Dwyane Wade

Anything for the Miami Heat, and everything to remain an important part of a championship team. Maybe the answer to the problems Dwyane Wade has been having with his knees over the last couple of seasons is simply losing weight.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Wade’s summer plans to drop some weight are in full effect, going by some of the photos he’s been posting online.

Wade wasn’t his usual self last season, sitting out games more than ever (playing in 69), averaging only 21.2 points per game, his lowest production since his rookie season. In the postseason, it got even worse, as the Heat used him only when necessary, and Wade himself seemed to step up and get something out of him that wasn’t there before only when there was no other choice. He played 35.5 minutes a game, his lowest playoff average since entering the league, averaging only 15.5 points per game, also his lowest.

As part of the plan to keep the Miami Heat and especially the core around LeBron James as title-worthy, Pat Riley has asked Wade to try and drop some weight before the beginning of next season in order to take the load off of his hurting knees, as a surgery after the 2012 NBA finals wasn’t enough to take away the pain. Wade himself even said that there’s not much to do about the pain, and he’ll just have to suck it up.

Part of the plan is also to slightly change his playing style, and possibly rely more mid-range shooting instead of constantly attacking the basket, which after a decade of being one of the best at it in the league, the toll that his body has taken is showing its wear & tear too grimly, as Wade should be in a better physical state at this stage of his career.

Wade did show up for the Finals in full effect, especially in three of the last four games, scoring 32 points in game 4, 25 points in game 5, 14 points in game 6 and a tremendous 23 points, 10 rebounds performance in the series clincher. There’s still plenty of elite basketball left in Wade, but it’s matter of making sure he has enough of it left in him when the playoffs begin, while not losing too much of their regular season dominance as he rests more than ever before.

Like everything else in the NBA, it’s a game of compromises and something of a juggling act for the coaches and management. A healthy, lighter and rested Dwyane Wade might be the main difference between clinching the three-peat or signaling the end of the Big Three era in Miami after four years.

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