Dwyane Wade adjusts to new role with Cleveland Cavaliers
The 15-year veteran is learning how to contribute alongside LeBron James and Kevin Love
NBA.com staff reports
* Recap: Magic 114, Cavaliers 93
The Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t the only team trying to figure out how to incorporate new superstars. It’s happening in Cleveland, too.
The Cavaliers’ have a deeper roster this season and, perhaps as Kyrie Irving learned and disliked through three consecutive trips to the Finals, it’s not easy knowing when to go and when to say “whoa.” Dwyane Wade is a wise old NBA head, so he’s not rattled, but he is off to a slow start that’s rare by his Hall of Fame-bound standards, writes ESPN’s Dave McMenamin in the wake of Cleveland’s loss to Orlando:
“I’m trying to find it, man,” Wade said after scoring five points on 2-for-8 shooting against the Magic. “It’s very different, different than I’ve ever played. Just trying to find my way, as we go on, see how I can be best for this team. Everything’s happened so fast. This has been a long, a long week.”
Wade and the Cavs fell behind by as many as 37 points to Orlando, which was missing starters Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, dropping their record to 2-1. Wade is averaging 5.3 points on 28 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point territory with 3.3 assists per game. He has scored in single digits all three games he has played, something he did only six times in 60 games with the Chicago Bulls last season when he finished with averages of 18.3 points, 43.1 percent shooting, 31.0 percent on 3s and 3.8 assists per game.
What’s the biggest difference this season for the 15-year veteran?
“My option,” Wade said. “I’ve always been a [No.] 1 or 2 option. It’s just a different game. You got to kind of figure out your way.”
Cleveland’s No. 1 option, LeBron James, said that integrating Wade is a priority.
“We got to get him going at some point,” James said. “That’s something we’re going to look at and we’re all trying to figure it out as well but we got to get him going and hopefully we can do that on Tuesday [vs. Chicago].”
There are many pieces that Cleveland is trying to fit together, however Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, like James, also spoke about Wade as if the 12-time All-Star is near the top of his to-do list.
“Just got to get him in positions to where he’s comfortable,” Lue said. “Right now we have a new offense, a different offense than he’s accustomed to running. We just have to put him in better positions to be aggressive and get to a spot. That’s not really an issue of mine or his. Just continue to keep playing good, team defense and his shot and his game will come around offensively.”
Wade said he is a “rhythm player” and added, “I take a lot of shots,” when explaining the transition he is going through. Wade is averaging just 8.3 attempts per game for the Cavs, about half of the 15.9 attempts he took for the Bulls last season.
“It’s just trying to find that rhythm, trying to find where it will come from, when it will come from. It comes with time,” Wade said. “I haven’t forced it. [Saturday] I had some opportunities where I had the ball, I passed it, got a few assists. The shots that I shot was shots that I [normally shoot], I just missed them. I didn’t feel like I forced them. I feel like they were good shots, just two out of eight of them went in. Like I said, everyone, we’re all just still trying to figure it out. Sometimes you press a little bit, you want every shot to be perfect. And that’s just not the game of basketball. There will be times when you hit 8 out of 10. And you don’t go 2-for-8.”
Wade and the Cavaliers will look to return to their winning ways against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday (7 ET, NBA TV).