May 13, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) slam dunks against the Chicago Bulls during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the United Center. The Heat beat the Bulls 88-65. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Heat Need Dwyane Wade?

Dwyane Wade hasn’t played well recently.  And part of his struggles have to do with the fact that he’s injured.  If Dwyane Wade misses significant amounts of time with injury, will the Heat miss him?  In other words, do the Heat need Dwyane Wade?

According to NBA Stats, in the playoffs, the Miami Heat score 109.4 points per 100 possessions when Dwyane Wade is on the floor.  How many points do the Miami Heat score when Dwyane Wade is on the bench?

109.5 points per 100 possessions.

So the Miami Heat’s offensive output is basically the same when Dwyane Wade is playing and when he’s not.  This is probably because Dwyane Wade has been a non-factor in most of the games he’s played in the post-season.  He’s currently averaging 12.3 points and 11.7 field goal attempts — not surprisingly, he’s shooting only 43.9%.

While the Miami Heat’s defense gives up about five points more per 100 possessions when Wade is sitting on the bench than when he’s playing.  However, I doubt that the Miami Heat’s defense is better because of Dwyane Wade.  The fact is that Miami’s defense is probably better in spite of Dwyane Wade.  Think about it — if he’s hobbled so much by his knee injury that he’s only been averaging 12 points per game in the playoffs do you really think he’s playing shut down defense?

If Dwyane Wade sits, Ray Allen will probably take his place at shooting guard.  Ray Allen has been playing well in the playoffs, averaging 13.1 points per game in only 26 minutes of play (basically he’s scoring a little bit more than Dwyane Wade while playing six minutes less).  Not only that, Ray Allen has been his usual efficient self from three point range averaging nearly 40% on three pointers.  Furthermore, when Ray Allen plays, the Miami Heat have scored 115 points per 100 possessions during the playoffs, nearly six points more than when Dwyane Wade plays.

So maybe Dwyane Wade isn’t that essential to the Miami Heat.  Maybe, in a way, Dwyane Wade’s slump is a blessing in disguise.  If he sits, he can rest and recuperate (and maybe even get his shot back).  And for the Heat, Dwyane Wade has simply not been effective offensively — while his potential replacement, Ray Allen, has.  Thus, both Wade and the Heat would benefit from Wade sitting out Game 5.

Jae Bradley covers the Miami Heat for You can follow him @jaebradley.  

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