While you routinely hear criticism of LeBron James, it’s not every day that you hear criticism of Dwyane Wade. While this is absolutely ridiculous given the level of vast superiority James holds over Wade on the court, it’s true.
It’s even more rare that you hear a Heat Beat Reporter be publicly critical of Wade. Well, this morning on Mike & Mike via ESPN Radio, “ESPN Heat Index” writer Brian Windhorst was asked about the possibility of the Heat breaking up the “Big 3″ should they fail to win a title.
Windhorst stated that it’s actually very likely that they would break up the team for several reasons. First, and less interesting, but no less relevant is the new CBA which makes it very difficult for franchises to keep teams like the Heat together in the long run.
In short, the luxury tax makes it very expensive, they have less flexibility in terms of trades they’re even allowed to make regardless of the the financial aspect & they are severely limited in their ability to bring in supplemental pieces via free agency.
He is speculating, and held this belief before the season began, that due to the expense & long term inflexibility, that the Heat will break up the trio after this season without a title.
The second reason, which I’ve been screaming about for months if not longer, is related to the first, but adds another element. In addition to the CBA issues, it seems pretty clear that Wade & James don’t compliment each other that well. For that reason, the team would be better off moving one of them.
It’s unlikely they’d trade the MVP who is clearly the more complete, gifted, younger & more durable player. That leaves Wade. Windhorst believes, and he stated that this has been echoed by several front office members in the NBA, that Wade is clearly “on the downside of his career”.
He was very careful to point out that he’s not trying to insult Wade & that he’s still a great player, but he almost has to in order to maintain his relationship & access to the team.
He also went on to say that you see Wade whining & begging for whistles because he needs those calls. Windhorst believes he’s lost the explosiveness he once had which his game was predicated on.
I couldn’t agree more & have said for quite a while that when Wade doesn’t get preferable calls sending him to the line an inordinate amount he struggles to score. His jumper just isn’t consistent enough & to me, he’s regressed into driving into traffic & throwing himself into people in an attempt to create contact & draw a whistle.
Wade supporters will point to the injury rumors floated this morning by ESPN which I happened to predict, but it’s a bit funny that those “lingering injuries” weren’t a factor when he was getting to the line & scoring points in games 1 & 2.
Bottom line, you don’t have to take my word for it that Wade is no longer the player that fans & media perceive him to be. A Heat reporter & apparently several NBA GMs believe his best days are behind him. His coup to obtain LeBron James may not end up the way he planned, but it certainly appears to be exposing Wade as a far inferior player to James.
At a minimum, he’s unable to flourish alongside of James because of styles. Some will blame Spoelstra which is a joke. “Spo” isn’t the reason Bosh is out & Wade can’t score without assistance from officials. Spo isn’t the reason Mike Miller & Shane Battier can’t hit a shot.
LeBron will take his share of the blame if they don’t advance, let alone win a title. And Spoelstra may well be fired, but neither are fair. Two people are most at blame for this & they are the two people who never get criticized.
Wade is to blame because he’s unable to perform & he’s looking more like Mo Williams than Scottie Pippen. And Pat Riley is to blame for grossly overestimating the potential of this team & their ability to get synergy out of two players with nearly identical skill sets.
It won’t happen, but if Riley, LeBron, and the Heat want to salvage this experiment, they need to trade Wade while his perceived value is still well above reality.