You can see in this chart how Wade went from a mediocre superstar, to a decent one midway through the San Antonio series. Before the Spurs series, Wade scored less than ten points as many times as he had scored more than 20 points. And while Wade only scored 17, 10, and 16 points in the first three games of the NBA Finals, respectively, in the next four games of the Finals, Wade scored 32, 25, 14, and 23 points, with decent rebounding and assist numbers.
The reason for Wade’s demise were his knees. As a 31 year old with a physical style of play, he was going to have issues with his body as he aged. (For example, regardless of whether he’s flopping or not, how often do you see Wade hitting the floor? 5 times a game? 6? Multiply that by the number of games in a season, and the number of seasons he has played, and you can semi-quantify the amount of wear and tear on his body.)
Champagne cures knee injuries right?
Wade had three bone bruises on his right knee, which he received platelet-rich plasma therapy for in the regular season. While two of the bone bruises healed, the third bruise was located right underneath his kneecap, causing aggravation and pain every time he jumped for the ball, or took a shot. On top of the fact that the bruise didn’t heal, Wade was also affected by the fact that he suffered tendinitis in his right knee too.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, in Game 6 of the Finals, he collided with Manu Ginobili and injured his left knee, which swelled “like a coconut”.
How bad were these knee injuries for Dwyane Wade? He said it was the second-worst pain he’s ever had to deal with, only bested (worsted?) by the dislocated shoulder he suffered in 2007 when he collided with Shane Battier.
While Dwyane Wade supporters will point to his knee problems as the reason for his lack of production for a large chunk of the playoffs, and that once healthy, Wade will continue with his All-Star level production. Dwyane Wade critics will say that the knee problems he suffered are only the tip of the iceberg for the physical degradation coming Wade’s way, and that even before Wade’s knee injuries, he had lost a step (or four).
Whatever the future holds for Dwyane Wade, he had this to say about his third NBA championship:
“”Because of the way my career has gone and the things I’ve dealt with personally, I wanted this third one. In my mind, it validates the player I’ve become in this league. When you change your position, going from being talked about as one of the three best players in this game to people questioning your ability, I needed this one to validate that what I did was the right thing. I can be at peace with anything going forward.”