There's no concrete evidence to show that Dwyane Wade is injured. All we know is that the Miami Heat star does not look like he has in year's past. In fact, it's been a couple of seasons now in which Wade has looked different. Last year, Wade battled a knee injury for most of the season and eventually had surgery in the offseason. Could there be some lingering effects there this season?
Kurt Hellin of NBC's Pro Basketball Talk suggested there might be a bigger issue to Wade's woes than just a slump. Hellin took a deeper look into the stats and discovered Wade's PER is its lowest since his rookie season. His shooting percentage is at its lowest point since 2008. Hellin also points out that in situations where Wade's skills should show through clearly (in iso and post-up situations), he is struggling.
Does this all mean that Wade is injured? Not necessarily. Wade is no longer a young man in basketball years. He will be 31 years old in January. The NBA is a young man's game. See the rise of the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Kobe Bryant is still dominating at 34 years old. But even Bryant has shown signs of his age. For Wade, injuries could be part of the problem, but declining production due to age is also another possibility.
Wade is still averaging 19.4 points per game - a decent amount. Yet, it's his lowest average output since his rookie season. The Heat will still have success with Wade on the floor, but they can't afford any further decline. Once that happens, teams do not have to focus as much on Wade and can turn almost all of their attention to LeBron James.
If Wade is dealing with issues related to his knee, then hopefully he can pull out of this slump with some rest or treatment. If this is an issue exclusively related to an aging player losing a step, the Heat may be in trouble. It's still early in the season. We'll see where Wade goes from here.
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