Miami Heat: Assessing Wade's Best Methods of Scoring Thus Far
From an observational standpoint, Dwyane Wade really puts the "shooting" in shooting guard. He has averaged 24.9 points per game for his career, all on 48.7 percent shooting. His efficiency, both offensively and defensively, has kept his name consistent in terms of accolades and awards, but his role has been different the last few years.
Since the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade has been forced to alter his game and find other ways of scoring. His possessions have dropped as expected, however his efficiency has sky-rocketed. Let's break down how Wade has scored the ball thus far.
Isolation: 15.9 percent usage, 32-of-98 field goals, 32.7 percent shooting.
Isolation play has been one of Wade's specialities in the past. His array of ball-handling tricks, combined with pull-up jumpers or drives to the rim, has made Flash an absolute nightmare single-coverage. His shooting percentage of 32.7 on isos isn't very high, considering his renown doing so. However, it could seemingly be attributed to Wade's even 40 percent shooting from mid-range.
Once Wade gets into the paint (58.7 percent), the opposing team is dealt the difficult task of trying to stop him. However if you've watched Wade this season, and in the past, he often pulls up or pump-fakes and creates contact, in an attempt to draw shooting fouls. The referees have been anything but lenient on these calls, which may be relative to his low percentage.
Spot-Up: 8.1 percent usage, 23-of-53 field goals, 43.4 percent shooting.
As evidenced by the aforementioned percentage, Wade is rarely used as a spot-up shooter in the offense. It has never been one of his strengths, as he prefers making his move inside and scoring from the paint. While you will recall Wade's 40 percent from mid-range, his accuracy as a stand-still jump shooter is above that.
The central factor elevating Wade's percentage is his spot-ups from the three-point line. His 5-of-12 shooting in these situations is stellar by his standards, at 41.7 percent. In addition, Wade is shooting 57 percent from the corner three. He is only 4-of-7 this season, but it is the shortest three to attempt. As Wade does not possess a great perimeter jumper, setting up for corner shots is the Heat's best bet over above-the-break threes where he is shooting just 26 percent.
Post-Up: 11.4 percent usage, 32-of-66 field goals, 48.5 percent shooting.
Wade has been a solid post-up threat for most of his career. He doesn't have an array of post moves at his disposal, but relies on a fade-away jumper and a floater over his right shoulder.
Considering the Heat post Wade just 11.4 percent of the time, he doesn't really need any other techniques to score. His 48.5 percent shooting is great for a 6'4" guard, and defenders have trouble containing his quickness on the low block.
Miami should play Wade more in this scenario as he, like LeBron James, draws double-teams and can kick out to the plethora of open shooters. Be it Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Shane Battier or any other Heat player with a jump shot, teams must pick their poison to take Wade single-coverage or allow open jump shots.
Pick & Roll Ball Handler
Pick and Roll: 27.4 percent usage, 76-of-147 field goals, 51.7 percent shooting.
Whether it's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat are devastating in the pick and roll. Either player has supreme talent to finish in the paint and at the rim, and also the required passing game to hit the screening player for an open shot or a drive to the basket.
Wade has been a master of dissecting the pick and roll for his entire career. Just as the trademark image of Jordan is flying through the air with this tongue out, Wade's snapshot would undoubtedly be him splitting the defense. His ability to handle the ball and simply slide through the two pick and roll defenders is second to none, and Wade does so with much ease.
This season, he's scored the majority of his points off the pick and roll, and efficiently at that. His seasonal shooting average of 50.8 is a career-high, and draws on this section of the offense. Almost a third of Wade's offense is run through this play, and should continue as such considering his effectiveness.
Cut: 11 percent usage, 46-of-69 field goals, 66.7 percent shooting.
This area is where Wade has made the biggest strides in terms of improvement. A cut is essentially driving to the paint without the ball, and receiving the pass to score en route. His high shooting percentage is derived from the close-range buckets Wade is scoring.
Thus far, Wade is 66 percent on field goals in the restricted area (149-of-226 field goals). A percentage would come from offensive rebounds or in transition, but almost a third are from Wade's cuts to the rim. The amount of times he catches a swift pass and finishes inside seems immeasurable, however the previously listed statistics would tell otherwise.
Wade played the majority of his career as the primary ball handler. Scoring and distributing were his duties offensively; roles that have changed somewhat since the arrival of LeBron James. It has been an adjustment, but his accurate conversion rate and his quickness off-ball makes this component on the offense deadly.
Transition: 14.7 percent usage, 59-of-85 field goals, 69.4 percent shooting.
This is an almost redundant slide to explain, as anyone with a sliver of basketball knowledge understands Wade's utter dominance in transition. His ability to run the floor, with or without the ball, and change direction keeps defenders rotating in an effort to keep an eye on him. Wade has the luxury of LeBron James as a teammate, and the duo on a fastbreak is almost unstoppable.
James is an even better 73.8 percent in transition, making 104-of-141 attempts so far. Two players that combine for a conversion rate of 72.1 percent on a fastbreak is completely overwhelming. While some credit is due to James for Wade's high percentage, it goes both ways.
The two All-Stars have synced up for numerous alley-oops and such, making them one of the best one-two punches in the league. It isn't a play the Heat can draw up, yet they certainly don't need to.
Dwyane Wade has been considered one of the better scorers in the league for almost a decade. His wide arsenal of dribble techniques, scoring maneuvers and intelligent play has kept that same regard this season.
While his 20.7 points per game average so far is a career-low, it has not hindered Wade's ability to be effective. Keeping in mind he shoots 50.8 percent, in 33.8 minutes (barely above last season's career-low 33.2), Wade is doing well.
His consistency may be erratic as of late, but the Miami Heat's all-time leading scorer is keeping defenders honest in a multitude of ways. The only knock on his game could be the lack of a three-point shot, yet with his varied attack across the board, it isn't entirely necessary either.
All statistics sourced from nba.com/stats and Synergy Sports Technology.
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