If you judge Dwyane Wade’s game 3 performance against the Chicago Bulls by superstar standards, you could probably argue that he stood for a sub-par performance. When a player of Wade’s caliber puts up a stat line of 10 points, five assists and four rebounds in 35 minutes of play, it won’t really knock you off your feet. But Wade was brilliant in his own way Friday night, with his post game being the highlight.
Wade did not force anything and converted on five of his meager seven attempts on the evening. Check out his shot chart below.
Chris Bosh had a huge game, while Norris Cole was fantastic off the bench. The two players along with LeBron James carried most of the load for the team and are the ones stealing the headlines, but Wade supported the team through the whole game. When Miami couldn’t get to the basket or hit a shot, feeding Dwyane in the post was an effective alternative.
Ever since the Big 3 got together, all three players have constantly adjusted their games. The presence of two other superstars forced Wade to develop a very solid, yet somehow still underrated, post game. Up until last season, post-ups made up a very small part of Wade’s offense, even though he had been a threat in the low block even prior to that.
This year, 10.3% of Wade’s offensive possessions ended with shot-attempts in the post, per Synergy Sports. A Wade post-up is worth 0.96 points per play (PPP), which ranked 18th in the league in the regular season.
Against the Chicago Bulls, Wade has been in the post more than any of his teammates. Without a dominant center who plays with his back to the basket, James and Wade often ask for the ball down low. Miami has not posted up that much against Chicago, but a Wade post-up in this series is worth 1 PPP so far.
Here are a few clips of Wade posting up in game 3.
The first clip is interesting in a couple of ways. First of all, the play exposes exactly why Wade is so effective as a post player. Compared to most other guards, Wade is very athletic and his supreme strength allows him to bully his opponents. When he fights for position in the low post with Marco Belinelli, he almost effortlessly holds his opponent away and makes himself available for the entry pass. While Belinelli recovered and contested the shot, Wade is capable of hitting high-difficulty shots just like he did in the play.
In the second clip, you can once again see why Wade creates a mismatch in the post. Yet again, he overpowers his defender and makes himself available for the entry pass.
Wade simply pushes off and as soon as he receives the ball, the way to the basket is wide open thanks to Miami’s terrific spacing. Joakim Noah is out at the perimeter, and no one can really contest the shot. Both Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson are aware of the situation, and the latter comes over to help, but Wade calmly knocks down the little floater.
In the third clip, Wade displays some of his playmaking ability in the post. He asks James to cut to the weak side and forces his way into the paint. The Bulls choose to pack the paint which leaves LeBron open in the corner, who knocks the shot down despite fumbling the ball.
Wade is clearly a mismatch in the post, and the Heat would love nothing else than to let him work his magic down low against this gritty Bulls’ defense.
Vytis Lasaitis covers the NBA for FanSided.com and King James Gospel. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis