Dwyane Wade Ready For Season Opener
Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
The day is nearly upon us.
The Miami HEAT will open their 27th season Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena against the Washington Wizards. Nobody seems more excited for the regular season to start than Dwyane Wade.
“When you go through a whole training camp and you go through eight games of preseason, we’re excited to get to the real thing,” Wade said after practice on Sunday. “We’re excited to see how much growth we’ve had since the first day of training camp. The regular season, especially early on, we’ve got a tough schedule [and] it’s going to test us, so we look forward to it.”
After working his way through the offense and primarily being a facilitator in the first few games of the preseason, Wade started to find his groove towards the end. On October 21 against the Houston Rockets and another elite shooting guard in James Harden, Wade had his best performance of the preseason.
Wade started the game off red-hot, as he hit his first six shots and was on-point from the perimeter. In all, Wade shot 11-of-17 for 26 points and also had six assists, two rebounds and a nice block on Terrence Jones. As time was winding down on the shot clock late in the game, Wade hit a tough, contested mid-range jumper from the left elbow over Troy Daniels to seal the deal and put the HEAT up 88-83 with a shade under 36 seconds left.
The hot streak continued three days later in Miami’s following game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Wade was sizzling from the start once again and hit his first seven shots en route to a 16-point first half. He aggressively drove to the hoop and also hit some perimeter shots. In all, Wade finished with 16 points, three rebounds and two assists.
In addition to getting a feel for the new offense, Wade also credited more plays for himself as the reason why he did so well.
“Early on I was just trying to see what the offense was about, seeing where I can get other guys shots and as we got deeper into the preseason, got deeper into training camp, coach started putting more individual things in for myself and Chris [Bosh],” Wade said. “I’m not worried about shots at all. I can get those.”
One of the main things Wade has been working on throughout training camp and preseason is his range from deep. In the preseason, Wade shot 6-of-14 from downtown (42.8 percent). For comparison sake, Wade didn’t attempt his 14th 3-pointer last season until Christmas Day. It definitely seems like Wade will be taking more moving forward.
“When I have my opportunities and it swings to me, I’m going to take it,” Wade said. “I’m just going to continue to try [and] take good ones as much as possible. I think the biggest thing is…when you’re putting the work in, and you translate it to the game and you see it go in. Now it’s about just letting it go and being ready to shoot it. This preseason has been good for that, for my confidence with that and my teammates’ confidence in me as well, so it’s been good.”
Erik Spoelstra has simply been pleased with how much Wade has been able to do and how he’s been leading the team.
“I’m more encouraged by his workload...We’re seeing the residual of that time,” Spoelstra said. “He has to spend a lot of time just preparing himself for the workload and we just hope that can continue. I love the way he’s been leading. He’s really been great this year in terms of taking on a bigger responsibility with his voice and his leadership.”