Dwyane Wade is in the midst of an important offseason. Pat Riley challenged Wade to reinvent himself this offseason, meaning Riley wants Wade to drop some weight and develop his game. Here’s why this is important for the Heat’s goal of winning their third title in as many years.
It appears that Wade is taking Riley’s suggestion to heart, as he has started working with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant‘s former trainer, Tim Grover. Wade will train with Grover for six weeks leading up to the Heat’s training camp next month.
Wade’s last two postseason outings were filled with questions marks. When the Heat won their second title in franchise history in 2012, Wade was playing with a knee injury that would eventually require surgery. It was evident that he was not the same player. To his credit, he showed flashes of excellence in each series Miami played. In the 2013 postseason, bone bruises and knee tendinitis slowed Wade down enough that he was forced to miss some action in the Milwaukee series. He averaged a career low 15.9 PPG during the Heat’s second consecutive title last season.
When Wade is healthy, he is a top-tier talent, but he has failed to find a way to keep himself in the conversation about the league’s best off-guards. This is where Tim Grover’s expertise comes into play.
“I don’t train my clients to be good as new, I want them to be better than ever,” Grover told ESPN last month. “That’s the goal for Dwyane.”
The benchmark for Wade is to drop to 212 pounds. Pat Riley is confident that with the weight loss, Wade will become more mobile and reduce the strain on his knees.
Wade is an ultimate competitor, so it is only fair to assume that he will rise to Riley’s challenge and will respond in a big way next season.
Wade’s plan to become healthy seems solid, but some might ask how he plans to reinvent his game. He has produced outstanding regular season performances for over decade now, so what does he need to do?
If Wade can limit his slashes to the rim, and knock down midrange jump shots more consistently, the chances of him becoming injured drop significantly. It’ll also force teams to game plan for him in different ways. Wade shot the best field goal percentage of his career last season at 52.1 percent. With the improvement of his jump shot, Wade can increase on that mark, and add some longevity to his career.
If the Heat want to accomplish the near impossible, and appear in four straight NBA Finals in an effort to 3-peat (™ Pat Riley), Wade’s success this upcoming season will be huge. LeBron James is, without a doubt, going to find ways to improve off of his historic season last year, so it is Wade’s turn to upgrade his game.
This is a high-priority year for Wade. The state of the “Big 3” depends on him. At the end of the day, LeBron is interested in winning, and it’s doubtful he will want to play with a team where he is, again, carrying the load by himself.
This could potentially be a contract year for Wade, as he has an opt-out clause for this summer in his current deal. If he performs well and proves he is still one of the best shooting guards in the league, Wade can possibly see more money coming his way.
Pat Riley, the Heat organization and Wade’s teammates are all confident that Wade will answer the call to better himself.
Will Wade come back better next season after working with Grover?
Follow Joseph on Twitter at @kingdrocc.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.