In 2013-14, Dwayne Wade posted one of the worst seasons of his career. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was the third worst of his career at 22.0, his win shares the second lowest at 5.5 and the scoring per game the second worst at 19 points.
Then again, maybe that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, Wade wasn’t as much an initiator as he once was as illustrated by his 27.9 percent usage rate, making it the worst since his rookie year; which is an expected by-product of playing alongside LeBron James.So really, a down year shouldn’t be much of shock.
However, the most worrying aspect of it all is the number of games he has missed. Over the years, we’ve become accustomed to Flash missing chunks of the season, mainly due to his well-documented knee problems. That’s primarily why he has never played the full 82-game NBA regular season going into his 12th year as a pro and missed 28 games due to several injuries last year.
Now, without the overwhelming safety blanket that is James, those troublesome knees could cause more issues than they have in the past four years, and we could see a much worse version of the All-Star.
On the other hand, maybe LeBron departure’s is a good thing. Maybe then we’ll be able to see some more vintage Dwyane Wade with a lot more freedom on the ball.
Sure, Chris Bosh will likely be the No. 1 option on offense, but the two will likely share the load and Wade’s usage rate (and consequently his other stats, i.e., points and assists) will go up because he won’t have to defer to LeBron.
At least we know he can still put the ball in the basket with great efficiency, having shot a career- high 54.5 percent last season. That was enough to place him eighth in the association, among all the bigs like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Amir Johson and so forth, who mostly rely on dunks and lay-ups for all their points.
In fact, the only player in the top 15 to average more points than him in was James (27.1), who also happens to be the only “perimeter-based” player on the list.
While a cynic may say that shooting is because LeBron attracts the bulk of the attention or point to his drastic decline during the 2014 NBA Finals, an optimist may argue that it is simply a case of Wade being a lot smarter with his shot selection. Seriously, 54 percent does not just happen by accident or circumstance.
In addition to being a masterful finisher at the rim, he possesses a respectable mid-range game and is a proficient scorer from the post.
As for the Finals, like he said: “The shots just didn’t fall. It happens.”
With regards to his health, rumor has it that Wade has shed roughly 10 pounds. That means he has dropped from being a hefty 220 pounds down to approximately 210 which should, theoretically speaking, help relieve some of the stress on his knees.
Overall, despite his struggles you could still make a case for Dwyane Wade being the best shooting guard in the game. James Harden is a lethal scorer but his defense his almost non-existent. Kobe Bryant is coming off a couple of major injuries and father time is catching up, so we have no idea what he’s still capable of doing.
Moreover, with Wade the questions typically aren’t about whether he still has the ability or not, but rather if he can actually suit up. Don’t be too shocked to see him put up 22-24points per game in 2014-15…if he is healthy.
Also take into account that he will be a lot more motivated to prove he still an elite, dominant player as well as wanting to make LeBron regret his decision.