In this morning’s Fundamentals, I linked to a story by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman that quoted Dwyane Wade as saying “My play is MVP caliber.” That may have been an understatement. Neil Paine of the always excellent Basketball-Reference.com Blog ran the numbers and found that “Wade is using a full 37% of the Heat’s possessions,” which is the highest possession % of all-time.
Wade’s current rate would top Bryant’s amazing 2005-06 season as the highest-workload offensive season in the NBA since 1974, and what’s even more remarkable is the fact that Wade is doing it at such a high level of efficiency.
In the years that we can calculate this stat, nobody has ever taken on 37% of their team’s possessions, and only MJ has used more than 35% with an efficiency level as high as Wade has posted this season.
The Miami Heat are 12-9 so it’s difficult to imagine the Heat hitting the requisite 50-win mark for MVP consideration. But Wade has clearly expanded his game. Wade is leading the league in scoring, ranks third in steals, and through 21 games of the season, is no longer dependent upon getting to the cup. Sixty percent of Wade’s field goal attempts were considered “jumpshots” in 2005-2006 — the year Wade captured Finals MVP. Wade connected on 39% of those attempts.
Asked to comment on his aresenal this season, Wade said:
“My mid-range game, I’m more comfortable in that than I’ve ever been.”
“If I shoot 15 in a game, I feel like I should hit at least 13. I don’t know if I will, but I feel like I should.”
The numbers support Wade’s increased confidence. Sixty-three percent of Wade’s field goal attempts have been jumpshots this season. Wade is shooting a blistering 45.4% from mid-range and beyond. What does this mean? It means the NBA may be in big, big trouble. From endline to endline, LeBron James is the fastest player in the league. But when it comes to stop-and-go explosiveness, Wade is head and shoulders above the competition. I’ve never seen anyone split defenders on the pick-and-roll like Wade does.
With the defensive rule changes prohibiting all forms of handchecking, it’s next to impossible to keep lighting quick guards out the paint. Defenses are forced to pack the paint and go under screens in order to stop penetration. But if Wade is nailing the long-ball, it’s pick-your-poison. The MVP award is out of the question, but Miami is going to be a tough out come playoff time.