Top Stories

Erik Spoelstra: Dwyane Wade's role may be 'one of most impactful' in NBA this season

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on NBA TV: Heat vs. Cavaliers (7 ET)

Three games into the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers ditched the notion of having Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup. That didn’t translate into instant success as the Cavs stumbled through a 3-6 stretch before hitting their stride of late. On the heels of last night’s blowout win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland has notched eight straight victories.

* Recap: Cavaliers 113, Sixers 91

To credit all of that success to one rotation move would be folly, but there is no denying Wade’s move to the bench has helped Cleveland hold down the fort when LeBron James checks out. Others around the league are taking notice of how Wade is helping the Cavs — most recently Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (who coached Wade in Miami from 2008-16). He heaped praise upon Wade for his adjustment to a bench role, something that Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was quick to do, too, after last night’s win. Joe Vardon of has more:

On Tuesday, Wade will play against the team where he starred and won three championships exclusively as a starter — the Miami Heat. His old coach, Erik Spoelstra, said “I think the role that he’s in is going to be one of the most impactful roles in the league,” according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“It’s true,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, when Spoelstra’s comments were relayed to him. “I think with D Wade and what he’s given to the backup point guard position has been great. He’s been able to score the basketball, run sets through him and it’s kind of like his unit.

“But also, if you just watch the game, down the stretch he makes big plays. Big rebounds, big steals, big blocks. Makes the right pass and the right play. So, he’s been great for us.”

Asked if bringing Wade off the bench might make a difference deep in the playoffs, if it might give the Cavs something they haven’t had in the past, Lue said “you could say that because you can’t put point guards on him because he can post.

“On bigger guys he can play the pick and roll,” Lue said. “And he’s been there. Winning three championships and a perennial All-Star, future hall of famer, so he’s been in those positions and been in those big moments. He’s prepared for those type of obstacles.”

* * *