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Dwyane Wade - A Career Retrospective Chapter 4: Doomsday (2006-2008)

Part 4 of our ongoing series looking back at the career of Dwyane Wade is here...

Marc Serota

The Miami Heat's 2006-2007 season was a strenuous one riddled with both injuries and disappointment. After such a successful previous season and their first NBA championship, the downfall of this championship team was un-expected. For Miami the season debuted extremely slowly due to injuries, and by February they displayed an extremely average record of 20-25. It seemed the destiny of the team lie on star shooting guard Dwyane Wade as he received his third All-Star selection and was averaging the best numbers of his career.

Wade was playing beautifully, slashing to the basket with ease. It seemed as if Wade had developed a defining play style, and was making the even the most talented players pay as he sped by them effortlessly and finished with earth rattling slams. At most times he was by far the most athletic player on the floor, and he made it known. Nevertheless, Wade's ever-so physical play style has its own downfalls, and he would come to realize this sooner then later.

Wade would only play in 51 games this season after dislocating his shoulder February 21st versus the Houston Rockets. This was painful for the Heat as it was the first time in months where Riley, Shaq and Wade were on the floor together. At this point in the season Miami had a .500 record and was ready to flow into the playoffs. While many viewed this as a season ending injury, the ever-competitive Wade would decide to rehabilitate his shoulder rather then undergo a season ending surgery. Shaquille O'Neal did his best to carry the Heat during Wade's absence but notwithstanding the relentlessness of Miami's then big man there was a gaping hole growing larger in Wade's absence.

Wade made his triumphant return April 8th vs. the Charlotte Bobcats, and despite only scoring 11 points many viewed this as a good sign for the Heat going into the playoffs. They were sorely mistaken, as Miami would subsequently be swept in the first round of the playoffs versus the Chicago Bulls. In spite of the depressing playoff ejection, Wade averaged impressive numbers, 23.5 points, 6.35 assists as well as 2 steals.

Miami's postseason was disheartening and management viewed this as a factor of age. Riley's Miami Heat would undergo major changes in the offseason including the trade of all-star center Shaquille O'Neal to Phoenix for then 4 time All-Star Shawn Marion, and Marcus Banks. Less than a year after winning the NBA championship, the Heat were in a rebuilding phase.

Meanwhile, during the off-season Wade underwent surgery to repair his shoulder and left knee and wouldn't return to Miami's roster until seven games into the season. Despite his best efforts, Miami earned their worst record in NBA history going 15-67. Wade would once again only play in 51 games, but in this instance because of Riley's decision. He believed that there was no use for Wade to play in the final 21 games, and instead should undergo treatment on his left knee. Despite his shortened season Wade received an All-Star team selection once again, and in his games played averaged (24.6 points, and 6.9 assists per contest).

Wade was spectacular, but his team couldn't win. Miami was looking at a Flash without a Justice League and it appeared Doomsday had arrived.