Breaking Down How Dwyane Wade Fits After Signing with Chicago Bulls

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2016

FILE - In this April 7, 2016, file photo, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives around Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler during an NBA basketball game in Miami. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Wade has decided to leave the Heat and sign with the Bulls. Wade made the decision Wednesday night, July 6, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing can be finalized before Thursday. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
Alan Diaz/Associated Press

The Dwyane Wade saga ended in a way most did not anticipate: He left the Miami Heat—the only team he's ever played for—and joined the Chicago Bulls.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical announced the news on Twitter:

The fit between the Bulls and Wade is somewhere between bizarre, self-defeating and might just work.


Worth Questioning

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls faces off against Rajon Rondo #9 of the Sacramento Kings on February 3, 2016 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

During a news conference to introduce first-round pick Denzel Valentine a couple of weeks ago, the Bulls' front office tandem of Gar Forman and John Paxson stated, "But we've got to put this back together now, going younger, more athletic and building it back up moving into the future."

They have since made two signings this offseason: 30-year-old Rajon Rondo, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated, and 34-year-old Wade. Both have a history of knee injuries, and neither is particularly "athletic" at this stage.

How this fits with the Bulls' goals is difficult to see.

All-Star Jimmy Butler played shooting guard last year but was originally a small forward. The addition of Wade means he will likely move back to the 3.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

There are now three players on the team—Rondo, Wade and Butler—who are at their most effective with the ball, but none are marksmen off it.

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13:  Head coach Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls gives instructions to his team against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center on April 13, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 115-105. NOTE TO USER: User expre
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wade was a miserable 15.9 percent from deep last year. Oddly enough, he made 12 threes in the postseason on 23 attempts compared to just seven on 44 tries in the regular season. Rondo enjoyed a career-high 36.5 percent shooting clip from deep but averaged under one three-pointer made per game. Butler's percentage dropped to 31.2 last year, and he shot  only 24.4 percent after he returned from a knee injury March 5.

New starting center Robin Lopez hasn't made a three-pointer in his career.

Also, they hired Fred Hoiberg last spring to run his pace-and-space system as head coach. Saddling him with aging starters who can't shoot won't help.


Worth Watching

There are Bulls players who can shoot. Doug McDermott shot 42.5 percent from deep last season. Nikola Mirotic shot 39.0 percent from long range and a nifty 44.5 percent after the All-Star break.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported McDermott will see some time at the 4, and that should help:

While the Bulls' perimeter players aren't shooters, they're all excellent at creating shots. Rondo is a facilitator, while Butler and Wade are scorers.

If they're sharing the ball and working as a unit, there is a way this could work. In a pre-Stephen Curry revolution world where shot-creating was all that mattered, we'd be talking about how great a pairing Butler and Wade were on the wings.

Both are former Marquette players and form an interesting tandem.

MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives baseline against Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

While neither are great three-point shooters, they're both good at the rim. Wade shot 64.7 percent and Butler 67.3 percent from there last year. They're also both exceptional at drawing fouls (45.0 career free-throw rate for Wade; 48.4 for Butler), and both hit around 80.0 percent from the stripe—the equivalent of 53.3 percent from deep.

Hoiberg must devise ways to keep defenses from stacking the paint. He'll need to come up with an array of cuts, loops and screens to spring his ball-handlers for drives to the rim or to set up one of his decent shooters from deep.

It helps that Butler is more effective on corner threes, where he's 42.2 percent over the last two years. Between that and Rondo's career high, maybe this can work.

It's on Hoiberg to put his three playmakers in advantageous positions. Perhaps it won't lead to a title in 2016-17, but the Windy City Bovines could be competitive. If it doesn't work out, it will be a spectacularly entertaining dumpster fire.

Either way, it'll be entertaining.


All stats obtained from or