This season has to be especially rough on Dwyane Wade. Not only has he missed 13 games this season, but he has also had to hear the constant chatter about his slow and painful demise as an NBA player. Wade took it upon himself to correct that way of thinking last night against the Detroit Pistons when he erupted for 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on 68 percent shooting from the field.
It is no coincidence that the Miami Heat have lost a good percentage of their games when Wade isn’t in uniform. Wade is vital to how the offense flows and his length allows him to be an above average defender as well. Since missing a four game stint due to knee soreness (Miami dropped three of those four games in his absence), Wade has been on an absolute tear, averaging 22 points, five rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 65 percent shooting.
The most visibly noticeable difference in Wade’s game, however, is the ability to get lift off of his shots. When Wade is injured (usually due to the knee), the lift in his jump shot gets immediately zapped, making it much more difficult for him to shoot over a defender. These are the times that the opposing team will slack off Wade defensively, because they know he will have a difficult time making any shot due to that lack of lift. Those issues seem to be gone recently, and it has Wade playing on a whole other level.
Although Wade has missed several games, his shooting percentage from the field is at a career high, which is a huge sign that he is adjusting his game to match the needs of Miami. This season, more than any before the Big Three has played together, is about adjustments and making the correct ones when the time is right. If Wade can stay this productive throughout the playoffs, his tedious maintenance program and collection of missed games will have actually meant something.
A third straight title is the goal, and Miami isn’t winning it without Wade playing with this spring in his step.