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Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade Proving His Value Despite Skepticism

Dwyane Wade’s superstar status in the NBA has been under fire since the moment he experienced a rash of injuries in the 2012 playoffs.

Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade

Dec 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) before a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade’s superstar status in the NBA has been under fire since the moment he experienced a rash of injuries in the 2012 playoffs.

A fateful game in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Pacers in which the Marquette product put up a measly five points on 2-of-13 shooting in a blowout loss to Indiana is where the doubt started.

Wade was forced to get his knee drained, and has notably had knee issues over the past two seasons.

His knee issues have become such a concern and such a media issue that it has caused skepticism around his value with the Heat and his ability to be an effective number two for teammate LeBron James.

Despite the doubt revolving around Wade and his balky knees, the 9-time All-Star has negated that faux perception simply based on how much better the Miami Heat are with him than without him.

Miami is currently 4-3 in games in which Wade has sat out, but are 18-3 with their shooting guard in the lineup.

In those three losses, the Heat’s offense is averaging 98 points per game, which is well under their 104.6 clip for the season.

How about their defense?

The defense has allowed 103 points per game in the seven games Wade was in street clothes, which is also a far cry from the stingy 97 points per game they limit opponents to when Wade plays.

The Heat own the league’s third best differential at 7.6 points, and that number clearly suffers without Dwyane Wade.

While Wade may not have the same importance to the team that James has, he provides more than just being the number two option.

Wade has championship mettle and veteran savvy; he knows how to complement LeBron perfectly and knows when it’s the appropriate time to take over.

With LeBron clearly showing some after effects of a sprained ankle last week, Wade guided the team en route to Eastern Conference Player of the Week Honors.

LeBron averaged a “mortal” 24 points per contest during the week, while Wade led the Heat to a perfect 3-0 record, averaging 26.3 points on 60 percent shooting from the field.

During this whole “Big Three” experience, Wade has been the one that has had to make the most sacrifice. He’s sacrificed minutes, individual accomplishments, and pride as he has allowed LeBron to take over his team and city.

But what Wade has done admirably is learn how to deal with that and transition himself into the role of “whatever the team needs.” He knows when he can take nights off, he knows when he needs to turn it on and take over and he really has discovered the pulse of this team.

In the fourth and potentially last year of this Three Amigos era in Miami, Wade has really proved his worth and displayed just how important he is to the team even with all the skepticism right in his face.

After some early season struggles, Wade has returned to form to average 20 points and just under five boards and five assists. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 22.65, which is good enough for 12th best in the league.

As his knees get more and more into shape, Wade will only improve. But more importantly, he will be the guy that Miami needs him to be, whether its passive No. 2 or Alpha Male No .1. And that may be the most important value Dwyane Wade brings to this team.

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