Barry Jackson

So who’s the better Heat fit with Dragic? Wade or Waiters

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters drives against Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wed., Feb. 1, 2017.
Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters drives against Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wed., Feb. 1, 2017. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

A few quick Heat notes on a Tuesday:

• If Dwyane Wade should, for whatever reason, opt out of a Bulls contract that would pay him $23.8 million next season (and Wade has been publicly non-committal about the issue), then the best unrestricted free agent shooting guards this summer likely would be Wade, Dion Waiters and JJ Redick.

Redick is expected to stay with the Clippers, according to multiple reports.

So would the Heat be better off with Wade or Waiters?

It’s a fascinating question that doesn’t need to be answered until May or June, if at all.

Wade is still the better player, by most tangible measures (but not three-point shooting). But at 35, he’s also 10 years older than Waiters. And he might expect the type of big money that the Heat probably would be reluctant to pay him.

Yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, considering Wade might not even opt out (though Wade himself has left open the possibility of doing so).

But here’s something to keep in mind as the remainder of the season plays out for the Heat and for Wade’s Bulls:

• When Waiters and Goran Dragic are on the court together this season, the Heat entered this week averaging 106 points per 48 minutes, shooting 47 percent and 44.7 percent on threes.

Since the Heat started this stretch of 16 wins in 19 games, Miami has averaged 116 points per 48 and shot 51 percent overall and 50 percent on threes when Waiters and Dragic are paired together.

Last season, the Heat averaged 101 points per 48 when Dragic and Wade played together and shot 48 percent but just 31 percent on threes.

And whereas the Heat was often better when Dragic played without Wade than with him, it’s the opposite with Waiters.

Last season, Miami was plus 148 when Dragic played without Wade, plus 54 with Dragic and Wade together. This season, Miami is plus 19 with Dragic and Waiters together, -41 when Dragic plays without Waiters.

None of this can be overstated, because there are three other players on the court with Dragic/Waiters or Dragic/Wade. But it’s all interesting food for thought.

• One other thing: From a pure statistical comparison, Wade, 35, is averaging 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shooting a career-low 43.6 percent and 32 percent on threes.

Waiters, 25, is averaging 15.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 41.9 percent shooting and 38.9 percent on threes.

Even though Waiters has played very well for the past six weeks, Wade has also been very good.

Over the past 15 games, Waiters is averaging 18.8 points and shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 41.8 percent on threes.

Wade, over those last 15 games, is at 22 points per game, 47.7 percent from the field, and 31.3 percent on threes.

Couple other quick things:

• Center Willie Reed, who missed Monday’s game with ankle bursitis, is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s home game against Philadelphia.

• Former Heat point guard Norris Cole has resurfaced with Oklahoma City. Mario Chalmers, off an Achilles’ injury last year, remains unemployed.

• For the latest on the Chris Bosh situation, please click here.

For my post today with Dolphins news, please click here.

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