Dwyane Wade Poised to Be at Physical Peak in NBA Finals, Thanks to Training Plan

Ethan SkolnickNBA Senior WriterJune 4, 2014

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SAN ANTONIO — During the Q&A sessions of his summer camps, Michael Jordan received one question more than any other. 

"How do you jump so high?" 

Tired of answering it, Jordan asked his trainer Tim Grover to put their program on paper. That program, initially developed more than two decades ago, and refined again and again since, is the basis for Grover's second book, Jump Attack, which was released this week.

Just in time for Grover to make the rounds promoting it before the NBA Finals tip off Thursday.

But Grover is in San Antonio for another reason: to continue working with Dwyane Wade.

After all, as Grover explained in a mid-March conversation with Bleacher Report, his work this season won't be done until Wade has played a pivotal role in a third straight Miami Heat championship.

"Look, my goal is the same as the team goal," Grover said. "They should win the NBA Finals. And (Wade) should be an extremely integral part of it."

So far, so good. 

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Grover and Wade targeted two series as they tailored their collaborative efforts: the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. And in the first of those series, Wade averaged 19.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists, while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. 

What does Grover expect for the Heat's duel with the Spurs?

"I think he's in better shape in this series than in the last series," Grover told Bleacher Report. "We continued to see improvement. Until this first game is played, it's hard to assess. Until then, it's all talk. Everyone likes to make predictions about 'How's he feeling?' Instead of that, I wait until the game is over, and go from there. Everything I've seen, heard, everything he's been doing in practice—no setbacks, [he] looks good."

This series sets up well for Wade for a couple of reasons:

  •  By the time it starts, he will have had five full days to gear up.
  •  All of the games are at night, which allows Wade to go through his normal preparation routine.
  •  There are three two-day breaks, between Games 1 and 2, Games 4 and 5 and Games 6 and 7.

"The most encouraging thing in the last series was he had games with only one day of rest, and he was able to play the amount of minutes coach [Erik Spoelstra] wanted him to play and play effectively," Grover said of Wade, who averaged 35.4 minutes against Indiana. "And he was as effective at the end of the game as at the beginning of the game."

Trainer Tim Grover has worked with Dwyane Wade for a number of seasons to help him through the rigors of the NBA schedule.
Trainer Tim Grover has worked with Dwyane Wade for a number of seasons to help him through the rigors of the NBA schedule.Randy Belice/Getty Images

Wade has been reluctant to address Grover's role in his recovery. That's partly because he doesn't want to offend the Heat's training staff, even though they have allowed Grover in, and he consistently consults with them.

On Wednesday, though, Wade finally relented.

"That's my guy, man," he said. "You know, everyone has someone that they trust outside of kind of the norm, and he's the guy that I trust when it comes to telling me things that I might not want to hear or might not want to do, but also to opening my mind to different things.

"So this year I really brought him in a lot. Other years it's been here and there. This year he's been with me and is really helping me be able to do the things I want to do in my role on this team. At times, when I needed to do more, I physically have been able to do more, and at times when I needed to take a step back and not do more, I haven't needed to. But he's been big in that and I thank him for giving up the time to be with me, to be able to do that."

The Chicago-based Grover doesn't plan to go anywhere for a while, other than where Wade is.

"I'm all the way through," Grover said. "I haven't been home very much, but that's all right, it's that time of year. I'll be home plenty after the 20th."


Ethan Skolnick covers the Miami Heat for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @EthanJSkolnick.