The Miami Heat have seemingly been destined to get back to the NBA Finals yet again this year. While they have had losses to the Brooklyn Nets and even the Indian Pacers have stepped up to rival them, it seemed like an undisputed fact. The only problem with this fairy tale is that Dwyane Wade has had a lot of injuries over the last number of years he has had to work through.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James help to lead a Heat crew loaded with great talent to the NBA Finals once more. They are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, yet they are not guaranteed the number on seed just yet. Dwyane Wade has missed the last 9 games, pretty much killing off any major help LeBron James and company had of making it an easy trip to the Finals. While Wade did return Saturday night, it was not in great measure.
The number one seed secures the fact that they can potentially get out of the first round without much effort, and into the second round where they could face a better team but nothing they could not handle. The fact is as well, it seems to be yet another year of Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Championship. Both have struggled lately, whether it be due to injury or simple tiring out.
Wade is now back in the lineup after missing the 9 games mentioned earlier and while most feel this is good for the Heat, it may not be. He had a hamstring issue that kept him out this time and he has missed a good third of the season due to injuries. An idea being discussed is having him show up for the first playoff game and missing the last few games of the season. This way, Wade can have more time off and feel good to go once the playoffs start.
Keep in mind, if Wade gets hurt then the Pacers potentially have an edge. Wade offers around 20 points a game and takes a lot of pressure off of James. While Chris Bosh will play well, as will people such as Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers, it would not be surprising to see the Heat fall without Flash in the lineup come Conference Championship time.
Keeping Dwyane Wade healthy now is the most important part, and he can always play reduced minutes if they get ahead in playoff games. However, if the Heat reach the NBA Finals again, Wade will need to be on point and unable to miss any games. They potentially have a team such as the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs to face off against. This is not an easy task.
The Western Conference is stacked yet again this year and not an easy place to get out of. So the winners of this conference will not be push-overs in the NBA Finals. That means if the Heat arrive to the Finals again, Dwyane Wade has to be healthy. So expect the Heat to really push for reduced minutes heading into late April.