Wade is controlling the ball late in games, which lets LeBron James be used in a simple pick-and-roll. James has been accustomed to playing with the ball in his hands in crunch time, but it appears Wade and Erik Spoelstra have convinced him to try something new. “I think he's starting to see that this can open up his overall game, and he's going to want to do it more," Wade said last week.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent isn’t enough in the NBA. Teams must also have chemistry.
Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat learned this the hard way, with their up-and-down year.
So have the New York Knicks, who broke up a squad with established chemistry to acquire the talented but sometimes difficult Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.
Credit the Heat for trying new things, though. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, James acted as a screener and ran several pick-and-rolls with Wade.
This is a welcome change from the Heat’s steady diet of predictable ‘iso’ plays and one-on-one attempts at the basket.
Doug Collins, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is right: this option will work. James as a four-man setting picks will be tough to prevent from rolling to the basket or slipping the screen.
Opposing defenses will be helpless. If defenders try to switch on the screen, James and/or Wade will have a clear mismatch, which should lead to a scoring opportunity.
If defenders try to show and adjust to the screen, James and/or Wade will have an advantage, which should also lead to a scoring opportunity.
The Heat would be wise to run more of these sets. Variety is important in basketball, and a two-man game involving their best players will upgrade their mediocre half-court offense.
After all, chemistry, not talent, is the key to winning in the NBA. It seems James and Wade are learning.