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Why the Demise of D Wade has Been Highly Exaggerated

Dwyane Wade game 1 RaptosWhen the 2013-14 season came to an end, the HEAT organization had some decisions to be made. Their priority was re-signing LeBron James to an extended contract. Riley signed Dwyane Wade to a 2-year deal with Wade taking less money than he probably would’ve gotten with the expectation was that this would leave room to sign James to a deal he wanted. When signing James failed, there seemed to be some panic as Pat Riley scrambled to figure out a roster that would allow the team to be competitive for the 2014-15 season.

Unfortunately for the HEAT, the season left so much to be desired. Wade struggled with injury, and Bosh also was lost for most of the year to serious injury. The HEAT missed the playoffs after going to the NBA Finals the year before, and the whispers about Wade’s time in the NBA being up started becoming louder. Many questioned his ability to make an impact on the team and also questioned if maybe it was time for Wade to consider retirement. Did Dwyane Wade have enough left in his legs to be a contributor to a successful season?

Early in the 2015-16 season, Wade was actually getting a fair amount of rest. He even joked in the locker room after a game that he never thought he would be so happy to be limited to averaging 28 minutes per game. The HEAT certainly weren’t the best team in the Eastern Conference, but they were doing enough to stay relevant.

Letting Wade rest as much as possible may have saved the HEAT’s season once the team realized Chris Bosh would be lost for yet another year. After Bosh went down, the team unified and finished out the Bosh-less games with a 19-10 recording, securing the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Wade finished the regular season averaging 19 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Those numbers don’t sound like that of an NBA player who is past his prime. Indeed, it’s not the Wade of 2006 but certainly nothing to scoff at.

As we fast forward to round 1 of the playoffs, game 6 against the Hornets was the HEAT’s game 7 to use the words of forward Luol Deng. The HEAT were down 3-2 to the Hornets, and it was either beat the Hornets in Charlotte or the season was over. Keep in mind, this was a Hornets team that finished the regular season with a strong home record.

It was none other than Wade who stepped up late in the 4th quarter to hit two clutch 3-pointers to help his team secure the victory and carry the series to a game 7. Wade hadn’t even hit a 3 since late in December either. Again, Wade’s heroics weren’t the act of a man whose years in the NBA were coming to a close but more of those of a true superstar who puts his team on his back.

The HEAT now have to face the Raptors in round 2 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which means they start in Toronto. Home court is no longer an advantage for them, yet again there were late game heroics from Wade to help secure the game 1 in OT. He finished the game 2nd in the team in scoring with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. There is no reasonable way that anyone can still keep the demise of Wade as an NBA superstar in conversation any longer.

The HEAT now face the real possibility of returning to the Eastern Conference Finals after missing the playoffs altogether a season before under the leadership of Wade. True that this isn’t “The Flash” Wade, but he’s still clutch and gets the job done when needed. It will be interesting to see what kind of terms the HEAT organization and Wade can come to once free agency begins.



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