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THE WADE CONUNDRUM

Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Jan 28 2014 @ 3:12 am In Miami Heat | No Comments

This has been a calm, and in many ways boring season for the Miami Heat.  The team is just over halfway through the 13-14 season and they are pretty much already locked in to the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.  As the Heat are looking for their third consecutive NBA Title, and fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, they don’t appear to be too concerned about seeding.  Miami is confident, and rightfully so.  But there is one big concern surrounding the Heat; Dwyane Wade, his health, and the puzzle it poses for both this season and the future.

During his time in Miami LeBron James has established himself as the best basketball player on the planet.  Gone are the questions about mental toughness, his ability to perform in the clutch, and his lack of a championship.  Yet there is a major question out there.  Can LeBron win without Wade?  The answer at this point is unknown.  James never won(NBA Title) in Cleveland, and has never won a big-time playoff series in Miami without his partner in crime.  The last couple of years DWade has fought through injuries, most notably his knees, but this season is probably the biggest concern for Bron and his teammates.  The baller formerly known as “Flash” has already missed 13 of the team’s 44 games and on Sunday against the Spurs, Wade came off the bench for the first time in six years.  This raised eyebrows both on South Beach, as well as around the country.  Coach Eric Spoelstra has stated that this was Dwyane’s decision and the primary focus right now for the Heat is keeping #3 healthy.  Now comes the conundrum.  If Miami expects to 3-peat, how much does Wade need to play in order to be himself come playoff time?  Can Miami win a big game without him?  LeBron may be the NBA MVP, but Dwyane Wade is both the best, and most popular player in franchise history.  Coach Spo is going to be forced to find the proper balance of  time on the court and rest for D3.  He also has to put the team in the best position for the future.  Does he need to let James win a title without too much help from his buddy, so that when LeBron opts out after this season, he won’t leave simply out of fear that life in Miami without Wade won’t be the same from a title contending perspective.  Of course, he also can’t alienate Dwyane either.  This is a player coach relationship that goes all the way back to 2003, Wade’s rookie year.

The problems and questions facing the Heat are enviable.  Plenty of teams would like to have all of these variables in place as they look to win multiple championships.  Miami fans are spoiled though.  If the Heat lost the Finals on a last second shot in Game 7 in OT, the fans in Miami would still find someone to throw blame at.  Three years ago, three players joined forces to win titles.  The Big 3 have succeeded.  After a while, many referred to them as the Big 2, since Bosh simply wasn’t playing at the level of James and Wade.  Now as they look for their third straight title, the most important piece is Wade, and of course his health.  The past, present, and yes the future of the organization revolve around him.  Some things never change.

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