Playing beside the best player in the NBA certainly has its perks, but it can also be frustrating. Since the big three joined forces, no player on the Miami Heat has made more concessions than Dwyane Wade.
Ever since his arrival in Miami, LeBron James has naturally received most of the media attention. His inconceivable individual streaks are always the hot topic around the league, despite the fact that his sidekick is one of the biggest superstars in the league.
As James has struggled with his shooting lately, Wade’s consistency has become that much more important to the Heat, who are trying to keep their 20-game winning streak alive.
Wade has scored 20 or more points in each of Miami’s last 11 games. In this stretch, he is shooting an incredible 59.1 percent from the field. As LeBron has not been his inhuman self lately, more has been required from the 31-year-old shooting guard, and he has produced. Other than his scoring, Wade is solid across the board, averaging 25.7 points, 5.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in the last 11 contests. Not quite LeBron James numbers, but still.
Wade knows that he will remain in his teammate’s shadow for as long as James is in South Beach, and he is fine with it. However, he is rarely given enough credit for how much he has been forced to change his style of play. No longer being able to dominate the ball for the majority of the game, Wade is playing great off the ball.
In 2008-09, when Wade led the league in scoring, he scored a lot in isolation and was only assisted on 25.8 percent of his made field goals. Ever since the Heat landed the King, that figure has gone up every single year. This season, Wade is assisted on a whopping 42.5 percent of his converted field goals. Not bad for a player who has always loved to have the ball in his hands.
James will remain in the spotlight, but let’s not forget just how good number three is.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis