Creaky knees, inconsistent health, and a decrease in perceived explosiveness have made the decline of Dwyane Wade a noticeable one. While Wade’s game has evolved over the past few years, many analysts, former players, and experts agree that Wade is nowhere near the player he once was. However, just how much has his performance dropped off?
What his Player Efficiency Rating tells us:
From 2005-2012, Wade never had a PER lower than 25. His numbers were off the charts, of course, as he has always been considered one of the top 5 shooting guards in NBA history since his 2006 Finals performance. In the 2012-2013 season, during which the heat won their second championship with Lebron, Wade’s PER dropped to 24.0. That number has declined every year since.
What his 2-point field goal percentage tells us:
2013-2014: 55.7 percent
2014-2015: 48.9 percent
It was a rough go for Wade in his first season after the Lebron era. Lebron created like no other, and that production was sorely missed on South Beach, as it would be with any team. Wade also having a harder time finishing at the rim, which could be attested to his age and wear. However, a large part of his struggles can also be blamed on the absence of Chris Bosh, No consistent perimeter shooting, and injuries that ravaged the entire Heat team for the whole season. Not everything hinged on Lebron.
What his knees tell us:
Wade’s health is the main problem. Simply put, he is not healthy enough to consistently compete at a high level and produce All-Star level numbers. Can he show flashes of brilliance throughout the season? Absolutely. Did he carry the Heat at times last season? Yup. Is the Heat a much better team with him on the court? No doubt. But, that is exactly the problem.
The version of Dwyane Wade that makes the Heat better is the Wade with a PER over 20 and one that doesn’t take plays off. At this stage in his career, Wade physically cannot do it. However, in the right bursts of health and play, Wade can make terrific contributions.
The Heat has depth at the guard position. Gerald Green, Justise Winslow, and even Tyler Johnson have already shown the ability to perform at a high level. Specifically, Green will be key. A potential sixth-man of the year candidate, Green had been lighting up the preseason and carried it into the first game of the regular season, putting up 19 points with 5 three-pointers made. Green, who currently possessives the kind of explosiveness and shooting touch rarely found in NBA bench players, will command playing time. For the Heat, there could not be a better player to match up with Wade.
Take it with a grain of salt, but Gerald Green showed a lot of promise in the preseason. If we’re looking for skills that will translate to the regular season, you have to begin with his quickness and athleticism. His driving, dunking, and defensive ability shouldn’t be turning off any time soon. It was also really encouraging to see him make shots off the dribble and quick release threes.
Overall, if the Heat can adequately spread out his minutes, Wade can produce at well above league average levels. Is he still an all-star? Unless Jimmy Butler or Bradley Beal were unable to play and Wade were completely healthy, the chance are slim. Looking forward, Wade can still be more than productive, and a key component of a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference.