Have We Seen the Last of Dwyane Wade as an NBA Superstar?

Brendan Bowers@@BowersCLEContributor IIMay 23, 2013

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat's Dwyane WadeMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade may not be the same player he was in 2006, but he is undoubtedly still an NBA superstar. 

The primary difference being now, for the 31-year-old shooting guard, is that he is no longer as good for as long. Meaning, Wade must create or capitalize on downtime during a season or series that he didn't need to stay fresh five years ago. 

But when he is rested—which is more often than he's not—Wade has continued to perform like a superstar. 

As he has during the 2013 postseason, Wade has consistently stepped up when his team needed him to.

The career-high percentage he shot from the field in 2012-13 also appears to be a trend that will continue.

Despite the toll that age and injuries have taken on his uber-explosive leaping ability, Wade has managed to improve his efficiency on shots at the rim this season as well. 

Coupled with the superstar mentality he's demonstrated throughout his career, we have most certainly not seen the last of Wade as a superstar.


Wade has delivered when needed during the postseason

On this particular play, against the Milwaukee Bucks during the opening round of the 2013 playoffs, Wade came out of nowhere to channel his inner-Flash on the explosive put-back.

But even though we don't see this type of explosion from Wade as often as we used to, he is still delivering during the postseason when needed.

In the nine games that Wade has appeared during the playoffs through Wednesday, the Miami Heat are 8-1. Despite averaging only 13.7 points along the way overall, Wade averaged 18.5 points in Games No.1 and 2 against the Bucks before his team went on to sweep the series.

He then scored 18 in the clinching Game 5 win over the Chicago Bulls and 19 in the Heat's Game 1 win over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Each of those last two wins were the only Heat victories decided by less than 10 points in the postseason thus far.   

Wade shot a superstar-percentage from the field in 2013

Prior to the 2012-13 campaign, Wade had shot 50 percent from the floor for the season only one time in his NBA career. 

After doing so in 2010-11, Wade improved his efficiency to an all-time high of 52.1 percent this year. 

Additionally, as highlighted by the chart above, the three best field-goal percentages of Wade's career have come in the last three years specifically.

During each of those seasons, where he's shot 50, 49.7 and 52.1 percent, respectively, Wade also averaged at least 21.2 points per game.


Demonstrating an improved effectiveness around the rim 

Even though Wade is not finishing at the rim with the explosive frequency he once did, he is still converting field-goal attempts at a higher rate than he has in year's past. 

Highlights and GIFs aside, putting the ball in the basket is still the ultimate goal for any superstar.

To that point, Wade shot 74.7 percent on field-goal attempts at the rim according to Hoopdata.com in 2012-13.

Dating back to 2007, for example, Wade had never shot better than 67 percent in a given season.

In 2013, he also averaged more made field goals per game (4.6) than he did in 2007 (4.5) despite averaging slightly less attempts.


A superstar mentality

Over the course of his 10-year career, highlighted by two NBA championships and nine trips to the All-Star game, Dwyane Wade has demonstrated a superstar mentality. 

Beyond the statistical production and difference-making ability, this mentality is what also sets superstars like Wade apart. 

He knows exactly when his team needs him to turn it on. He understands where he needs the basketball to be most effective. 

He believes, right or wrong, that he is better than any player he is lined up against on any given night. 

This mentality, coupled with an ever-improving shot selection and effectiveness around the rim, will allow Wade to remain a superstar for years to come.


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