Can Dwyane Wade save the Miami Heat’s season?

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /

Does Dwyane Wade have anything left in the tank to save the Miami Heat’s season in the 2018 NBA Playoffs?

It comes as a scare, but not a surprise, that the Miami Heat are now slipping away from any postseason victory and their exit could come as soon as next week.

Why is it a scare? Because now more than ever, there’s a lot of uncertainty concerning big contracts if the offseason starts sooner than expected. Why isn’t this a surprise? The lack of initiative from key players combined with emotions getting the best of them during the games is concerning.

Two major question marks will haunt Miami’s offseason, especially if it springs up sooner than predicted, and they need to immediately be addressed: Will the Heat keep their franchise center this summer? Is he worth it?

Miami’s four-year, $98 million contract big guy is producing all-time low playoff career averages definitely not reflecting his payday. The difference compared to his regular season numbers is, in fact, flabbergasting.

On an average of 25.3 minutes, Hassan Whiteside averaged 14.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this season — a one-point increase from his career scoring average of 13.6 points per game.

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Now, check out his numbers in three games of playoff action against the Philadelphia 76ers. It is indeed a shock coming from Miami’s “franchise” player: 3.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in just 13.7 minutes per game. One of the main stats for any center should be rebounds and he is not delivering in that aspect.

The other bullet point on the agenda is considering, like Hassan Whiteside, trading Tyler Johnson and his ridiculous contract. Johnson is finishing up the second year of a four-year deal valued at $19.2 million in its third and fourth years. That’s an insane amount for a backup guard who’s averaging 8.0 points per game in 16.3 minutes per game during these playoffs.

So with these two uncertainties up in the air for the offseason and the Heat trying to overcome a 2-1 deficit after losing home-court advantage, now is the time for Dwyane Wade to step it up and save his team from elimination.

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The game of basketball is a team effort, but that team has lacked leadership in its two losses. Here is a breakdown of Wade’s playoff performances so far:

  • Game 1 (L): 11 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 4-7 FG
  • Game 2 (W): 28 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds, 11-16 FG
  • Game 3 (L): 8 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2-10 FG

You can see this wave is fluctuating back and forth. A past-his-prime Wade, as some would call him, doesn’t necessarily have it in him to repeat a Game 2 performance every night, but his overall attributes should zone in on assisting and leading his teammates.

Wade should have an increase in minutes and rely on adjusting to his teammate’s games to help them succeed. A clear example is Justise Winslow’s Game 3 performance where he notched in a playoff career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

This team needs Wade now more than ever and he definitely has fuel left in the tank. Even at 36, he can still become a difference-maker and silence the crowd like he did in Game 2. Will he bring that magic back for the remainder of the series? That is yet to be seen, but he knows the stakes are high and during crucial times like these, he has to leave it all on the floor.

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The only dangerous issue is whether the supporting cast can help him deliver. Wade will need that if he plans to make a comeback in order to save the Heat’s season.