Dwyane Wade is the Miami Heat. For all the talk and hype that LeBron James receives, Dwyane Wade is the longest tenured member of the team, has won a title in Miami prior to LeBron and Chris Bosh arriving, and was the recruiting force that helped to assemble the talented trio in South Beach. For all intents and purposes, Miami is Wade’s team. As an 11 year veteran, Wade has had to adjust his game in order to survive against younger, more athletic players.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talked to ESPN on Saturday, describing how Wade has had to change his game up:
He couldn’t just be the same player that he was before the way this team had been put together. It has been a long, steady process of developing his post-up game and his midrange game.
Wade has spend countless hours working on different aspects of his play. Dogged by lingering leg issues, Wade is no longer the athlete he was when coming out of Marquette. Reminiscent of how Michael Jordan had to alter his style as he got older, Wade is doing the same and doing it well. For example, over the past 10 games, Wade is averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting a scathing 61.7 percent from the field.
In a recent game against the Orlando Magic, Wade’s moxie was on full display. The Magic defenders are younger and more athletic than Wade at this stage in his career, but he had his way with them, based more on strategy than on athleticism. Methodically dissecting the Magic with a balanced midrange attack, Wade made 10 of his 14 shots to lead the Heat with 24 points and added four assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block in 30 minutes.
Wade was asked how it feels being a veteran in the league now:
Sometimes, it’s funny, because you hear guys trying to call out your moves, or you hear the [opposing] bench saying, ‘Don’t let him do this. Don’t let him do that. And you just counter it. That’s what I was able to do. I think as you get older, your game has to change. You have to think the game more than anything. When you’re young, you just react and you just do [it]. Now, you have to think. And certain games, when I’m frustrated with myself, it’s because I’m not thinking the game the way that I should. But for [the] majority of them, I do a good job of thinking and reading the game more differently than I have [in the past].
Wade is certainly thinking and reading the game well these days. LeBron is again having a great season, and is a front-runner to win another MVP award, but the Heat will not win the 3-Peat that they covet unless Dwyane Wade can remain healthy and continue playing at the same high level he has this season.
Let us know whether you think Wade, James and the Heat will win the NBA Championship again this season and who will be their toughest opposition.
[Image Via Flicker By RMTip21]