PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (CBSMiami) – If you see Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade in practice, you’ll immediately notice a younger-looking, leaner, and refreshed shooting guard ready to prove to the league that last year’s postseason was an aberration and not the norm.
Wade underwent surgery in the last two offseasons, but this year, his deep bone bruise healed and didn’t require surgery. Instead, Wade spent the summer with Chicago trainer Tim Grover, according to ESPN.com.
Grover decided to emphasize resistance training instead of the usual weight training. Wade also received more treatments for his knee and according to LeBron James and Erik Spoelstra, the superstar guard is healthier than he’s been in a long time.
“I hear ‘A healthy Dwyane Wade’ and I get excited,” James told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. “This is probably as healthy as he’s been since (2010) training camp. He’s hungry. He’s hungry to get back to form and to show why he’s one of the greatest two-guards to ever play this game.”
If you combine a healthy Dwyane Wade with LeBron, who said he’s improved all aspects of his game over the summer; it might make the duo as lethal as they have been since they both signed up to play for the Heat together.
Wade has transitioned from the number one option to the number two option almost seamlessly over the last few years. He has turned over the team to LeBron and instead of leading is helping push James, himself, and teammates to a higher level.
“I’m the second option. Let’s just point-blank say it,” Wade told the Herald. “Obviously I don’t have the ball as much so I’ve got to be a better post-up player, I’ve got to be way more efficient than I’ve ever been. I’ve got to — kind of like I did with the Olympic team — find ways to be ‘involved when I’m not involved.’”
Wade played some of the best basketball of his career last year when he shot 55.1 percent from the floor after the All-Star break en route to shooting 52.1 percent for the season, the highest such rate of his entire career.
Still, when Wade was hobbled by the knee bruise in the playoffs; some pundits began to say that Wade was breaking down and wasn’t the same player he once was. Some of that is true, he has refined his game to play the perfect b to LeBron’s a, but he’s far from done.
For the Heat, a healthy Wade for the entire season could be the difference between a three-peat and the beginning of a true dynasty, and losing LeBron James. LeBron, along with almost every other member of the Heat can become free agents next year and another title would make it difficult for LeBron to leave.
“I think you have concern when you feel like people want to go elsewhere,” Wade told ESPN.com. “I don’t think anybody here wants to go elsewhere. This is a very good situation to be in. I think people enjoy being in it.”
Plus, having a healthy Wade beside him would make LeBron’s decision much easier than if Wade is not at full strength. Add in the perceived slight by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant who said Wade isn’t a top 10 player in the NBA and there’s plenty to get D-Wade fired up for this year.
“He thrives off motivation,” James told ESPN.com of Wade. “And he’s been given some more motivation. I’m looking forward to it.”