What can Dwyane Wade’s addition do for the Heat?
TNT analysts Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber weighed in on that topic on recent days, with Barkley seemingly the least optimistic of the group.
Barkley, who has been somewhat stingy in his praise of Wade in recent years, very briefly addressed the Heat’s acquisition of Wade on TNT last week, saying it’s “not 2010” and predicting that Detroit and Philadelphia will make the playoffs and that either Miami or Indiana will not.
But Webber offered a more optimistic bent on a TNT conference call on Tuesday promoting its All-Star coverage this weekend.
“As far as D-Wade, there’s not anyone on that team I would rather take the last shot in the playoffs,” Webber told me. “There’s not anyone I would want [more] with the ball in their hands at the end because he can get [Goran] Dragic a better shot maybe than Dragic can get for himself. Only because the respect factor is there and you know Dwyane Wade is capable of one great play.
“That’s all you ask of a guy in the playoffs is not to play the whole game great, but to come in and be a great DH.
“I think D-Wade, along with leadership in locker room and along with giving them confidence and along with being that second coach on the floor, I think he can absolutely play great in spurts, not like he used to be, but great in spurts. You never know what that can do in the playoffs because it only takes one great play.”
Of the Heat’s postseason chances, Webber said: “If you watched the way they finished the year last year, and how well they’re coached and how they play together, I think they are a dangerous matchup for anybody in the playoffs. They are definitely going to wear someone down for the next round. ... The ceiling depends on who they play.”
Miller said Wade’s value in the Heat’s locker room cannot be underestimated.
“Not so much the impact he will have on the floor,” Miller said. “In my opinion, he still has some left in the tank in certain games. Once you get to a certain age, there’s only so much your body could do. The biggest impact D-Wade is going to have is in that locker room, on the practice court, on the plane, on the buses, them seeing him and the belief with three championship rings and the experience he and Udonis Haslem have, to me that’s going to be the biggest payoff of Pat Riley bringing Dwyane Wade back to South Beach.
“You have a young team down there, a little green around the edges. When you bring a first ballot Hall of Famer to the locker room, a guy that has hit so many big shots and has been the face of your franchise, now you start pinning those shoulders back a little bit and now you start walking more upright. Those young players are going to feed off his knowledge and his wisdom. To me, that’s the biggest impact of bringing Dwyane Wade back.”
He said the Heat “absolutely can finish fifth or sixth” in the East.
Here are lots of Tuesday Heat developments from Toronto, including Erik Spoelstra on the issue of starting Wade or bringing him off the bench and Wade’s thoughts on that and other things.