For the Miami Heat, this off-season marked the end of the Dwyane Wade era.
If you look down the list of career statistical leaders for the Miami Heat franchise you’ll see Dwyane Wade’s name quite often. He is the career leader in games (855), minutes (30,560), field goals (7,325), free throws (5,185), assists (4,944), steals (1,414, and points (20,221) for the Heat.
Drafted fifth overall back in 2003, Wade was the backbone of the Heat for over a decade, averaging 23.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 35.7 minutes per game.
Perhaps the most significant accomplishment for Wade was his NBA Finals victory over the Dallas Mavericks 2006. After going down 2-0 to Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks, Wade clawed his team back, scoring 39.3 points per game over the next four games (Miami winning all of them) to help his team claim a championship.
The arrival of the rest of the big three, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, forced Wade to make room for other superstars. He willingly played second fiddle to LeBron and was rewarded with two more rings for his collection.
Wade was one of the “Jazz killers”. In 22 career games played against Utah he averaged 27.1 points, the fourth most of any player behind Allen Iverson (27.8), LeBron James (29.3) and this one random guy named Michael Jordan (32.7). And it wasn’t just points D-Wade collected against the Jazz. Wade averaged five rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game against the Jazz as well.
Nowadays the Heat look much different. No LeBron, no D-Wade, even Chris Bosh is no longer a major part of the team with his medical issues. The new big three in South Beach consists of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and the young Justise Winslow.
Miami’s setup isn’t all that bad despite their 2-5 start to the season. Whiteside is one of the best centers in the league. He is currently first among centers in rebounds per game (14.7), blocks per game (2.6) and fifth in points per game (17.9). With him, Dragic, Winslow and other wings like Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson the Heat have talent. They just haven’t managed to mesh yet. Perhaps losing the leadership of Dwyane Wade has something to do with that.