Once upon a time, he was easily considered to be one of the elite players in the NBA. He would electrify the court and stir up audiences with his acrobatic layups, high flying dunks, ankle snapping crossovers and a never dwindling will to score. With a stone-like game face only to be eclipsed now and then with a smirk, his skill level ranked amongst the greats such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and LeBron James.
Somehow, those days and years have become part of the ever-growing heap that is known as history.
But this player does not give up, does not back down and thrives off competition. According to this player, he has turned back the hands of time and is ready to silence critics and put the skepticism to rest.
It seemed just like yesterday that Dwyane Wade was drafted by the Miami Heat as part of one of the best draft classes the NBA has ever witnessed. His rise to stardom and success was quick and masterful; his maturity and leadership bounds ahead of his age.
Wade became the face of the Heat franchise, bringing the first championship to South Beach in only his third season and earning Finals MVP. A handful of seasons and a couple of rings later, the dominance of “Flash” has dimmed to a flicker.
The All-Star guard has dealt with prolonged knee injuries over the last few years and it really showed this past postseason. After undergoing offseason treatment, Wade says that he is healthier than he has been in years. This is great news for Miami as they prepare to embark for a third-straight title, but Erik Spoelstra and the defending champs should remain cautious with Wade throughout training camp.
Wade played through a bone bruise for the second half of last season as well as dealing with tendinitis in his knees. The troublesome knees of Miami’s “second option” almost cost them the championship.
If last season is any indicator, Wade is not getting younger and knees usually do not get younger, either. The Heat should keep a close eye on Wade and take it slow. When the regular season is 82 games long, there is no rush. Even if Wade says he is healthy and looks it, there should be no rush or no reason to push him too hard this early. Flash’s health is most important during the second half of the season and the playoffs.
The Heat should remain cautious in their approach to Wade. A healthy Wade is the best news they can get, but he is only as good as he is healthy.