Yesterday, I happened to stumble across an ESPN Outside the Lines story and much like my last article, the focus was on Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the summer of 2014. But their episode took a turn when I saw Chris Broussard talking about how James could leave because of the big decline of Dwyane Wade.
Now, I would be the first to tell you of Wade’s demise if it were happening. As a matter of fact, I did before I realized that he was still fighting through injuries. I even thought that his play would sway James’ decision if the team kept looking like the Miami Cavs instead of the Miami Heat.
I’m just an honest fan like that. But to watch Broussard doubt Wade after a season of steamrolling competition was weird.
Perhaps he counted the 2013 NBA playoffs without regarding the Finals. I guess that sounds about right because he couldn’t have been acknowledging the same Wade who started slow, only to finish the season shooting a career-high 52 percent from field goal range.
In his so-called down year, he averaged five rebounds, five assist and 21 points. It was his second-lowest point per game total, but it was high enough to put his scoring amongst the league’s top three two-guards — behind Bryant and James Harden.
Does that sound like a superstar who was falling off, or one who was effective while continuing to sacrifice for his team?
I know that I should take into account his shaky playoff performances and injured knees. And I did. So you have to take into account that he helped carry the Heat through the Finals, averaging the same amount of assists with merely one less point and one less rebound.
To me, that sounds like critics are championing the “Fall of Wade” before it’s worthy.
“They tried to bury Dwyane,” said teammate Shane Battier during the Finals. “But he kept pushing open that coffin door.”
When healthy, James will find few players better to run with than Wade.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.