There has been a great deal of talk about Dwyane Wade’s decline as an elite-level NBA player. Those talks are extremely premature.
Especially after he just produced one of the best statistical seasons for a guard in recent memory, averaging 21 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 5.1 APG, along with 2 SPG and 1 BPG, all while shooting 52% from the field, and did it all on a bum knee.
Sure, he’s not the Dwyane Wade we saw in 2011, when he averaged 25.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 4.6 APG and was the Heat’s best player in the 2011 Finals. But there are reasons for that “decline”, if you will.
First, there’s obviously the bad knee. Wade has dealt with problems in both knees over the last two seasons, and that had severely hindered his game at times. He lacks the burst and explosion that we have come to expect of him. However, in the games that the Heat need him the most, he has found a way to produce.
Secondly, there was the emergence of LeBron James. While he was an amazing talent in Cleveland, LeBron has become a different animal in Miami. That has caused Wade to change his game a bit and take a back seat at times, which limits his impact. Wade has been forced to learn how to pick his spots and not force the action as much, which can be evidenced by his extremely high field goal percentage.
Wade, to his own acknowledgement, is not a great jump shooter, which can limit his game at times as well, especially when he lacks the explosion that makes his game so unique. Being able to rely on a jump shot from time to time, would help him tremendously.
While Wade has shown signs of slowing down, to say that he is no longer elite is far from the truth. If his knee is finally healthy, look for him to prove that himself in the 2013-2014 season.