It’s been two years since the Big 3 has formed in Miami and they’ve made it to the NBA Finals in both years succeeding in their most recent trip. For the sake of Lebron James legacy, one championship isn’t enough. He doesn’t want to be mentioned in the Jerry West category, but more-so the Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan conversation. The problem is that the world keeps comparing him to Jordan when, after ten seasons, he’s been a bigger, quicker and faster Magic. With his play resembling Magic’s one player will solely benefit from this play: Dwyane Wade.
With the way the Los Angeles Lakers played during the Showtime Era, Magic Johnson’s ability as a playmaker and point guard was a contributing factor when it came to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being able to play into his 40s. When Kareem was 38 years old in 1985-86, he averaged 23.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. That same year Magic averaged 18.8 points and 12.6 assists a game. Whether Kareem would have still been productive late in his 40s had Magic Johnson never been drafted by the Lakers is unlikely as the amount of work he would have had to put in night in and night out would have drastically increased.
Similar to Magic-Kareem, Lebron came to the Heat without a ring and Wade has one up on him. Now, almost 20 years later, we may see the same type of team play that’ll keep Wade relevant for years to come as he’s been fighting injury throughout his career. Entering his 10th season, Wade is 30 years old. Last year he relinquished the role of being the “man” on the Miami Heat; a decision that, not only led them to a championship, but may be the deciding factor in how long Wade lasts in the NBA.
Lebron keeps the pressure off of Wade. It’s no secret that Lebron can carry a team. He took a team where Daniel Gibson was the second best player on the team to the Finals. With more help he lessens to wear-and-tear for Wade. It isn’t the days where Wade had to carry Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal for 82 games. Mentally he should be past the “fall down 8 times, get up 9 days”.
While Lebron is in the supreme peak of his career, Wade should be working on his skills to be able to play off of him. His mid-range jump shot should increase. He should be working on his three and his free throws. Unlike Kareem, Wade won’t lead this team in scoring. Truthfully, he should be stepping into more of a James Worthy role while Chris Bosh steps up to be the second option. Whatever he does should be based off of how Erik Spoelstra plans on utilizing James.
With at least three-and-a-possible years left, this team is primed to win at least two more championships unless a team in the Western Conference thinks differently. With Lebron only 27 and Bosh only 28, Wade is the key to this team and if he allows James to guide him along for the remainder of the time they are together, Wade may be able to play much longer than his body would allow. Based on the “position-less” offense the Heat plan on running during this season, it may be deja vu to some Laker fans as it’ll Showtime all over again.