It's no secret that Dwyane Wade struggled to deal with injuries all year long this past season. Yet, the Miami Heat were still able to win it all, thanks in large part to LeBron James's dominance and a solid showing from multiple role players.
Although Wade definitely did his part during the title run, it was clear that he was far from 100 percent not only in the NBA Finals, but also throughout the entire playoffs.
As Wade ages and becomes somewhat of a veteran in the league, it's more important than ever that he stays healthy and keeps himself on the court.
He may not be the best player on the team anymore, but the Heat are at their best when he's out on the floor making plays alongside his his fellow superstar friends.
Here's how he can ensure that happens this year.
In the two years during the Big Three's era, the Heat have yet to finish as the first seed. Yet, both years they've managed to reach the NBA Finals.
Clearly, the Heat do not need to be the first seed to have success in the postseason.
Although the East has become extremely deeper this summer, this is not to say the formula has to change for the Heat.
We understand that Wade wants to be out on the floor competing with his teammates, game in and game out, like he used to when he was younger. But, he's got to ask himself the question, "What's more important? Playing in December or playing in July?"
With the help of Erik Spoelstra and encouragement from his teammates, whether Wade is feeling 100 percent or down in the dumps, he can't be afraid to take some games off in order to keep his body well-rested and primed to compete at a high level for as long as possible.
With the acquisitions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis and a, hopefully, healthy Mike Miller all season long, Wade will be looked upon to play a lot more point guard for the Miami Heat this year. This could prove to be a major positive for the team moving forward.
Wade has always had the speed of a point guard and is undersized for the shooting guard position. By moving him to the point, he'll be able to make a lot more executive decisions on the court, while keeping opposing defenses on their toes as he brings the ball up the court and threatens to score at any moment.
How would this benefit Wade individually? Well, he'll often times have an easier matchup than if he was guarding the other team's best scorer the whole game. Needless to say, there isn't too much physical play amidst point guard matchups.
At this point in his career, the less contact the better, as he tries to prolong what has already been a successful campaign in the NBA.
Aside from Tim Duncan, Wade arguably uses the backboard more than anybody in the NBA. In order to insure a healthy season in 2012-13, he has to utilize the bank shot even more.
How do these two things correlate? Well, often times when Wade drives past his defender he finds himself in the paint and face to chest with seven-footers. Naturally, he jumps into their chest and tries to draw the foul or slide by them in hopes of completing the play with a fantastic finish.
What many people don't realize is that after all his so-called "fantastic finishes" he lands not so fantastically on the ground and suffers accordingly.
The more Wade lands on two feet, the better off he'll be and why the bank shot will be more important than ever to him this season.
His free throws attempts per game may go down, but that's a small sacrifice to make in order to stay healthy throughout the season.
I know we all admire his slashing skills, and this is not to say he can't continue, but he's got to be smarter about it and realize his body can no longer handle such consistent abuse.
Again, this comes back to Dwyane Wade scoring more effectively for the Heat this season while also keeping his body out of harms way.
In the NBA, harms way is considered the paint, and the more you stay out of it, the less susceptible you are to injury.
Now, don't jump to conclusions and accuse me of saying Wade needs to become strictly a jump shooter and play scared. Simply understand that the better shooter you are, the harder it is to guard you. With Wade's speed, defenders are rarely face-to-face trying to guard him.
If Wade improves as a three-point shooter, he won't have to rely solely on slashing to the rim to put up points for his team. Not only this, but defenders will also be forced to play closer to him, making it easier for him to find a path to the basket.
This is one of the more important adjustments Wade must make as he becomes older. He's got to become a better shooter because with an increase in age comes a decrease in athleticism, yet that doesn't mean one's skill set can't continue to evolve.
In reality, Dwyane Wade should be the third option for the Heat but not because he's a horrible player or because his numbers fell last season.
For starters, there's no better player in the league than LeBron James right now. No need to address why he's Miami's No. 1 option. You may wonder why Chris Bosh should get more touches than Wade this season.
Just in cased you missed it, Bosh proved how important he was to this team when he was forced to sit out some imperative playoff games. Although Wade and James managed to keep hope alive while he was out, it's no secret that the Heat are a better team with Bosh on the court.
The Heat have got to establish a consistent inside presence. It makes things easier on both Wade and Bosh. So, it only makes sense that Bosh get more touches than Wade, especially when Miami matches up with teams like the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics; they want Bosh to take it at the bigs on those teams.
Let Wade distribute the ball early and often, you know he will get his eventually because the minute a defense forgets about him is when he'll go off for 40.
With Wade distributing and finding the open man whether it be James, Bosh, Allen, Battier, etc., a lot of daily grind and pressure will be lifted off his shoulders and he will positively benefit from it as the season wears on. Guaranteed or your money back.