Josh Richardson said after a recent Orlando Summer League game his mentors last season with the Miami Heat were Goran Dragic, Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade. Of those three, Deng is gone, Dragic is under contract and the Wade situation is in flux.
The Denver Nuggets must have noticed the growth of Richardson and Justise Winslow into rotation players, and potential stars. Without a bona-fide All-Star in Denver and a big stake in the development of Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic, the addition of Wade to their team is a great fit to develop a mentor program for them.
Drafting Jamal Murray could lead to Denver's version of Hassan Whiteside, Winslow, and Richardson, with Jukic, Mudiay and Murray, if events turn out as planned. A two-year deal as player/mentor for Wade coincides with Denver's rookies contracts, which expire after three seasons when the rooks become free agents.
Wade will get paid his due, whether it's in Denver now or by the Heat after his playing days are over, much like Alonzo Mourning was taken care of by the organization. The important point is not to burn any bridges this summer, because Wade has thirty or more years to reap the benefits basketball fame has granted him. The idea of having the jerseys of Wade, Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James hang next to each other in AmericanAirlines Arena would always remind Wade of his part in Heat history.
Winslow playfully changed the rook 1 and rook 2 nicknames to the three dogs of defense: Briante Weber, Richardson and Justise. Welcome to the dawg pound of the Miami Heat, where visitors stray at their own risk. While the Warriors have three splash brothers, the Heat have a new version of the Pistons Bad Boys, who outplayed Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls twice.
Wade is as competitive as they come. He makes the perfect leader for the youthful Miami Heat dawgs, who crave the havoc defense creates. Whiteside, Winslow, Richardson, and Weber have the potential to make the NBA All-Defense team at some time in their careers. Goran Dragic is tough as nails, with the broken teeth to prove it.
The Warriors may have the super-team offensively, but the Heat could have the super-team on defense. Be interesting to match the best teams offensively versus defensively. Which wins in a showdown?