THE LEGACY OF DWADE
So my favorite player retired from the NBA this year and I was thinking to myself, " What is Dwade's legacy". and where does he rank all-time.
Well, lets look at the beginning. Drafted in 2003 out of Marquette.. no one quite knew what kind of player Wade would be, Hell, I didn't know. But Pat Riley saw something.
Coached by Stan Van Gundy in his rookie campaign Wade started as a point guard on a Miami team full glue guys and borderline stars like Brian Grant, Rafer Alston and the likes of Lamar Odom and Caron Butlur. Many forget this team started out 0-7 but played 50% ball rest of year with Wade leading the way to a playoff berth. So already a as a rookie Wade lead his team to the playoffs with a first round victory and unforgettable clutch shot over Baron Davis. (Wade actually mentioned in a recent Knukleheads podcast with Darius Miles and Quetin Richardson, that Baron was the hardest assignment for him in his rookie year)
After that, with the addition of Shaq, the next two years Wade was arguably one the top two SG in the league..Winning a championship and Finals MVP. Just to to give you a snapshot of his stats during that run. He avg 25.5 ppg while averages 7 assists and shooting 48% from the field. For a third year player that is phenomenal when compared to other NBA greats.
Then the injuries started .. for the next two seasons Wade missed a total of 61 games. Not to be defeated and go down as young star that burned out, Wade came back in the 2008-09 season smelling blood. Fresh off training with legendary trainer, Tim Grover, who trained MJ for the bulk of his career. It actually started in the 2008 Olympics with the Redeem Team. While Kobe and Lebron got the headlines, Wade actually lead the team in scoring coming off the bench..Let that sink in a lil bit. This dude, fresh of injuries, was coming off the bench with the second unit housing!
When the 2008-09 season started Wade was eager to show the rest of world that he was an elite player in this league, maybe the it's best. Wade's 2008-09 season was up there as one of the best. He lead the league in scoring while shooting 49% from the field avg 8 assists and 5 boards. Thus, the first thing about Wade's legacy. At this time he could of easily settled for just being the man and stacking stats for the rest of his career but with two first round exits he put his ego to the side and decided to help a friends Legacy and in return help his own. This would change the game of basketball as Wade convinced two players who were stars and Lebron being arguably the best player in the league, but yet to win anything, join him and gain knowledge on how to win championships. Ask yourself how many players would do that and also how many guys would trust another player with their legacy. That's the type of player this guy is!guys..He's so good that he knew he could adapt his game to any situation. That takes a lot of confidence. That's less touches. Creating off the ball as opposed to on the ball, etc.
For the next four years Wade with Lebron and Bosh would go to 4 straight Finals winning two. During these runs Wade came up clutch in some pretty big games. For example in 2010 against the Bulls with the series 3-1..Chicago was ahead by 12 with about 3:00 to go..Wade enginerred a 19-4 run to help lead the Heat the Finals. Then in the Finals he was the clear cut MVP but lost to underrated Dallas Mavericks team.f Lebron steps up help to close out Dallas. back to back 40 plus games against Indiana. A classic performance against the Spurs in game 3 of the 2013 Finals to get Miami back in the series. But thats another story. I can go on about his heroics in the Lebron-Miami era but I think you get the picture.
After the Lebron Era Wade had to prove himself again. He was dealing with inuries during this period and was written off on most people's list. Leading some to think James Harden was the new king of the shooting guards. However, Wade lead the Heat back to the playoffs in 2015-16 with a Goran Dragic as the second best player and Bosh sidelined with blood clots. Wade had a classic series against the Hornets with the Purple shirt guy with the backpack in Charlotte. Wade shut him up with a couple of sick ass shots to close the game. However, the Heat would succomb to a better Toronto team in seven games with Wade being nothing less than spectacular. All the while clamping down Demar Derozen, one of the challengers for the king of 2guards.
For the next couple of years Wade would journey to the Windy City and Cleveland leaving signature games along the way likea surprising 2-0 lead over the Boston, who was the number one seed at the time.
Wade finally back to his city, with a renewed look on his career, lead his team back to the playoffs with clutch games against an up and coming Philadelphia team.
So here we are at "The Last Dance". Wade's last year to a storied career. It almost brings tears to my eyes to think about how cold this guy was. He didn't back down to nobody. Check his classic games against Kobe. Just to show his humbleness and confidence Wade elected to come off the bench this year. He didn't want to distract the new young guys growth. Ya know.. realizing what the vets taught him in his early years. Who does that? I think it speaks to the confidence in his game, knowing that, Hey, I know what I can do..let me help you become great.
I think Wade will go down as a top 15 player. He will be remembered as a player that helped a lot of players win when they needed it most. Like Shaq. His career was definitely was at a crossroads. Wade revived that. Lebron, Bosh..etc. Both were on the verge of being players that could not get over the hump.
A guy that was as clutch as they come. Being down 2-0 in the Finals. Coming through in pivotal games. In his prime, he was as dominant as MJ in the ways he could affect a game. Think Kawhi Leonard in this year's playoffs...that's how Dwade affected games as a 6'4 shooting guard.
If I had to choose a word to describe Wade's career and Legacy it would be "GLADIATOR"