After a down year Dwyane Wade has rediscovered the explosiveness that had been his calling card in the NBA.
For the third time in his career Shawn Marion averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. In the past 20 years only two other players have reached those marks in one season: Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.
Record: 15-67 (15th in East) Points scored: 91.4 (30th in NBA) Points allowed: 100.0 (14th)
Good health and a gold medal have given the star a boost -- but he doesn't have a lot of help
Any doubts Erik Spoelstra had about Dwyane Wade's recovery from thelingering left knee problems that forced him to miss the final 21 gameslast season were allayed in May, when the Heat's new coach traveled to theChicago gym where Wade was rehabbing under the supervision of renowned athletictrainer Tim Grover. It was barely 10 a.m., and Wade was already drenched."He had to have been there for about an hour and a half," recalls Spoelstra."Without even talking to him, I could tell by the sweat and the look in his eyethat he was going to have a great summer."
Spoelstra was right. Wade emerged from Grover's withering, five-times-weeklyregimen with a renewed explosiveness that was on full display at the Olympics inBeijing, where he led Team USA in scoring (16.0 points per game) and won thegold medal that had eluded him four years earlier.
And while his first gold does not quite compare with his first NBAchampionship, in 2006 ("I'm just happy I'm one of the players who has both," hesays), both required a singular focus that Wade believes Miami will have toadopt to rebound from a franchise-worst 15-67 record. He'll try to spur thatturnaround with two rookies in the lineup and no center to speak of after theteam dealt Shaquille O'Neal. Says Spoelstra, "Attacking off the dribble early inthe clock and playing a real high-energy pick-and-roll and drive-and-kick gamewill take a lot more work than it did just throwing the ball into the post." ForWade, hard work is no obstacle. But the Heat's shortcomings are sure to keepSpoelstra in a lather. -- Andrew Lawrence
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