Practice had long since ended last week, but there was Dwyane Wade — the last player on the floor — working with assistant David Fizdale on polishing his post moves.
Indiana coach Tom Crean, his close friend and former coach at Marquette, pointed out this summer that Wade is “one of the most efficient players to ever play the game.”
But even after finishing seventh in last season’s NBA’s efficiency ratings — he was second or third the previous four years — Wade said in no uncertain terms: “I’ve got to be way more efficient than I’ve ever been.”
Wade, off July’s Ossatron knee treatment, has looked very good — “best I’ve seen him since year one,” LeBron James said earlier in camp — and how his game evolves, at 31, will be fascinating.
The fierce forays to the basket will continue, but he knows continued diversification is critical.
“I’ve got to do different things than I’ve done,” he said earlier in preseason. “I’ve got to be a better post-up player. I’ve got to find ways to be involved when I’m not involved, kind of like I did with the Olympic team. Cut to the basket, rebound.
“I remember when Gary Payton and James Posey were here; they used to do all the defense, I used to do all the offense. Now I’ve got to do way more defense to get to offense. You adapt. When you’re 30, you lose some of your athleticism, but you don’t lose it all. When I’m healthy, I feel I can do anything.”
Wade’s injury-plagued postseason overshadowed this: When he was healthy last season, he was excellent, becoming one of only five shooting guards in the past 30 years to average at least 20 points while shooting at least 52 percent.
But there are areas he knows he needs to improve or maximize:
• He shot well on post-ups (57 for 119, 47.9 percent) but “the post-up is something he can be even greater at,” Crean said. “Going back to age 19, some of our best offense was to post him.
“Because it’s not just the scoring and the free throws, but his ability to pass. The vision that he plays with, it’s a very high level.”
• His midrange game. Wade points to this as the area his efficiency can most improve. He shot 38.5 percent from 10 to 16 feet last season, better than 2012 but down three points from two years ago.
On all jumpers from 17 feet or less, he shot 35.3 percent, according to synergysports.com. He shot 35 percent on isolations, 36.9 percent on jumpers off the dribble.
• Free throws. Wade dropped to 72.5 percent last season, his lowest ever and down from his 76.7 career average.
This and that
• During a drill Monday, assistant coach Juwan Howard banged Heat players with pads on their forays into the lane. That was designed to prepare the Heat for Chicago’s physicality.
“You can’t play lackadaisical against the Bulls,” James said. “They will embarrass you, and you will end up scoring 60 points.”
• Former Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson will officially retire Wednesday when the Heat visits the 76ers.
James on Monday called him “pound for pound, probably the greatest player to ever play.”
• Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team will not watch the Heat receive its championship rings. “That’s their moment,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ll be in the locker room.”