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Dwyane Wade Still Got It? Dwyane Wade Never Lost It!

BallDontStopWhen the Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Clippers behind Dwyane Wade’s 29 points, 5 asts, 5 rebounds a few nights ago, headlines like “Vintage Wade”, “Flashback Performance” and “D-Wade turns back the clock” started popping up, as if this performance was something we hadn’t seen for years, as if this was something of yesteryear. It was like people were shocked by Wade’s performance. Disrespectful. These past couple years, some idiot fans and media have been talking as if Dwyane Wade is in the twilight of his career and is a decade out of playing basketball at a high level, often dismissing him as an elite player in the NBA. The sports world just LOVES to put a great athlete in a rocking chair, especially basketball fans. Yes, Dwyane Wade is 31 years old(not thaaat old), Yes, he has a history of injuries, BUT, he is still a great basketball player. As a matter of fact, Dwyane Wade is still one of the elite players in the NBA, and if he wasn’t so unselfish and wasn’t sacrificing his individual stats in order to win championships these past few years, many would still say he is a top five player in the NBA.

You have to look beyond the dip in stats when assessing Wade, he is in a much different situation and is doing something that not very many great players were truly willing to do, especially in their primes: sacrifice.

When LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, the NBA changed forever. James who had spent the first seven seasons of his career playing in Cleveland was extremely frustrated, he was the best player in the game but he was coming up short in the Playoffs year after year. The Cavaliers had done as much as they could, the front office made efforts every off season to surround James with talent that could help him become an NBA champion, but it wasn’t nearly enough. As great as James was he just wasn’t going to win with the supporting cast he had in Cleveland, eventually James learned that no matter how great you are individually, you can’t get the job done on your own.

LeBron James needed to win desperately, his legacy was on the line and he had to win an NBA championship very soon if he wanted to live up to the his hype, if he wanted to be a worldwide mega star and most importantly if wanted to be considered one of the greatest ever. After years of being surrounded by mediocre players and having to take the blame for the Cavaliers playoff failures, James wanted to put himself in the most secure and best possible situation to win championships, he did not want to be haunted by a poor supporting cast. So when it came time to make a decision, James didn’t just join another All-Star to begin the new chapter in his career, he took it a step further. LeBron James did something that had never done before, he joined another top 5 player in the NBA, a true superstar in his prime, a champion, a finals MVP, a rival of his during his Cleveland days; LeBron James, in his quest for a ring joined Dwyane Wade. This move would forever change the NBA, it started a new era.

Dwyane Wade is the guy the greatest player of his generation chose to team up with to win an NBA championship. Yes, Chris Bosh who at the time was a five time NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and had just come off a season in which he averaged 24 ppg and 11 rpg was one of the premier players in the league and made up the super trio as well, but Miami was Dwyane Wade’s city. LeBron James was coming to Dwyane Wade’s team, he was joining someone who had already won an NBA championship.

When this move happened the entire basketball world was shook, on paper this team looked unbeatable. But that was on paper. It would take time for this team to get used to playing with each other, to develop chemistry and find a rhythm that works for them. The critiques came out fast, counting down the days it would take for D.Wade to have a meltdown, saying this move would be a disaster and giving a million reasons as to why these two wouldn’t be able to play together! Having arguments about whose Batman and whose Robin.

Everyone was looking forward to seeing how James and Wade would play together. Many believed the two were a horrible fit, nobody saw two players at the top of their game, willing to sacrifice individual stats in exchange for team success.

Dwyane Wade was just a season removed from leading the NBA in scoring, averaging 30.2 ppg on 49% shooting. In the 2009-10 Playoffs, before ” The Decision”, Dwyane Wade had averaged 33 ppg, 7 apg and 6 rpg including an incredible 46 point performance in game three against a Boston Celtics team that went all the way to game seven of the NBA finals. Like James, Wade was eliminated by the Boston Celtics that year. This is what motivated the two to get together and try to create one of the most dominant duos in NBA history.

In their first regular season together, Wade averaged 25.5 PPG, 4.6 apg and 6.4 rpg, these numbers were very similar to the ones he put up in the previous season. Wade also shot a career high 50% from the field and he was also attempting two less shots per game than the season before. LeBron James averaged 26.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 7.5 apg, LeBron was sacrificing individual stats more than Wade at the time and did not win the MVP that season. In the Playoffs that year, Wade averaged 24.5 ppg and shot the ball 17.8 times per game which was down a total of five shot attempts from the previous Playoffs. James had one of the worst Playoffs of his career, his 23.7 ppg and 17.8 times FGA per game were the lowest of his Playoff career.

Dwyane Wade deserves credit for taking a back seat to LeBron in the prime of his career, in order to win NBA Championships.

Dwyane Wade deserves credit for taking a back seat to LeBron James in the prime of his career in order to win NBA Championships.


