Nick Wright discusses Dwyane Wade's arrival in Cleveland and what it could mean for LeBron and the Cavaliers organization.
- We also saw last year when LeBron rested, guys took it upon themselves. This is my moment to show the world. If it's Deron Williams, I still got it. If it's Kyrie Irving, it's that I can run things on my own.
- Without LeBron.
- And they failed. In those moments, the data shows they failed when LeBron was on the bench. And I'm not trying to make it sound as if Wade's only going to play when LeBron is on the bench. But I think he will particularly play in those spots.
And like, just think back to the 2015 Finals, the Finals when Kyrie was injured, Kevin Love was injured. How-- because people were like, ah, Wade is not the All-NBA guy once was. Fine.
- But what if Wade was getting Matthew Dellavedova's minutes? What if-- cause-- cause that's what we're talking about here. We're not talking about Dwyane Wade replacing an All-NBA shooting guard. It's Dwyane Wade bumps JR down the depth chart, which means Shumpert's bumped down the depth, which means Deron Williams-- who isn't on the team anymore-- is off the depth chart. And all of a sudden, you're not playing four minutes where a guy who shouldn't be on the court. Like that-- it's the butterfly effect of the whole thing as far as adding productive minutes throughout the 48 minutes of the game.
- And let's not forget what LeBron said. LeBron said, also, I mean, he's my best friend, but I don't want to play against him. Like, Dwayne Wade makes-- let's take all four teams in the West. Let's just create a hypothetical. OKC, he would help him. Golden State, he would help them. San Antonio, he would help them. Houston, he would help them.
Good players help any team. So that's what this is about. He's a good player. He's got championship DNA. So adding that to what they're already doing, it's like adding a familiar face that, you're going to have a bunch of storms, and LeBron is comfortable that D-Wade can help him battle those storms because we know in the NFL it's rocky-- I mean in the NBA. It's very, very rocky. But LeBron and D-Wade have been for the toughest times of LeBron's career together.
- And after what LeBron just went through with this whole ridiculously melodramatic Kyrie stuff--
- The kid.
- It's nice for LeBron to play with someone he likes, he respects--
- An adult.
- He knows isn't going to undercut him in any way. He knows it's his actual friend. There's a level of confidence there, and there's a level of trust there.
- And we know that come late January, early February every year, LeBron gets a little in his feelings, goes a little passive-aggressive, and can rub some teammates the wrong way. Long season, year 15, seven straight NBA Finals for LeBron. If there's anyone that can quell that storm a bit, D-Wade being like hey-- cause it's hard to be able to talk to LeBron on an even playing field.
- Yes. Even the coaches can't do that. D-Wade can. Now, I'm going to go real basketball nerdy just for a moment because I already know the analytics folks watching are saying, but what about the three-point shooting? We know LeBron is at his best with floor spacers. D-Wade has never been known as a three-point shooter. That is true. However, D-Wade is coming off the best year of his career as a three-point shooter. Going into last season, his whole career, the 13 years leading into last season, 28% on one and a half three again. Last year, 31% on two and a half threes per game.
If he ups that just three percentage points to 34%, then you're a competent three-point shooter. And what we do know is guys tend to shoot better when LeBron James is the one passing them the ball because he gets it in the exact right spot. And LeBron James is the one commanding the double team and all the defense's attention. So Dwayne Wade, if he can just be a competent three-point shooter, that adds to his value then.