When Chicago signed Dwyane Wade this past offseason, there was a lot of nostalgia surrounding the deal. Wade, who grew up in city, was finally returning home and redeemed himself with some fans over the fact that he had snubbed the Bulls in free agency six years ago. Though the signing has added to Chicago’s “star power” and has had its numerous good effects off the court, the same can’t be said for on the court. Chicago’s big offseason acquisition started off the season on a good note but has seen a drop on production, especially in the past two months.
At age 35, it was very reasonable to expect Wade’s production to drop. He’s not as quick as he used to be, and being second fiddle to Jimmy Butler has seen Wade put up the least amount of points per game since his rookie season. But that’s not entirely the problem.
But one of the problems with Wade putting up those numbers is that he has done that with his usage going up each month.
You can see in the splits above that Wade hasn’t been a plus on the court since November and even with his minutes increasing, he has stayed relatively the same in terms of points per game. In fact, his offense has been suffering since November. His offensive rating, TS%, and overall FG% is down as well. With the exception of that 4th quarter against the Pelicans where he went vintage D-Wade and took over offensively, it has been a struggle. He’s been taking more tough shots and not sticking to what makes him effective at this point in his career.
Sitting at a career average of 28.7% from three-point land, a pull-up three is not the best shot Wade could have taken in that possession. Especially considering it was very early in the shot clock and it gave the Dallas defense a possession off. Wade’s effectiveness as a player comes in the midrange and post game where he is able to use his touch around the rim and crafty moves to outsmart defenders. But he hasn’t always stuck to that this season, with him shooting 21.1% in December from deep. He is currently shooting 41.2% from three this month but it is unlikely he’ll keep that number so high.
Wade’s defense has also taken a hit this season, with him posting a defensive box plus/minus of -0.1. His DBPM has dropped over the past three years, always a plus defender until the 2014-15 season where he posted a negative DBPM for the first time in his career. He frequently takes possessions off, usually on transition.
Wade needs to give better effort in transition defense. He's been very bad on that end. pic.twitter.com/1SL2K07m6G— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) January 18, 2017
There is no denying that Dwyane Wade is a Hall of Famer, easily one of the best shooting guards in NBA history. But time certainly has gotten to him. His averages have dropped since the start of the season despite his usage increasing each month. With Jimmy Butler establishing himself as a superstar caliber player, it was smart of Wade to acknowledge that it was Butler’s team and how #21’s presence on the team will likely determine his future in Chicago.
It will be an interesting in summer in Chicago considering if Wade will opt-in to the second year of his contract with Chicago. But lately he hasn’t exactly been the same Dwyane Wade we are used to seeing.