The Miami Heat went all the way to the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, Wade was playing great averaging 27 ppg, 7 rpg and 5.2 apg and shot 55 % from the field. James however had the worst series of his career, averaging just 17.8 PPG and attempting 28 less FG’s for the series than Wade. James was not aggressive and came up short down the stretch in some big games, it was one of the darkest times of LeBron’s career and the media was ripping him apart. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in six games and almost all the blame was thrown on LeBron James.

James spent the entire first season in Miami deferring to Dwyane Wade, he let Wade be the scorer and tried to be the play maker but it just didn’t work. The two were trying so hard to keep each other happy and keep Chris Bosh happy, they were out of rhythm and had an awkward chemistry and it cost them a title. LeBron’s image had taken a big hit, after “The Decision” and the Finals failure he was the most despised player in the NBA.

The following season James vowed to play his game, be aggressive and not worry about what people say. James said he was too focused on making things work with he and Wade and it threw his game off. Than everything changed. James with his legacy on the line yet again, got it together.

In the 2011-12 NBA season LeBron James captured his third NBA MVP award, averaging 27.1 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 7.9 RPG and shooting a career high 53% from the field. LeBron was not worried about sacrificing, he wasn’t letting anyone hold him back. Dwyane Wade would be the one to sacrifice this time and he was all for it. Wade averaged 22.1 PPG, 4.8 rpg and 4.6 apg, these numbers were the lowest since his rookie season. Wade made a big sacrifice scoring wise, he was playing off the ball more than ever, the main plays were being called for LeBron and Wade attempted a career low 17.1 shots per game.

As the season went on you could hear whispers of “He’s getting old”, “He’s injury prone” and “He’s not the same player he once was” from fans and some media. People were ready to say “D-Wade has lost it” and were foolishly pointing to Wade’s drop in PPG as the reason. Never mind the fact that Wade is playing some of the most efficient basketball of his career, shooting a stellar 50% from the field(highest among guards in the NBA). He is clearly sacrificing, he is averaging the lowest mpg of his career and hasn’t really made any noise about it, Wade has career lows in FGA and doesn’t get the same looks and isolations that he once would now that LeBron has taken over as the clear cut main man.

The Miami Heat won the NBA Championship in 2012 and LeBron James was named Finals MVP. James being the main scorer and Wade being the side kick was clearly working for the Heat, they had an identity and they had a certain pace and offensive game plan that worked for them and they weren’t planning on changing it. James and Wade were the best 1-2 punch in the NBA.

By now everyone on the Miami Heat knew their role, James was the leader and the team was happily running through him. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were sacrificing their individual stats more than ever and the Miami Heat were rolling through the NBA.

In the 2012-13 season Dwyane Wade averaged 21.1 PPG, 5.1 apg and 5.0 rpg, Wade played in 69 out of the 82 games and shot a career high 52% from the field(highest among guards). Wade was sacrificing more than ever, he was shooting just 15.8 shots per game and playing about 34 mpg, which is the second lowest of his career. James had another amazing season, capturing his fourth NBA MVP award with averages of 27, 8 and 7 and shooting a career high 56% from the field!

Despite the Heats success and Dwyane Wade’s efficiency, people were beginning to dismiss Wade as one of the elite players in the NBA. His drop in stats led many to believe that he is no longer the player he once was, no longer the man once dubbed “Flash”. Wade wasn’t getting the ball whenever and wherever he wanted and he was totally fine with that, he knew before everyone else that this was LeBron’s team. But the media and ignorant fans were unfairly labeling him like he was a shell of his former self, simply because his stats had dropped. Idiots.

The Heat went onto the NBA Finals again, this time they were up against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs played a great team defense on LeBron James and took a 2-1 series lead, when James was against the ropes and struggling, it was Dwyane Wade who stepped up. In Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Wade proved that he still has the ability to go off at any given time, he was aggressive from the start and took all the shots he could. Wade didn’t defer to LeBron and wasn’t worried about sacrificing, he wanted to win and took matters into his own hands. Dwyane Wade lit up the Spurs dropping 32 pts on 56% from the field! he added 6 steals, 6 rebounds and 4 assists as well. Wade was getting his this game, nobody could stop him and he was in the zone, hitting his signature step-backs and taking it to the hoop hard.

This was a great performance by Wade, he took the pressure off of LeBron and allowed him to get comfortable again. Had he not gone off this game, the Heat may have never won the 2013 NBA Championship.

But all Dwyane Wade did this game was do his job, just like he has been doing his job the past two seasons for the Heat. The reason LeBron joined the Heat was for moments like this, to have another weapon just as deadly as him on the court, this makes it impossible for the opposing team to guard which means its impossible to beat the Heat. LeBron James backed off for a while in this game and let D-Wade do his job and he did it, Wade didn’t turn back the clock, he didn’t have a “vintage” performance, he just did what he had the ability to do and what he was supposed to do! That’s it!

