Though its not necessarily one of the deepest positions in the NBA right now, the shooting guard position has had a wonderful year as a whole.
Of course, you’ve got three names at the top of the list that you can split any which way you so choose to do–Dwyane Wade is my first, but Kobe Bryant and James Harden are some others.
You’ve got guys playing in limited roles but still producing in Ray Allen and Kevin Martin. Also, there are some young shooting guards that are still on the come up.
The position has some nice names for now and for the future. Dwyane Wade is at the top of those names for me. He’s the best shooting guard on both ends of the floor. He hasn’t been the same player on the offensive end, but on the defensive end he hasn’t really lost a step–though his constant complaining to the officials for calls is something that can hamper it,
What he does well
Wade is one of the craftiest shooting guards playing the game today. Over the past three seasons his numbers have consistently dropped on the offensive end but that’s because of the minute drop that he’s had. Since 2010, where Wade has played about 37 minutes per game, that total has dropped down to 33.2 last season and 33.4 in this one.
Wade is averaging 20.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game. His PER has dropped from last season after a slow start to this year. He’s got a 22.8 PER after a having 26.3 last season, per basketball-reference. Though his production has slightly dropped, he’s still been effective.
Wade also has one of the best handles in the league. When he’s doubled, he doesn’t have to pick up his dribble because of that. It creates a lot of off ball opportunity for LeBron James to slash to the rim and collapses defenses in ways that allow Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen to feast on threes–especially ones in the corner.
Wade is one of the best ball handlers in the league when it comes to the pick and roll. According to Synergy Sports Technology, 25.5% of his offense comes from being the pick and roll ball handler. 159 out of his 624 plays for scoring opportunity are from being the ball handler on screens. He gets 1 point per possession and converts for a score on 51.4% of those possessions. That’s an amazing total for a shooting guard.
With LeBron and Dwyane on the floor this is easily the best penetrating team in the league. The way that they get to the rim in only a few dribbles is brilliant. The more ground that you cover the more the defense will pay attention to you. Wade is absolutely one of the best at that. The same dribble efficiency and effectiveness used for point guards applies here as well.
Another thing that Wade does well is slash to the basket. This may be my favorite thing that he does. Though Wade doesn’t have a consistent outside jump shot, he knows how to slash and get to the rim for easy scores. According to Synergy Sport technology, 11.1% of Wade’s offense comes from cuts. He gets 1.2 points per possession off of these cuts and has converted on 36 of 56 shot attempts from off of cuts.
When he cuts it really shows off how smart of a player he actually is. He knows that he doesn’t have the jump shot to create space for James and others, so while the defense is watching the ball he takes off toward the rim. Its genius, really. The way that basic fundamentals are used in such an advanced offense is just perfect. That’s what Wade brings to the table.
Though his defensive game is kind of down this season, he’s helped the Heat in many ways. When he’s on the court the Heat allow 3.7 more points per possession according to 82games. He allows opposing shooting guards to boast only a 9.8 PER while posting a 25.2 PER at the shooting guard position himself–his shortcomings come at point guard.
There are a few bad things that stick out with Wade. Sometimes he gets pretty predictable as a player and showcases plenty of bad habits as well. That’s what will happen to some guys who have played on way–no matter how effective–their whole career. To his credit, Wade has been one of the most effective shooting guards of all time.
With that lack of a jumpshot late in his career, teams have started to sag off of Wade as time goes by. He’s got the elite athleticism to counteract that and the versatility of his game–being able to play from the post and backdooring guys–but that’s only going to last for so long. He’s 30 now, and he’s going to need to develop that jumpshot once he can’t blow by people anymore. Who knows when that time will come–it may never come–but that’s still something to worry about.
Another thing that I absolutely hate about Dwyane Wade is the way that he complains to officials when he doesn’t get a call. As much as I applaud him for his defensive prowess, this sometimes has a negative effect on his play. He’ll pull himself out of the game on the offensive end and try to sell for contact all the time. On the defensive end of the floor he won’t get back and when he does his rotations are late.
That’s something that you absolutely hate to see a player do–especially one of Wade’s caliber. That’s a terrible habit to develop at any stage of your basketball playing career. Its something that I hope will one day leave his game, even though I know its not very likely.
Overall, Wade is still a great player and has a lot left in the tank to give. At the tender age of 30, its safe to say that he’ll be around for a few more years with the chance to win a few more titles.