Dwyane Wade and the Demise of the Miami Heat

Kyle CrawfordContributor IIJune 15, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reacts while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Nearly a year ago LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh got together and had a party announcing the arrival of the Miami Heat's dynasty.

James spoke of winning not just one or two championships, but upwards of seven titles.

While his words were excellent for Heat fans to hear and for the NBA's television ratings, I'm not sure that he thought before he spoke.

No, I'm not talking about how much of the Heat's cap space (whatever the cap will look like with the new CBA) is locked up into three players, I'm not talking about the ongoing circus around the team, I'm not talking about how the organization elected to surround the Big Three with guys that they picked up at the local Y.

I'm talking about Wade, the oldest of the Three, and a guy whom I believe will physically break down before that oh-so-elusive eighth title.

As we all know, Wade is a seemingly fearless, reckless player who gets to the lane at will, but gets absolutely abused for it. (They even made an advertising scheme off of it: Fall Down 7 Get Up 8.)

The way Wade gets to the bucket is reminiscent of the way that one Allen Iverson played the game. Iverson played (plays) with a certain reckless abandon.

However, that reckless abandon only saw him play a full 82 games twice in his career.

Dwyane Wade, similarly to AI, has yet to play a full 82 games, maxing out at 79 games in 2008-09.

While Wade is larger in stature than Iverson, it is somewhat evident that they have similar playing styles in the fact that they are both streaky outside shooters who attack the basket with a grace and fervor rarely seen in the league. They both go to the line at a solid clip and are uber quick on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. 

That said, why not look to the past (Iverson) to predict the future (Wade), at least in terms of physical demise and the breakdown of the body?

Look at games and minutes played before Iverson's physical drop off and do the math to see where in Wade's career that will put him (I deemed Iverson's physical drop off the 2008-2009 season when all of his numbers dropped off the charts, even if it was partially because of the Detroit system.):

Iverson (pre-drop)—12 seasons / 829 Games/ 34, 555.4 Total Minutes
Wade (to date)—8 Seasons/ 547 Games/ 20,567.2 Total Minutes

Wade (22) came into the league a year older than Iverson (21), which we can assume works to his disadvantage.

If Wade plays four more seasons like his most recent one for the Heat (76 games, 37.2 MPG) he will add on 11,296 minutes to his total. We can somewhat safely assume Wade will get injured and miss 20 to 25 games more than normal, so we'll say he plays 50 games at 37.2 MPG. That adds another 1,862 minutes to his total meaning this is how the numbers stack up at the end of the 2015-2016 season:

Iverson (pre-drop)—12 seasons / 829 Games/ 34, 555.4 Total Minutes
Wade (2015-16)—13 seasons/ 901 Games / 33,725.2 Total Minutes

Assume Wade loses his step going into the 2016-17 season. Will it be worth the Heat resigning Wade's broken-down body?

If not, the Big Three could at that point have won at best a total of five titles, but you have to imagine that they'll get beat in at least one seven-game series between now and then.

The Heat win four titles, maybe.

Not quite what LeBron said.

However, Wade has multiple options at his disposal to avoid the fate of Allen Iverson. At 6'4", he has the ability to do things much more Michael Jordan-like than Iverson ever had the opportunity of doing.

Jordan extended his Bulls career by at least two years by doing two things: wanting it more than anyone and developing a mid-range/back-to-the-basket game that was near unstoppable.

Dwyane Wade has the talent and the ability to re-invent himself.

The only question left to ask is: Does he have the drive to re-invent himself?

He'll have to if he want's LeBron's predictions to come true.