Miami Heat: 8 Ways Dwyane Wade Can Silence His Critics
Wade has certainly lived up to the expectations that come with being the fifth player taken in the NBA draft.
Over the span of his nine-year career, Wade has averaged 25.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. He has been the face of the Miami Heat since they selected him, and he led them to the 2006 NBA championship alongside Shaquille O'Neal.
However, there are still a few areas in Wade's game that could be improved as he continues his career.
He is not a good three-point shooter by any definition, as he has connected on just 29.1 percent of the threes he has attempted throughout his career.
His free-throw shooting, although decent at 77 percent, should also be better, since Wade is one of the best scorers in the world.
Wade has a chance to silence his critics before he retires, and here are a few ways that he can do so.
Beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and Win This Year's NBA Title
The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are in the middle of an intense, entertaining NBA Finals.
In order to win, the Heat will need to play great games and will be looking to Wade as a major source of their production.
Thus far in the series, Wade is averaging 22.6 points, 6.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds and one steal per game. He has put his teammates, like Shane Battier, in positions that give them the best chance to succeed.
Even if Wade has an off night scoring the basketball, he is still a major asset for the Heat because he is able to facilitate and create for his teammates.
It could be argued that Wade is the most important player on the Heat, and they will need at least a couple more great performances out of him if they are to overcome the young and talented Thunder.
A title this year would take a lot of the pressure off of the Big Three. It was not so long ago that they celebrated all of the NBA titles that they assumed they would win.
They still have time to win quite a few rings, but to do so they may need to win this season. A lot of the burden rests on Wade's shoulders, and it will be interesting to see if he is able to deliver a second title to Miami.
Win Another Finals MVP
Dwyane Wade had one of the best individual performances during an entire NBA Finals in 2006 when his Miami Heat subdued the Dallas Mavericks in six games.
In that series, Wade averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 assists, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Not to mention that Wade literally carried the Heat through that series on his back in one of the most exhilarating comebacks in NBA history.
For his work, Wade was deservedly awarded with the Finals MVP award, thus crowning him the best player on the best team, which is quite an honor.
It is unlikely that Wade will win this year's Finals MVP award because his teammate, LeBron James, is playing at an exceptionally high level and will surely win the award if the Heat win the series.
However, there is no reason to believe that the Heat won't find themselves in the finals at least a few more times.
A second Finals MVP would tie Wade with Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird, which isn't exactly bad company.
Being selected as the best player on the best team while competing at the absolute highest level is a remarkable achievement. If Wade is able to do this twice, then his critics will certainly become less harsh.
Improve His Three-Point Shooting
Dwyane Wade is not a good three-point shooter, as he has shot just 29.1 percent from beyond the arc in his career.
He is excellent at getting to the basket and has a superhuman ability to get great looks in traffic once he gets to the hoop.
If Wade is able to become a more consistent threat from three, then the man covering him would have to take a step closer to Wade. This would make it easier for him to drive past his opponent and would force opponents to pick their poison in regards to guarding him.
Wade is already one of the best scorers in the league, but if he could shoot the three more effectively he would be an absolute nightmare to slow down. He would arguably become the most versatile scorer in the league and would be praised by his critics for improving his game this far into his career.
Be Selected to the NBA Defensive First Team
Dwyane Wade has been voted onto the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times in his career, with the most recent selection coming in 2010.
Wade's tremendous leaping ability makes him a threat to block anyone's shot, no matter their size. He is 6'4" but plays a lot bigger on the defensive end of the court.
He is the only guard in the history of the NBA to average over a block per contest, which says something about his defensive abilities.
Wade's offensive abilities often overshadow how dominant he can be on the defensive end. It is no coincidence that the Miami Heat have one of the best defenses despite the lack of a dominant big man.
Both Wade and LeBron James play world-class defense every night, and that is what wins championships in the NBA.
It may be difficult for Wade to get selected due to the intense competition that is present at the moment. He will have to outperform players like Kobe Bryant and defensive experts Tony Allen and Thabo Sefolosha in order to get chosen, which won't be an easy task.
If Wade gets chosen to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, then maybe his defensive abilities will get the recognition that is deserved.
Become a Better Closer
Why this made waves is unclear because Bosh was just stating what everyone believes: Wade is the Heat's best closer.
The team's best player, LeBron James, has been criticized his entire career for the decisions that he makes late in games. James is often bashed unfairly, as he did hit a game-winning shot against the Orlando Magic at the end of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals and is the best player in the world.
That being said, Wade is much more of a cold-blooded killer than LeBron and is the obvious choice to take over late in games.
He did miss a potential game-winning three-pointer in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, but the Heat should not hesitate to give him the ball again with the game on the line.
Clutch shots in big moments define careers. Hopefully the next time that Wade's number is called in the final seconds, he will be ready to add a new highlight moment to his career.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of the most popular NBA players of all time, and their ability to make clutch shots late in games is a big part of their legacies.
Manage to Stay Healthy for the Entirety of Next Season
Dwyane Wade has struggled with injuries this season, as he missed 10 regular-season starts due to an assortment of ailments.
That being said, the condensed schedule caused many injuries across the league due to the high frequency of games in a short period of time.
He also missed a significant portion of two seasons due to a serious shoulder injury that occurred in 2007. At the end of the 2008 season, Wade was suffering from knee troubles as well and was shut down for 21 games.
Those injuries are a thing of the past, but his health is always something to worry about going forward.
If he is able to stay healthy, then he will be productive, which in turn should silence all those who are critical of Wade.
The Olympics are calling this summer, but if Wade isn't feeling 100 percent, then he should stay home and get ready for next season.
Win the MVP Award
For the better part of a decade, Dwyane Wade has been one of the best players in the league, but he has been unable to win a regular-season MVP award.
During the 2008-2009 season, Wade won the scoring title by averaging 30.2 points per game. In the voting for MVP that season, Wade finished behind current teammate LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Unfortunately for Wade, he plays on the same team as James, who has won three MVP awards.
It will be very difficult for Wade to put up the necessary stats to vie for the award because he shares the court with the super-productive James.
If he is able to win an MVP award, it would be nothing short of remarkable. Due to his current situation, this may be the hardest thing for Wade to achieve.
The NBA is full of superstars that will be competing for the MVP award every season, and the majority of those stars are younger than Wade as well.
Win a Few More Titles
When the Big Three came together in the summer of 2010, they promised a plethora of titles. And why wouldn't they guarantee glory?
They had two of the best five players in the world on their team along with another top-20 player. The future appeared to be bright and still is for the Miami Heat, but they are still chasing their first championship as a group.
They failed to bring a title to South Beach in their first season, but are close to bringing home this year's championship.
Winning usually rights all the wrongs, but for the trio of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to be considered successful, they will need to win more than just one NBA title.
If Wade finishes his career with four or five rings, then his career will be considered a complete success.
Now he just has to win another few rings.