Removing a team’s second best player from their lineup can have negative consequences. Doing this for a sustained period of time can cause crippling setbacks in terms of team growth. The franchises that survive these types of absences are the ones with quality depth backing up their starting lineup. The Miami Heat are no different. Their depth has allowed for their second best player to rest in preparation for the grueling playoffs that are ahead, but too much rest might not necessarily be proactive.
Dwyane Wade has sat out of 25 games so far, which is more than a fourth of the entire regular season. His absence has not only forced coach Erik Spoelstra to utilize odd lineups periodically, but it has also affected the rhythm of the team. Multiple Heat players have made it known that Wade’s prolonged absence could have negative effects in the playoffs and getting a few games in before the regular season ends to regain his flow is a must. Mario Chalmers told ESPN:
“He’s got to get his rhythm, and that’s going to be the main thing. Hopefully, he’ll hurry up and get out there. I think we can figure it out. But as a player, you always want to have that rhythm going into big moments like the playoffs. With D-Wade, he’s a big rhythm player, but it’s easy for him to find his rhythm. So we’re not too much worried.”
If the Heat are able to beat the Indiana Pacers this Friday night, they will only have to go 3-2 the rest of the season to firmly take the No. 1 spot. With games against the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies looming, the Heat will need Wade’s offense to help push through a final grueling back-to-back set victorious. At this point in this season, it is all about timing and rhythm heading into the playoffs, and sitting Wade for the rest of the season won’t allow him to accomplish that.