- Dwyane Wade is no different than Kobe Bryant in terms of great players who don’t age gracefully because they don’t know how to adjust to being role players.
In the latest Open Floor Podcast, Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp discussed Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose's fits on the Cavaliers roster and how Wade must be willing to transition into a role player to be successful.
(This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Ben Golliver: My general Wade take with regard to the top 100 just briefly, the vacuum test is what put him in the 70's because we said hey if you put him in the right situation surrounded by talent maybe putting him in a sixth man role—don't make him try to do everything, don't play him alongside a guy like Rondo, he's going to look better than he did in Chicago last year. Yes, he slipped, yes the finishing is not there, yes the three point shooting is definitely a question mark.
The biggest issue with Dwyane Wade's game right now is his defense awareness, consistency of effort and just desire to run back, those are the things that are going to potentially hold him back if and when they are in the Finals against Golden State. But still this guy is a scorer, he can play make for others a little but, he can handle, he's not who he was not even two years, ago, he's still a good player.
The bigger thing in terms of the fit with Derrick Rose, a lot of the things that were concerns in Chicago absolutely apply to what's going to happen in Cleveland. When those guys play together, both of them is going to be lagging back on defense, both of them are going to be trying to too much on offense, both of them are going to be cramping your spacing, they are really going to be tough to play together.
Andrew Sharp: And to that point, I think the solution is ultimately going to be that Derrick Rose is going to play ten minutes a game and play the role that Deron Williams played toward the end of last year. Where he's on the team but I don't know if he's really in the mix and I think that is where the Cavs would really be the healthiest.
BG: I think the bigger issue is Wade. Because I think ultimately when it is time to play the Warriors or in the Eastern Conference Finals, he shouldn't be a part of your starting unit, he should be coming off the bench and that will be a tricky question.
If we are talking ego questions, Derrick Rose, he's had some real issues with reality in the past but I think he's going to understand on this team that he's not a major cog especially once Isaiah Thomas comes back. Wade has been a full-time starter his whole career. He just made $40 million in salary and buyout money to play 60 games for Chicago.
AS: One of the great swindles in NBA history is what Dwyane Wade just did to the Chicago Bulls.
BG: (Laughs) That is going to be an interesting transition. Does he understand that a guy like Jae Crowder can definitely help a lot more than Dwyane Wade in a playoff series against Golden State. How long will it take for him to get that? Will he push back against it? Will there be friction?
AS: Here is how I come down on Wade and I think you are right. With both Wade and Rose to a lesser degree, although he is fully washed at this point, but Wade and Melo it's tricky with those guys because to be on the level that they were on for so long it takes like a supreme almost pathological confidence in yourself and that's what made Wade great.
He never had any fear of failure, he believed he was going to succeed and most of the times he was right. Same with Carmelo, although to a lesser degree but the thing is they just can't turn that off. Wade is no different than Kobe in that respect. Most great players don't age gracefully because they just don't know how to adjust and be that role player. Iverson is another example. Tracy McGrady is a guy who couldn't do it.
BG: If LeBron could extend guys like Richard Jefferson and Kyle Korver, once Isaiah comes back wouldn't you agree with me that this is the ideal situation for Dwayne Wade because LeBron is basically a shooter, Isaiah is definitely a shooter, they are both playmakers, isn't wade going to be feasting on opportunities as an overqualified fourth guy?
AS: Well you didn't let me finish. The second half of my monologue here, is basically I understand why people want to take shots at Dwyane Wade. He's definitely lost a a step, probably two steps, he was awful in Chicago last year. I also don't think he is that bad the way that some of the hashtag smart basketball writers make him sound sometimes. I think he still has enough left to give you five or ten really good games in the regular season and I think he could possibly swing a handful of playoff games. When you take a look at it, that is what basically Kyrie did in Cleveland.
BG: Ugh come on dude.
AS: No I am dead serious.
BG: He's not going to be Kyrie dude, come on.
AS: I'm not saying he's going to be Kyrie but Kyrie's value to Cleveland was a specific skill that became really useful in the playoffs in that he could manufacture offense in the half-court at the end of playoff games, Wade could do that too.
BG: Nah he can't do that on Kyrie's level there's no way I'm sorry. I hear what you are saying but he can probably do a very poor man's version of that but still I can't see that comparison
AS: I am not saying he's going to come out and be 27-year old Kyrie and give them that same level of production but the idea that he can't help them at all because he doesn't shoot three's. What Kyrie did well in the playoffs was not about shooting three's he was just able to manufacture buckets when Cleveland needed them particularly against the Warriors.
I'm not convinced that version of Wade is completely gone. Even in Miami 18 months ago he was still coming up with huge playoff games. This is what he has been doing his entire career and I think he's going to have some moments in Cleveland where he is not going to look as washed as people assume he is.
Listen to the entire podcast here.