Now that the draft has passed, it is time to focus on attention to the event that NBA fans have been anticipating for literally years. On Saving the Skyhook, I’ll do a review a day of each of the major players who figure to command the most attention come July 1 — in no particular order. Today features Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.
Well, the negotiating period for free agency is just hours away now, and the tension is palpable. I know I didn’t get to as many of the premiere free agents as I would have liked, but as I only have one night left, I figured I’d write about Dwyane Wade. LeBron has gotten enough free-agency coverage, so I’m sure most of you know his deal already anyway.
On the basketball court, Dwyane Wade is a man’s man. On the offensive side of the ball, he’s an absolute god among men, combining incredible scoring prowess with plus passing and world-class intangible value.
In terms of his scoring, Wade is adept both around the hoop and also at range. It’s very hard to stop him driving to the rim, as he’s among the league’s best at making effective shot adjustments and finishing despite contact. His ability to absorb the hit from defenders and finish garnered him .96 and-one conversions per game, ranking him third in the league. Wade was also fourth in the league in free throws attempted, so his aggressive style gains him a lot of easy points from the stripe.
But aside from his dominance in the paint, Wade is also an accomplished jump shooter. While he doesn’t hit the three like Ray Allen, he makes shots from long two-point range and beyond with regularity. His threat as a shooter encourages defenders to guard him tightly, allowing Wade to sneak by for a drive to the basket. Moreover, his pump fakes are very effective, and he continually draws defenders in the air and takes the contact to shoot free throws.
Wade is also an incredible leader on the floor. He’s never afraid to take the last shot, and he’ll hit thrilling buzzer-beaters at least a handful of times every year. He has also taken the Miami Heat team under his wing, and he has shown great maturity and leadership despite his team’s largely mediocre performance of late. Wade is a model NBA citizen.
On defense, Wade pairs awe-inspiring athleticism and great quickness, which make him a fantastic container. He’s always a threat to pick up a steal off the dribble or the pass, and he, too, has grown fond of that chasedown block that LeBron has made famous. Heck, he’ll even block a seven footer off a flat-footed jump every once in awhile, too. Just ask Brook Lopez.
In terms of negatives on the court, Wade doesn’t really have any. If you want to be picky, he could shoot a better percentage on his jumpers, but considering his scoring output, that’s a minor problem.
The only problem teams have with Wade in free agency is his propensity to get injured. His reckless attacks to the basket expose him to a lot of hard hits, and he bears the brunt of them with injuries all over his body. Teams have to be careful, because signing a guy like Wade and then having him miss large chunks of time because of nagging injuries could be devastating to the club. Regardless, Wade deserves, and will get, a maximum-salary contract this July. He has proven time and time again he can be the first option for any team in this league, and he’ll throw in great sportsmanship and leadership along the way.