Way back in late June, when the Miami Heat's championship was but a few days old, Dwyane Wade indicated that he would hire a shooting coach this summer. It was a smart move for a player who occasionally looked a little limited in the playoffs, both because of injury and the diminished athleticism that comes with it. At 30 years old, Wade is reaching a point where he has to adjust his game to a changing set of skills and abilities.
However, Wade's work has not focused solely on his shot. In fact, he's particularly focused on another aspect of his mechanics: the catch. From Ira Winderman for the South Florida Sun Sentinel (via PBT):
In the wake of a season where he felt his jumper got away from him, Wade said upon further review it was not as much about how he was shooting the ball as how he was going through that motion. Now, with training camp three weeks away, he believes he has a grasp on the situation.
"I have one of the best mid-range shots in the league," he said. "But, obviously, when you have different injuries, it makes you change a little bit. So it's just about getting back to that comfort of it and finding out where you are now.
"My midrange game is very important to me. The biggest thing is coming out of my pull-up without losing the ball and just making sure it comes through my hand the right way. When it comes to my shot exactly, I don't have a bad shot. There's other reasons why I come up short a lot. So it's just trying to work the kinks out."
Wade said he now has a shooting coach lined up. But what he doesn't have, at least at the moment, are his legs, having only recently returned to court work following his July 9 arthroscopic knee surgery.
By "catch," Wade is referring to more than just catch-and-shoot situations — the issue is really more about how he brings the ball up into his motion in all shooting situations. It's similar to how a hitter in baseball must work on both his step as well as the swing itself.
When we talk about shooting, we typically look at the most obvious elements of the play: squaring up, elevating, releasing, following through, etc. What Wade recognizes, though, is that athletic motions are interrelated. In other words, a player can't shoot properly if he doesn't first get himself in a good position to shoot, just as a point guard can't make a good pass if he doesn't first get himself a usable passing lane. It's a holistic view of the sport, not one where skills can be isolated as if one didn't affect the other.
As Wade ages, then, changing his game won't just be a matter of adding and discarding various aspects of his game. He'll have to consider how those individual parts relate to each other and the kind of player he wants to be. He can't flip a switch and become a different kind of player — the transition never ends.