Recovering from losing the best player in the NBA isn’t easy, but early this season the Miami Heat have faired pretty well.
They’re fourth in the East at 5-3, and have found ways to work around LeBron James’ departure from Miami this summer.
Though Chris Bosh has been pegged as the new star of the team, Dwyane Wade has thrived returning to his old role as the primary playmaker for the Heat.
In an interview with Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald, Wade revealed the primary reason he’s so happy this season:
“I got the ball in my hands,” Wade said.
Wade enjoyed his time with James, and certainly didn’t want it to end, but playing alongside his friend was never the easiest of things individually.
“It’s my job to put pressure on the defence and try to make plays for the other guys.”
“It makes me feel good that the other guys are feeling good about themselves by me drawing two guys, kicking it to them and them hitting shots and getting into that rhythm and flow.”
So far this season, Wade is averaging 19.8 points on 50.8% shooting with 6.4 assists in 32 minutes per game, a new career-low. However, his per-36-minutes numbers show he’s averaging 22 points and seven assists per game, his highest scoring average in two years and his highest assist average in eight year.
Similarly, Wade’s usage has gone up. Usage percentage calculates the amount of possessions a player uses, weighing field goal attempts, free throws, assists, and turnovers. Wade’s usage rate this season is 30%, his most since the 2011-12 season. During the Big 3 era in Miami, Wade’s usage rate dropped each year as LeBron became the primary offensive force.
This season, the Heat are sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency, and they’re second in the league in assist percentage, which measures the number of assisted field goals a team scores. The team’s pass-happy offence has allowed them to overcome missing James’ incredible playmaking abilities.
Wade’s resurgence as a primary offensive option for the Heat has not only helped them continue to be a strong playoff team in the East, it’s reminded everyone that he’s still one of the best players in the NBA.
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