We all love Dwyane Wade. In Miami, he is the king. But heading into this season, the 33-year old guard may have a different role. But as the leader, he will set the tone for what this team expects to do this season.
So as we head into this season, what should we expect from Wade? I asked this question to the writing staff here at Hot Hot Hoops to see what they had to say about Wade and the upcoming season. Here's what everyone had to say...
For the first time in several years, Wade has had an extra-long summer to rest and recuperate away from the court. Along with business meetings, product launches and spending quality time with his friends and family, Wade has also been working on his game and his body and the result is that he's looking healthy and slimmer, which should help his knees. With a deep roster and a fortified bench, expect coach Spoelstra to pace Wade during the season with an eye towards the postseason. With less back-to-backs in the schedule, Spo can limit Wade's minutes throughout the season without necessarily giving him as many nights off as the team did during Wade's maintenance plan. His overall stats will dip as a result but I still expect Wade to maintain his efficient productivity alongside his more-than-capable backcourt partner Goran Dragic, who will help him get easy buckets in transition.
Wade's situation is interesting, as it's forcing him to once again transition his game after what many called a career renaissance. For the first time ever, Heat fans are witnessing young talent blossom around Wade and it will noteworthy to see how he reacts to a quicker pace for the first time in a few years. Regardless, Wade is still an All-Star caliber basketball player, and even with Dragic, Winslow, and Whiteside finding scoring opportunities there will be plenty of moments for Wade to get his. Additionally, Wade has had the most time off of his career this offseason and that alone should do wonders for his durability. Wade is betting on himself with his most recent contract I don't think he can afford to let himself down. Expect a big season out of him.
I think honestly we should really look at more so what does Dwyane Wade expect from himself. We know when Wade is available and healthy he's still one of the better contributors in the league. The fact he was a top 4th quarter scorer in the league just behind LeBron James spoke volumes in what he can contribute to not just the Miami Heat but any team for that matter. I'd like to hope Dwyane embraces the idea of taking back to backs off, minutes reduction and the works now with a roster that's as deep as it's ever been (on paper of course) in Heat history.
Last season was a tough one for many Heat players, including Dwyane Wade. Without LeBron James, Wade's field goal percentage dipped to 47 percent, his lowest since the disastrous 15-win 2007-08 season. Still, he proved he can still play like the explosive Wade of years past in spots. Both home games against Cleveland and the March 18 game against Portland in which Wade scored 15 fourth-quarter points come to mind immediately. Erik Spoelstra will try to keep him around 30 minutes a night, and yes, he'll still get injured here and there. But his improved supporting cast — a healthy Chris Bosh, a whole year with Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, a (perhaps) reliable backup in Gerald Green, etc. — should make this season brighter for Wade and the Heat.
It's strange to say but, at 33, this may be the year where Wade redefines his game. He doesn't have to be a high-usage player at this point, with Goran Dragic (by far the best point guard he's had as a teammate) initiating the offense and with three other starters all capable of being very productive. We could see a renaissance for Wade in that he might reach Big 3-era levels of efficiency. As for basic numbers, I'm looking at Wade playing in 68 games this year, putting up 19 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds per game, while shooting a robust 52% from the field. But, despite this, he won't be added as an All-Star this season.
Darryl Lee Sang:
I expect Wade to come in healthier than he's been in a long time. Thanks to the extended offseason, he has a few less miles on his knees, shed weight with the 30 Day Transformation regimen, and received cryotherapy treatments which should help decrease chronic pain, spasms and inflammation. When he's on the court, I expect him to be efficient in his scoring like previous seasons, but believe his average points per game may go down a notch now that he'll be part of a starting lineup that (hopefully) includes Bosh, Dragic and Whiteside for the entire season. My guess is that he plays 65 games this season as the added depth to the Heat's bench should take some of the day-to-day load off of him, but in all honesty, any number above 60 games played is a good season for Wade in my opinion.
My take from the above (Matt Pineda):
I think Wade will come in healthier than previous seasons because of the extended time off. I think it has helped his body and even his spirit, spending more time with his family. However, he is 33 years old and I believe he's going to have to start to pick and choose his spots more. This becomes easier knowing Dragic can run the show with the ball. I think Wade will play more games than 65 because of the new NBA schedule, but I also expect him to average less than 20 PPG.
Regardless, the expectation from Dwyane Wade is to help this team win and be the leader, whatever that looks like at this stage. When you're making $20 million, you have to produce.