike that balance. I wish I could tell you with any level of certainty that that would happen, but I'm just not sure.