Last season, Dwyane Wade missed 28 games due to injury or rest for the Miami Heat, but he was available for every playoff game.
This year, Wade said his plan and hopes are to be available every night for his team. And with the departure of LeBron James, they will certainly need Wade every night.
"Last year, we tried something and I wasn't comfortable with it, either. It almost worked. It was this close, three games from it working. But it's a different year." -- Dwyane Wade
It seemed to irk LeBron a bit, not knowing if or when Dwyane Wade would play. Wade sat out back-to-backs for most of the season and was on a day-to-day basis on his play. But now, Wade knows it is a different year and he plans to approach it differently.
Last season, Wade averaged a career-low 32.9 MPG and his 19 PPG were his lowest since his rookie season. The year before Wade missed only 13 games in the regular season. He missed 17 games in the shortened season and wasn't healthy in the playoffs. But the three years before that Wade has extended health, playing 79, 77, and 76 games total each season.
Wade will be expected to carry a much larger burden this year without LeBron James. Taking days off could be catastrophic for this team's chemistry and record as they compete in a much more competitive Eastern Conference. What makes this even worse is that right now there is no clear back-up for Wade if he had to take days off.
Last season, Ray Allen was a constant for them. And before that, Mike Miller and Ray Allen easily picked up the slack. This year, Shannon Brown, Reggie Williams and Tyler Johnson are all battling to make the roster behind Wade. And if they are battling to make the roster, it doesn't bode confidence that they would easily slide in the starting lineup. What you would likely see if Chalmers and Cole start and Napier move up the rotation.
Either way, it should please Heat fans that Wade is planning on "being available" every day. The more Wade we see, the more likely it is he regains his old form to lead this team alongside Chris Bosh.
Stay tuned Heat Nation.