The Cleveland Cavaliers had an extremely busy offseason with a lot of change. Kyrie Irving requested a trade and was sent to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas and the Cavaliers also signed Dwyane Wade after he was bought out by the Chicago Bulls. It has been a bit of a rough start to the season for the Cavaliers, although they seem to be figuring things out.
Wade was brought in to help score the basketball and take pressure off of LeBron James. He was unable to find his rhythm in the starting lineup and requested a move to the bench. Since taking over the leading scorer role off the bench, Wade has found himself and is finally back to being a legitimate scoring threat.
Over the last six games, Wade has averaged 15.8 points per game for the Cavaliers. He has become a much more aggressive scorer, while also becoming a facilitator and leader for the second unit.
— NBA (@NBA) December 3, 2017
Cleveland has needed the type of production that Wade has shown off the bench. Derrick Rose was expected to be a major impact player, but he has been dealing with nagging injuries for most of the season. Thomas has not returned from a hip injury that has kept him out all season either.
James and company have won 11 straight games following last night’s 116-111 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. It has been an impressive stretch, to say the least, although the Cavaliers do still have some issues that could haunt them come playoff time if they are not fixed.
One of their biggest issues early on this season was bench scoring. Wade has helped fix that in a big way and will continue playing in that role for the foreseeable future. His willingness and desire to come off the bench have spoken volumes about his development as a person as well.
"I’m not really coming in worrying about my statistics or numbers. Fifteen years in the league, I don’t care about that no more. I’ve done all that. For me, it’s about being a part of something special.”
– Dwyane Wade pic.twitter.com/0KQAJ5191Y
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationNet) December 1, 2017
During the tenure together with the Miami Heat, Wade and James were the top two players on the team. Thinking about having either one of them come off the bench was never an option. Wade has moved on from being a superstar to becoming a top-notch role player and he is fitting into his new role well.
Whether the Cavaliers will be a serious championship contender at the end of the season remains to be seen. That being said, if Wade can continue producing like he has recently, the Cavaliers are going to be a tough team for anyone in the Eastern Conference to defeat.
Expect to see Wade continue dominating for the Cavaliers’ bench throughout the remainder of the season. He may not be a superstar anymore, but he is still an above average scorer. Wade isn’t the most important player for the Cavaliers at this point in the season, but he might just be the X-Factor to their championship hopes.