Will Dwyane Wade Ever Be 100% Again?
Something about Dwyane Wade's performance in game one of the 2012 NBA Finals on Tuesday night looked awkward. And some of his postgame comments seemed to confirm what everyone was thinking.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Is it possible that D Wade's best days are behind him?
The most interesting thing to me was the way Wade admitted, without much pressure, that LeBron James is the undisputed #1 option on the Heat. The old D Wade, who was cocky and cocksure, may have thought that but he never would've admitted it in public. But to anyone who watched the game, you can see his entire style of play is different thanks to lingering issues with his left knee. To make up for the lack of athleticism he was contorting his body, taking difficult shots, just to create space. He took the same kind of shots in the 2006 NBA Finals, but he could get to the basket and finish which is something he hasn't been able to do consistently throughout this year's playoffs.
"That was six years ago, man," said Wade after game one. "I'm not that athletic, as I was in '06."
Wade is one of those electrifying players who you never think will age. But the amount of contact he took and the punishment he absorbed early in his career while carrying the Heat on his back, reminds me a lot of the way Allen Iverson carried the Sixers to the Finals before his body broke down a couple years later. Both players were constantly on the floor, diving for balls, beating up their bodies; it takes years for the cumulative wear and tear to become apparent. In the 2006 NBA playoffs, Wade took 10.8 free throw attempts per game, easily the most that year. This year, he's averaging 6.8, the lowest average of his playoff career.
And for D Wade, the physical toll is beginning to show itself now. The Heat just hope he has enough to gut out four more wins.
Image Credit: AP News