Rewind to 2009. The Heat were under the leadership of second year coach Erik Spoelstra, and were on the up rise. They’d just drafted Mario Chalmers, and had acquired the second overall pick in the previous draft, which was used to select Michael Beasley. Wade would go on to have the best regular season of his career. He averaged 30.2 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. He brought home his first scoring title and lead Miami to the playoffs basically by his lonesome. The most overlooked facet of Wade’s game is his stellar defense. Wade was always a danger when on that side of the floor. His IQ has led him to become one of the best defensive guards in NBA history. He knows how to play the passing lanes and loves to block shots, and his most memorable rejections came at the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, and Tyson Chandler, all seven footers.
With his effort to date, there’s no denying this: he’s the best shot-blocking two guard to ever play, even better than the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan. To date, Wade has over 700 career blocked shots, currently a high for the position. A long time removed from his high, jumping, freakishly athletic self, when asked about this, Wade took it in stride and sounded like the Flash we’ve grown to love. “When you want different results, you’ve got to do different things,” Wade said. “And that’s what I’m trying to do this year. It’s a fresh start to the season, but I have a long, long way to go.”
Even defensive specialist Luol Deng is impressed with Wade’s ability to read shot attempts. “He gets a lot of blocks from the weak side,” Deng said. “You just don’t see him. He’s really mastered that. He’s probably the best at it.”
Despite his recent struggles, so far his hard work has paid off. Wade is averaging 19.8 points to go along with 6.4 assists. He’s shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, and is even putting up a career high in three point percentage, at a 45.5 percent rate. I expect the points to go up, and with the ability he’s shown to distribute to his teammates this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a climb in the assist column either.
Respect is not given, it’s earned, and with the career Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. has put up thus far, he’s definitely earned not only mine, but your respect as well.