What folks don’t understand is that Dwyane Wade has the ability to do this every game! Wade could be averaging 27 PPG and chasing a scoring title if he really wanted to, Wade could be taking 22 shots a night like he did against the Clippers this past week on National TV, Erik Spoelstra could be calling isos and all kinds of plays for Wade if he really wanted to, Wade could be all over SportsCenter, he could have told LeBron James to stay in Cleveland and just continued displaying his individual dominance every night in Miami.

But that is not what Dwyane Wade is about. Wade wants to continue winning championships, its what drives him, its the reason that he took the pay cut when James and Bosh joined the Heat, it is the reason he defers to LeBron and holds back. Not many players of D-Wade’s caliber are truly willing to sacrifice individual stats, other duos like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both go out and get theirs every night, Wade and James already tried that and it didn’t work, so Wade decided to be the one to slow it down and play at a pace that works for the team, not just himself. Wade may not get to play in an offensive system where he has the freedom to do whatever he want, but that’s basketball and Wade understands that, he truly does what is best for the team.

Dwyane Wade is doing what is expected of him. If Wade was still putting up 26 a night and focusing on getting his, the same idiot fans and media that say he is getting old and slow would punish him for shooting to much, for being “selfish” and would be creating stories about how Wade needs to be traded. Theres this unfair double standard, if Wade shoots too much he is considered selfish, if Wade sacrifices his stats, they say he is getting old and isn’t the player he once was.

I applaud D-Wade for his unselfishness. Instead of counting him out and acting surprised when he goes off for 25-30 every few games, we should appreciate and respect him for it, he could be doing that every night if he wanted to. Wade could have still been in the discussion for top five players in the NBA had he not held back for the Heat, Hell, Wade is so good that he and Bosh together could probably have been a dominant duo in the East,while maintaining their individual stats. But would they be good enough to win NBA Championships? Because that is the only thing that matters to Dwyane Wade.

Today’s mainstream media loves throwing cute terms around like “vintage”, “throwback”, “flashback”, “turns back the clock” etc…These phrases create a nice story, everyone can say “damn, remember that?!” It’s like they all follow a nice sounding story line, a script, the story lately has been that Wade is not what he once was, and they’ll juice that story forever. Wade can bend down and tie his shoe lace and they’ll make a story of it, they’ll remind us of how much better he tied it in 2006. These terms can be used for Wade when he is 35 years old and is legitimately on the decline, when there is clear evidence that he is on the decline! Because as of right now there is none.

The truth is these people claiming that Dwyane Wade has slowed down and is not what he once was are ignorant.

So called “experts” that have never played the game of basketball don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, they don’t know how hard Wade has to train in the off season, they don’t know the strict diet and training regimen Wade follows to keep his body in peak shape just in case LeBron or Bosh are hurt or struggling and Dwyane Wade has to go be Dwyane Wade.

It has to be tough as hell, knowing you have the ability to be considered a top five player in the NBA but not being able to use it, it takes a lot of heart and strength to do what D-wade is doing and has been doing these past two season.

Don’t act surprised when you see D-Wade have big games and performances, it shouldn’t be news. Wade still has the ability to do this every night, but he shouldn’t and he won’t, because that is not what is best for his team. And D-Wade is all about the team, he knows his role and he is sacrificing a whole lot, he is doing what is expected of him and what was expected of him since day one and it is working!

Instead of looking at the box score, watch a couple of Heat games and see how many times Wade gives up a wide open lay ups just to throw lobs to LeBron James, or gets a clean look in the lane but kicks it out to Ray Allen for a three. Those layups could be easy points for Wade, he could be padding his own stats. But he is focused on winning and not just winning in the regular season but in the finals.

Dwyane Wade won’t be taking 20 shots a night this season, he won’t be trying to take over games on his own and it is because he doesn’t have to and it’s not what is best for his team. Winning championships involves sacrifice, basketball is a team game and mainstream media has turned basketball into an individual game.

When Wade needs to be the man and needs to score, he knows it and he does it. This dude has a killer instinct and still has the ability to take games over on his own, he is playing very smart basketball right now and has been for the past few years.

There is a reason LeBron James the best basketball player in the world chose to join the Miami Heat when his legacy was on the line. He needed a secure opportunity to win championships and the most secure option for him was to join Dwyane Wade. Remember, Dwyane Wade was an NBA Champion and Finals MVP long before LeBron ever was. Miami was D-Wade’s city, before it was LeBron’s. Dwyane Wade is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time and arguably the third greatest shooting guard in NBA history and by sacrificing for his team and playing his role as the best side-kick in the NBA, Wade is just adding to his resume.

Wade’s patience, intelligence and unselfishness is something we need to appreciate and respect more. But what we need to stop doing immediately is disrespecting Dwyane Wade by celebrating and being surprised about a big performance he has every few games, he is not a “has been”, he is not “on the decline”, he is still a great basketball player! He is one of the best players in the world.

He is in a different stage in his career, don’t tell me Dwyane Wade still has it! Understand that Dwyane Wade never lost it.


1 Comment

  1. hey

    February 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm

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