Is the decline of the Heat’s Dwyane Wade exaggerated?


(EPA/RHONA WISE CORBIS OUT)

Four years ago, Dwyane Wade had his best playoffs, statistically, for the Miami Heat. He averaged 28.5 points, 5.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per 36 minutes. Wade’s points per 36 would drop to 22.4 in 2011, 20.8 in 2012, 16.1 in 2013 and is currently 19.3 in this year’s postseason. 

“It sounds weird to say ‘play better’ but I don’t think people realize how much Wade has slipped from the first two Finals to the last two,” Bill Simmons said during Game 3 broadcast.

Has he? Or is Wade just becoming more efficient?

During the Finals last season Wade took 48.7 percent of his shot attempts within eight feet of the basket and made 30 of 48 (62.5 percent). In the 2012 Finals 46.7 percent were from that distance and he converted 22 of 43 (51.2 percent). This season he is again taking 48.7 percent of his shot attempts within eight feet of the basket but making 68.4 percent of them (13 for 19).

Wade’s efficiency with the midrange shot (between eight and 24 feet) has also increased. He is converting 43.8 percent of those shots (7 for 16) which is better than the 2013 Finals (37.5 percent), 2012 (36.4 percent) and 2011 (37.5 percent).


Dwyane Wade shot chart during 2014 NBA Finals

The Heat will need other players to step up and help LeBron James if they are to win a third consecutive title, but the finger pointing shouldn’t start with Wade.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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