Dwyane Wade (Garrett Ellwood/ Getty)In the wake of a championship, the winning team's flaws and problems seem to float away in a cloud of happy thoughts and celebratory dancing. But champions are often flawed, or at least had to go through some periods of not-stellar play to get to the top. So while the Miami Heat were pretty darn great this postseason, they weren't exactly the picture of perfection throughout their playoff run.
One of the biggest issues with the team was the performance of star guard Dwyane Wade. He played a huge part in some of the most important wins of the season, but Wade also struggled in many games with an apparent (but undisclosed) knee injury. Wade was limited and a clear second option, playing at a high level often but below his usual greatness. Over several series, it became clear that Wade needed to adjust his game to remain in the upper echelon of the NBA.
Wade said he might work with a shooting coach "for the first time ever" after a postseason in which he shot 31 percent on mid-range jumpers (50 for 163) and 29 percent on three-pointers (10 for 34).
The goal, he said, "is to try to do more in the sense of my three-point game and midrange game, getting that back. My mechanics aren't that bad. I don't have an ugly shot, not one of those Shawn Marion shots. There are certain things in my shot I can change."
Wade said a shooting coach could "give me a different look and [suggest] where I can get better." He said he also wants "to continue to get better in the post."
Jump-shooting has never been a particular strength of Wade's game, though he's certainly capable of making them. According to stats at Hoopdata.com, he shot 37 percent from 16-to-23 feet (4.3 attempts per game) and only 26.8 percent from three-point range (1.1 attempts per game). While not exactly excellent, those stats are roughly in line with his career averages. The difference now is that if his knee poses a long-term problem, Wade will have to adjust his game accordingly. He won't be able to rely on his driving ability and finishing at the rim quite so much.
If that's the case, Wade will need to improve his shooting to stay a superstar. It's a transition that many players have to undergo as they get older. At 30, Wade's old enough that he can't play the same way he always has. He deserves credit for recognizing that and trying to improve the necessary areas of his game.
The trick, of course, will be to expand his shooting while not totally turning his back on what makes him such a great player in the first place. It's an issue of melding styles, not wholesale change.