Miami Heat: 10 Ways LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Can Thrive Together
When LeBron James and Dwyane Wade first made their intentions of playing for the Miami Heat clear, there were plenty of doubters.
Many questioned how two players who have dominated the ball on their respective teams thus far in their illustrious NBA careers could coexist on the offensive end. How could they share the ball and how would their similar styles compliment each other.
So far those doubters are correct, as Miami hasn't been as efficient with the two superstars on the floor. However, it's still early in the season and they they can turn it around. Here's how...
10. Get Moving
James and Wade are two of the fastest, most explosive specimens in the NBA game today and of all time, for that matter.
They both thrive in the open court and in transition. So why in the world are the Heat playing at such a slow pace? They rank 20th in the NBA in possessions, which directly relates to how fast they play.
Get your two horses out in the open and let them loose.
9. Bring The Defensive Intensity
To be frank, Wade is an overrated defender. He might wow you in statistical categories like steals and blocks but that does not tell the whole picture.
If you watch him play consistently, you'll notice he gets lazy on the defensive end. He loses his man in help situations, often leading to open jumpers, and sometimes doesn't fight hard through picks.
I know he exerts a ton of energy on the offensive end, but he's a legitimate superstar who needs to play hard all the time, on both ends of the court. Michael Jordan was great because he was dominant on both ends. Wade is far from being a dominant defender.
The same goes for Lebron, although he plays with much more energy on defense. Both players have the potential to dominate defensively and shut down the opposition from the perimeter. They need to bring it all game.
8. Stop Settling For Jumpers
Both Dwyane (44.1 percent) and LeBron (43.6 percent) are shooting career low percentages from the field this year. Part of the reason is they are settling for outside jumpers, which plays directly into the defense's hands.
The biggest strength of these two stars is their aggression. Both can get to the basket at will, and when they drive, it usually results in buckets or fouls.
They aren't good enough long-range shooters to shoot three or four 3s a game. If they're making them, that's one thing, but both are shooting below 30 percent from 3-point range this year.
I don't mind the occasional three, but come on now. Don't try to be something you're not.
Take the ball to the hoop!
7. Use Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh has been the Heat's most efficient offensive player this year, shooting 51 percent from the field. He should be the focal point of the Heat's offense.
By revolving the offense around Bosh, it takes the Heat away from James and Wade on the perimeter and will open up driving lanes as the game progresses.
Most teams play inside-out for a reason. The Heat have a unique star in Bosh who can score in a variety of ways. Milk him for all he's worth.
6. Use LeBron's Versatility
One of the reasons James is the most talented basketball player on earth is he possesses the ability to play any position. His body allows him to bang with the bigs and run with the guards.
By placing him at power forward at times, Miami can score at a more efficient rate. What opposing power forward has the quickness to keep him away from the basket? Answer: Nobody.
Put him on the block or on the deep wing and let him go to work on the NBA's big men. He will either score or get to the line 90 percent of the time. It's time to unleash James's full talents.
5. Shooters, Shooters, Shooters
When Wade and James are on the court together, the defense's focal point is shutting down the paint and keeping them on the outside.
If Miami places shooters surrounding the duo, the floor will be better spaced. Play any trio of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, James Jones, Carlos Arroyo, and Mike Miller (when he returns) surrounding the Heat's two superstars.
The defense will be forced to make a decision. Either continue to clog the paint and be vulnerable to outside shooting, or guard the perimeter, leaving holes for Wade and James to penetrate.
If the Heat's shooters are all off, they will have problems.
4. Adapt Your Game
Both players have been in the league for seven seasons. They are what they are, and aren't capable of dramatic changes. But that doesn't mean they can't adapt their style.
LeBron James is such a good passer that he is going to be on the ball most of the time. Wade is the one who needs to adapt his playing style.
He needs to be more of a slasher, moving without the ball. LeBron will find him. There is no reason Wade can't score effectively in this role. He just has to be open to it.
3. Stop Making Excuses
"It's going to take time". "We won't really start jelling until February".
We've heard it all. Now stop.
It is what it is. Nobody is going to feel bad for them because two of their key role players in Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller are injured. They need to take it upon themselves to make this thing work, at whatever cost.
Just play ball and play hard every second of every game. It will work itself out if winning is the only goal.
2. Be Active
When LeBron or Dwyane receive the ball on the perimeter, most times everyone else is simply watching. It's time to stop watching and move your multimillion dollar tail around.
Set screens. Cut backdoor. Do something. Crash the boards, maybe?
1. Hold Each Other Accountable
Both stars need to be more vocal. Lead by example and by word of mouth.
If Wade screws up a defensive assignment, LeBron needs to call him out. No free passes.
If LeBron is settling for too many jumpers, it's up to his teammates to tell him. This team isn't going to win without true leadership from its stars.
Starting playing inspired basketball and prove the hype was warranted.
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