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Dwyane Wade has officially become LeBron's sidekick.
Only one thing has been more shocking than Williams' ordinary play in Brooklyn: Dwyane Wade as a role player.
Wade was the anchor that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat, but months of lineup shuffling have rendered him obsolete as a bona fide star.
When this "Big Three" came together, Bosh became the odd man out. With two of the best five wings in the world taking turns running the show, the big man moved away from the basket to open the lane. His field goal attempts and rebounding chances both dropped, and he put up some of his worst stats on the best team he had ever played for.
Against the Indiana Pacers in the 2012 playoffs, Bosh got hurt, and the Heat got creative as LeBron moved to power forward. That allowed him to exploit his supreme athleticism in higher-percentage areas, while also getting better angles to kick the ball to Miami's plethora of three-point shooters. James went on a historic playoff run and the Heat took home the title, with an assist from Bosh's injury.
So it seems like a surprise that Bosh is the second option now, but it actually makes sense. Bosh never got worse; he was simply marginalized by Miami's scheme. In light of LeBron's success at power forward, Bosh moved up to center, putting him closer to the basket again while preserving spacing on the floor.
Bosh's 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds are not quite improvements on his recent numbers, but he's shooting .540 from the field. That is easily a career high for him, proof of his productivity when the situation calls for it.
What does that mean for Wade? Higher efficiency, but lower output.
Wade is still the team's second-leading scorer with 19.8 per game, and his .504 field goal percentage is his best by a few ticks. However, unlike Bosh, Wade's economy comes with a much steeper drop from his lifetime numbers.
He has averaged 25.0 points per game for his career, along with 6.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds. All of those numbers are down noticeably this season.
The fact is, the best complement to James' and Bosh's post game is another spot-up shooter. It would allow them more freedom inside without having to set aside touches for Wade, who is mediocre from beyond the arc.
Like Bosh before him, Wade still has the skills to be a superstar. Right now, though, his own team is robbing him of the chance to be one.