Warriors coach Mark Jackson endeared himself to Heat fans Wednesday when he called Dwyane Wade the third-best shooting guard to ever play the game.
“I see a guy that I love as a basketball fan,” Jackson said. “To me, he’s the third-best shooting guard to play the game [behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant].
“People think I’m crazy for saying that. He’s a winner. He competes. He’s an underrated passer. We all know he can score the ball. It’s a lot of fun to watch him on the basketball court.”
Recent games suggest that Wade has pushed through his postsurgery cobwebs, but he said after the Heat’s morning shootaround that he’s still a few months from being 100 percent.
“Hopefully, if I do everything right and everything goes well, then hopefully by All-Star weekend or after All-Star, I’m at my peak of the best I’ve been all season and I can take it into the playoffs,” Wade said. “You got to work extra, though. You’ve got to put in a lot of hard work, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Prior to Golden State, Wade was 20 or 25 from the field in consecutive games and shot a career-best 84.6 percent against the Hawks. His points-per-game average is back above 20.
“I’ve been focusing a lot on my body and stretching my body,” he said. “My goal coming in was let’s have a plan. Let’s see how the first 20 games go and then the next 20 games go.”
Talk in the Bay Area is that Warriors guard Stephen Curry should be an early MVP candidate. Golden State is fifth in the Western Conference, and Curry is having a career year. Before Wednesday, he was averaging 20 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
“He’s definitely the MVP for their team for sure,” LeBron James said. “And the way that they’re playing as a team, he can get a few votes, of course. It’s early in the season. If you stopped it right now, no one would ever say they would be where they are — second in the division and the middle of the pack in the playoffs — so he’s playing at a high clip.”
James said he first became a fan of Curry when the Warriors’ point guard was playing in college at Davidson. Injuries limited Curry last season but in the last 20 games he is one of three players — including James and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook — to average at least 25 points, five assists and five rebounds.
“I watched him a lot in college, and I knew what he was capable of doing,” James said. “He’s playing at a high level right now, and health has a lot to do with it.”
Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson combined for 110 three-pointers in the Warriors first 21 games.
“Those guys can shoot it,” Wade said. “They have those green lights that I used to have. And that’s awesome.”
Wade was then asked if he now had a yellow blinking light. “Mine?” Wade said. “I don’t know what kind of light it is.”