Fun With Numbers: Defending The Dwyane Wade ‘Stan’ Alliance
I get it. I’m the Dwyane Wade apologist – a “stan,” if you will. I’m constantly getting into twitter battles with nerds about usage rates, plus-minus and whatever other advanced stat these mama’s boys have come up with this week.
In between their heated Dungeons and Dragons chat room sessions and Superman vs. Goku debates, these laptop warriors dig up every nugget of information they can find to tear down the greatest athlete in the history of South Florida sports.
Why do they hate Dwyane Wade? Is it the hot wife? The athletic physique? The ability to interact with human beings in a real-life setting without the benefit of a wizard’s robe and magic wands?
Who knows? Although, what I have found is that the best way to attack a nerd is not with wedgies and screenshots of their browser history, but with their own limp weapon of choice: Numbers.
Now, the army of Wade haters out there will throw out their fancy stats and shame you into questioning your own two eyes. You might see a Wade at 34 years old putting up solid numbers, leading his team to a decent record and occasionally dazzling the crowd with a “vintage” move.
The twitter intelligentsia will tell you your eyes are lying. That Wade’s usage rate is too high and how he’s killing his team’s offense. That his plus-minus is blah, blah, blah…
You see, the problem with many of these “facts” they’re throwing your way, is that they’re based on individual performance. But, last time I checked, basketball is a team game. That means 10 guys on the floor – nine if you count Gerald Green.
The things a player can and cannot do are affected by who he’s on the floor with at any given time. Crazy, right? I know. Remember how great Norris Cole looked at times playing with Lebron James? Teammates are kind of important.
So, taking that into consideration: What are the Heat’s best lineups? You know, an actual group of players participating in basketball activities and not what one guy does – by himself on an island – without taking into consideration the other nine guys running around him in color-coordinated uniforms.
It’s funny you should ask, because those lineups almost always include Dwyane Wade. Of course they do, why else would I be writing this?
Since the All-Star break, Wade is part of five of the top six lineups in offensive rating, four of the top six lineups in defensive rating, and four of the top six lineups in net rating.
Here’s screenshot proof (minimum of 20 minutes, out of 12 lineups):
What do all these numbers mean? To put it simply, when Miami is putting forth their most effective efforts, Wade is on the court.
So, why does it sometimes look like the offense bogs down when Wade is on the floor?
Consider this: Erik Spoelstra likes to have either Wade or Goran Dragic in the game at all times. So, when Dragic is resting and in the absence of Beno Udrih, Wade is playing a large part of his minutes without an NBA caliber point guard.
Sure, Josh Richardson has been a revelation and has performed his role admirably, but he is not a point guard. Neither is Joe Johnson or Justise Winslow. The playmaking falls onto Wade’s shoulders, and although he is capable, he’s not quite on the level of Dragic.
There are other factors, including how Wade at times defaults to his mid-range game instead of attacking the paint. But it’s an 82-game season and he’s getting older, hence, throwing your body at seven-footers on a Wednesday night in Orlando isn’t the most prudent decision.
Is Wade perfect? Nope. Are there times where he should defer to Dragic even more than he already has? Probably. But at the end of the day, when you fold up that laptop, turn off the anime and pause yourself from polishing your mint condition action figures, take a second to watch the game.
Stop overthinking everything and enjoy the greatest thing that has happened to South Florida sports since Dan Marino and appreciate how he’s still doing it in a Heat uniform.
Take pride in a Heat organization that has survived the loss of an all-time great (Mario Chalmers) and is still vying for home court advantage in at least one playoff series.
But, most importantly, quit hating.