Dwyane Wade has become an artist in setting up baskets for Hassan Whiteside rolling to the rim.
Cross-training provides valuable insights.
That play was very similar to how setters in volleyball run the offense, where the ball never stops moving and communication between players is essential. Finishers have to be in the right position for emphatic spikes from an alley-oop pass by the setter. Notice how quickly the players have to react: the ball travels so fast that even a tenth-of-a-second delay during the action is costly.
Wade's role as a setter for Whiteside dunks could extend his basketball career by several years. As Jay Ramos pointed out, Wade's point totals and trips to foul line would fall drastically, but his assists per game would rise dramatically to be among the top 50 in assists in the NBA.
Being a facilitator instead of a finisher places less stress on the body, utilizes his extensive basketball knowledge and leadership talents. Wade's value to the Heat would not diminish, but transition itself to non-statistical factors.
In his 20's Wade was a rock star who attacked the basket with reckless abandon and physical authority, but those days are over. For his second decade in the NBA, Wade is becoming a roll [sic] player who surgically dissects the opponent's defenses with precision passing based his veteran's experience.
His floater is an especially effective tool, since defenders cannot tell if it's a shot or a pass to a rolling Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Gerald Green, Luol Deng,Tyler Johnson, or even Justise Winslow. The mechanics are exactly the same for both and its success depends freezing the defenders into difficult choices and on communication between his own teammates.
Kobe Bryant never developed the mindset to become a facilitator in his sunset years, so his physical decline was painfully obvious. Dwyane Wade proved his ability to work alongside Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James, so he can adapt to whatever the situation demands and his body tells him.
Fans may say his individual statistics are deteriorating, but the bottom line is still how many games the Heat win during the season. By the becoming "setter" on the offensive side, he could maximize the size advantage the Heat have in the paint over many teams.
Human Kinetics states the setter's main duty is to defend and stake a claim to a spot on court from where he can distribute the ball. Without great position to run sets, he will fail in his job.
"How well the setter defends and transitions determines whether the team stays in system or gets forced out of system. A lazy setter who doesn’t defend or work hard in transition can be the major reason that a team struggles to play at its highest level. It is critical for the setter to play defense all the time, fight hard to get his or her feet to the ball all the time, and cover his or her hitters all the time. The setter is the main cog on the wheel of the team. If he or she does not play aggressively, the team will not operate smoothly."
The different skill set Wade acquires during his second decade in the NBA may allow him to play many more years than people previously thought. He could even prolong his career until the unthought of age 40. That might be a stretch, but then Wade has always surpassed what people believed he could achieve.