Wade's World

Every successful NBA team needs a Dean Wade. A guy who can do a little bit of everything, a guy who has done a little bit of everything, and a guy who’s willing to do a little bit of everything.

Fortunately, the Cavaliers have one of their own.

Dean Wade has started, he’s come off the bench, he’s an efficient three-point shooter but has plenty of muscle to mix it up on the interior. He’s spent time with the Charge when they were still in Canton and now has 47 starts under his belt at the big-league level.

This past season, Wade started in more than half the games he appeared in – getting 28 starts in 51 appearances before undergoing surgery to treat meniscus issues in his right knee in late March, sidelining him for the final 15 games of the season. Injuries to Jarrett Allen and Even Mobley certainly took their toll on the frontcourt in Cleveland’s stretch run last spring. But sidelining one of the squad’s most versatile reserves had a devastating effect of its own.

The Wichita, KS native entered the Association as an undrafted rookie, played 30 games with the (then)-Canton Charge and now in 126 with the Wine & Gold, starting in 47 overall since his arrival in 2019 after a standout four-year career with Kansas State.

Over the course of his career in “The Little Apple,” Wade – who was named Kansas’ Mr. Basketball as a high school senior, winning the final 58 games of his prep career – left Kansas State as one of the school’s all-time leaders in career starts (2nd), double-digit scoring games (7th), field goals made (8th) and total points (10th).    

The Cavaliers have one of the most electric young cores in the NBA – built mainly through the Lottery – but also through some shrewd deals and the development of its undrafted players. Both Wade and Lamar Stevens – who watched 60 names called on Draft night 2020 – have been a huge part of Cleveland’s recent success.

Last season, the Cavs were 15-13 in games that Wade started; 9-4 in Stevens’ 13 starts.

Neither player lit the league on fire statistically. Wade averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in just over 19 minutes per game and notched double-figures in 11 of his 28 starts. The 6-9, 230-pounder also got better as the season progressed, shooting 43 percent from long-range (21-of-49) over his last 12 starts.

Last season, Wade doubled-up with 16 points and 10 boards in a win over Toronto and tied a season-high with a 17-point performance in a victory against Houston. His high-water mark was a 21-point performance in a loss to the Pelicans in May 2021. He notched his first career double-double, finishing with 19 points and 12 boards less than a month later against Indiana.

He also pulled past the “other” D. Wade on the Cavaliers all-time scoring list – now with 665 total points to Dwyane’s 513.

The player who came to Cleveland on a two-way deal in 2019 had his two-way converted to a regular contract less than a year later. And earlier this summer, recognizing the 25-year-old’s value to the squad, the Cavaliers picked up his fourth-year option.

The Wine & Gold have big designs for the upcoming campaign. By all indications, they merely scratched the surface last season – and with the offseason additions of Ochai Agbaji, Ricky Rubio, Robin Lopez and Raul Neto – they’re poised to take the next step post haste.

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff would have loved to have his do-it-all forward down the stretch last spring. This fall, he’ll have a healthy roster – including a healthy Dean Wade – when the regular season tips off in 57 days. Can his young Cavaliers outdo last year’s wild ride?