A-Wade-ing Father Time

When the Miami Heat open up their season at home against the Washington Wizards on October 29, there will be a little more trick than there will be treat.

Obviously, unless you have been exiled from the basketball community for the past three months, you are aware the Heat are now without LeBron James.

Miami managed to maintain Chris Bosh despite a furious charge from the Houston Rockets, but what else are the Heat left with?

How about a 32-year-old shooting guard with bad knees and declining production?

Dwyane Wade’s knees are more questionable than Derrick Rose’s ACT score.

Wade has missed 74 games over the past three years, but Wade thinks he can play 82 games this year.

Let us just assume that it is actually possible Wade has a perfect attendance record this year, it does not take away from the fact his scoring has decreased by 37 percent since 2009 – to be fair James had a part in that.

Things will be different now for Wade and the Heat without LeBron James. Photo by Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Things will be different now for Wade and the Heat without LeBron James. Photo by Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

But Wade has never averaged less than 30 minutes per game since he entered the league. If he does want to make an appearance 82 times this year, he will have to showcase a Gregg Popovich mindset and decrease his minutes.

Why don’t we build off that, shall we?

Instead of arguing whether or not Wade can play in all 82 games, let us talk about why he would want to.

Do you know the reason why the San Antonio Spurs are able to compete every year with an aged nucleus? It’s because Popovich saves their minutes for the playoffs.

Yes, the Heat will be worse this year without James, but the playoffs are still a more than reasonable possibility in an Eastern Conference resembling a middle school basketball tournament.

Typically, when players try to extend their careers, they have to make major adjustments to their styles of play. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had to learn how to play out of the post and become more accurate as spot up shooters.

What about Wade?

Well, he is on the wrong side of 30 and has never shot better than 31 percent from three. In fact, during the past two years, he has averaged 26.9 percent from behind the arc. Not ideal.

It is a young man’s game, and on top of that, it is a young guard’s game. His defense will be scarce as well.

WadeHeat_PaulClippers030113After watching the battles between the Heat and Indiana Pacers, we know Wade cannot guard Lance Stephenson. So why would we think he would be able to guard DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, or Tim Hardaway Jr. for that matter?

Last year, Wade’s defensive rating was 106 (points allowed per 100 possessions), and his defensive win shares decreased from 3.5 to 2.

His stats are reflecting his age and physical health. He has not played more than 70 games in a season since 2010-2011.

However, let us get back to the real topic: why would he want to play all 82 games?

Miami will not be the dominant force it was the past four years, but after retaining Bosh and adding Luol Deng and Danny Granger, the Heat should make the playoffs for sure.

So barring some experimental surgery from a mad German scientist – like what Kobe did – I say call up Shaquille O’Neal, ask to borrow some Icy Hot and prepare for April.