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How Crucial Is Dwyane Wade To The Success Of The Miami Heat?

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are best known for their consecutive NBA Championships and their superstar trio deemed the “Big 3.” However, lately, the “Big 3” has been decimated to one individual, LeBron James. James has held up his end of the deal this season, averaging 25 points, six rebounds and six assists. As for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the story is a bit different. Bosh is currently averaging his lowest numbers of his four year stint with Miami, and Wade has been dealing with lingering knee issues.

Bosh’s performance is nothing new, as the big man has seen a steady decline in his numbers since moving to South Beach, but Wade’s production is much more important to Miami’s success. Through 20 games, Wade has missed five and the Heat are 2-3 in his absence. That 2-3 record includes the champs’ worst loss of the season to the Chicago Bulls.

You can’t blame Wade or Erik Spoelstra for taking a caution approach, but it is clear that Wade is the x-factor for the Heat. He provides so many different aspects for the team, and no one can replace what he brings to the table. Wade can score on his own, he can rebound with the giants, he can pick your pocket, and he can swat your shot.

That’s the great thing about Wade, if he doesn’t score 30 points every night, he is going to make it up in other ways. Not only is “Flash” a stat sheet stuffer, he also takes pressure off of James and allows the King to get easier looks. When Wade isn’t playing, teams have less to worry about and can focus more on James with double teams and different defensive strategies.

So many people have ripped on Wade for his sub-par performances in the 2013 playoffs and his drop in point production, but he does so much more than people think. He is another threat on the court and another big concern for opposing defenses. James can play more relaxed because less burden is on him to perform, and Bosh can get better opportunities to score.

It’s hard to balance touches between three superstars, and in the end, someone is going to see a decrease in their stats. It is more important how they make up for it in other ways. For Miami, Wade does so many little things that help everyone else on the court.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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