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Winderman: Wade says he, LeBron are similar, can play together

Jun 14, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (L) and teammate LeBron James wait to leave the stadium after losing the NBA Championship to the Dallas Mavericks in Miami Reuters

MIAMI — Yes, Dwyane Wade said Tuesday as the Heat emptied out their lockers at AmericanAirlines arena, he and LeBron James play similar styles.

And no, Wade said, they’re not changing.

Amid post-Finals debate about whether the duo possess complementary or redundant styles, an examination exacerbated by Jeff Van Gundy’s on-camera musing during the NBA Finals about a possible trade of one of the Heat’s perimeter stars, Wade said the dual dilemma for opposing defenses was the goal from the start.

“I’m 29 years of what I’ve been doing,” Wade said, somewhat incredulous that after winning an Eastern Conference championship and coming within two wins of an NBA title this suddenly has surfaced as an issue. “I mean, obviously you try to get better in areas, but you can’t just say, ‘OK, since you’re a driver, I’m just going to become a shooter.’ That’s not what the organization wants me to be, that’s not we want him to be and it’s not what our fans want.

“Being similar players, that makes us dynamic, that makes us a special team, because we have similar capabilities and put pressure on defenses certain ways. So we wouldn’t change that at all.”

What will change, Wade said, is learning how to best utilize the similar skills sets, avoiding situations such as when James often was reduced to spectator during the Finals against the Mavericks.

“I thought we did a good job of getting better as the season went on, obviously from the first game to the end, coming from being individually good players to being good teammates, and being able to play off each other,” he said. “And that’s only going to get better as we get more comfortable with each other, as our game continues to grow, and obviously for LeBron he’ll be more comfortable in his surroundings.”

To Wade, the Finals were a hiccup, with the Eastern Conference semifinals more of the goal, when he averaged 30.2 points over those five games against Boston, and James 28.

“I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to just make that adjustment, getting in this new situation,” he said of James. “So he’ll be even more comfortable next year. Just with time, you get better with age, you get better with time. And I’m sure we will all just get more comfortable playing with each other, have a little bit more confidence coming into the season knowing we know each other and not trying to figure each other out.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

  1. nfl25 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    i just realized that i hate the heat more than heat fans love the heat. when america hates the heat more than the heat fans love the heat, you have a huge problem. like most people hate the yankees and people used to hate the cowboys when they were really good. but yankeefans and cowboys fans are die hard fans. this heat situation is strange.

    when u watch the heat in the finals and dudes wearing white (perfectly ironed) shirts in the first two rows dont cheer when wade dunks on someone, something is wrong.

  2. jadyn3 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Wow…it’s not enough to hate the Heat, now you presume that your feelings are a barometer for their fans devotion?! Lol…are you serious? It’s interesting that the Heat inspire so much emotion in you. I’m sorry it’s negative emotion…seems like it’s kind of a waste. Why don’t you just put all that feeling into just loving your favorite? I don’t see what it is in DWade’s comments that made you mention how much you hate the Heat, unless you resent the possibility that they may be proud of what they achieved this season just getting to the finals despite all the hate and ridicule directed at them because they didn’t win the title…

  3. jadyn3 - Jun 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Just so it’s clear…Heat fans love Heat. We do. We had a great time watching them play this season. We have faith that we will get our parade, but even if we don’t we will still love our team. More than you hate them. We don’t care if you hate them. In fact, the ridiculousness of some of your reasons make us laugh. Wade, Bosh and James are great players…your hate doesn’t make that not true, and we are still proud and happy to have them. Ok? Don’t worry about how much we love our team.

    • tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:47 PM

      Just like ESPN……

      All heat, all the time.

      Hey, didn’t the Mavs wn?

      It’s been nice being here, but you kids buy the sizzle and not the steak. On to a site where people understand hoops and not the soap opera.

    • tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      jadyn3,

      I know Miami love the Heat…..

      That’s why he fans sold off 15-20% of their seats to Mavs fans during the playoffs….including behind the Heat bench.

      These 3 shoe salesmen couldn’t be playing in a more perfect city.

      • LPad - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM

        you do realize that most of those seats were from professional ticket scalpers who sold them on stubhub, right? It happens in just about every stadium/arena in the country.

      • savocabol1 - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM

        Just to add my two cents in here. Every home playoff game the Cavs had the past few years you would NEVER find anyone with the other team’s gear on. Crazy to think that we actually came to watch the Cavs play and support our city at the same time.

        I am willing to be you can say the same thing for most of the other playoff teams besides NY and LA.

      • savocabol1 - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        *bet

    • professoressadiesel - Jun 15, 2011 at 7:19 AM

      Can we stop saying that Bosh is a great player?

      Yes, he happens to knock down a lot of wide open jumpers, but that hardly makes him great.

  4. thekingdave - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Another Winderman exclusive…sike. Stop putting your name at the beginning of each post, they shine no brighter than any other writer here.

    To the loyal heat fan, that’s cool you aren’t a front runner and do indeed live your team, but recognize you’re in the extreme minority. Miami’s notorious for having arguably the most passive fanbase in America. To suggest otherwise is pure lunacy.

  5. dirtybird2020 - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Miami’s a s$&t hole, who cares about that team or their fans! Be a better place if florida just broke off and floated to cuba, they might love you queers too! The only good things that go to florida are hurricanes, not a big 3, miami fans blow like the hurricanes that go thru that dump of a state! Let it set in you losers can blog again next year when u get promised another championship

  6. tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    No articles on he Champion Mavs today.

    Just articles on the 3 heat shoe salesmen.

    This must be espn2.com

  7. thetooloftools - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I just can’t wait for tomorrow because someone on The Heat says something stupider then the day before, every day.

  8. savocabol1 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Forgive me if I am wrong but wasn’t this same headline used when the Heat first came together before the season started?

    Thanks for the update Winderman….

  9. scir91onyoutube - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    i hope there is a lockout so the owners lose money. paying $1 to $20 million a year to an athlete is ridiculous. paying $20 for the cheapest seat in a boring NBA game is even more ridiculous.

    • delius1967 - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:21 AM

      The owners are already losing money. That’s why there might be a lockout in the first place.

  10. mistercharitystripe34 - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Wade has adjusted his game a bit to where he can play coming off of baseline double-screens and work without the ball. LeBron has yet to figure out other ways to dominate a game other than pure talent and athleticism. James has had a hard time adjusting to what defenses do in late in the post-season. Much like the Heat’s defense of Derrick Rose, a good defensive team can expose your weaknesses and make you get out of your comfort zone. LeBron just happened to make a bunch of dagger 3’s and long jumpers against Boston and Chicago, and couldn’t hit a shot against Dallas.

    Another problem is his tendency to work from beyond the arc just above the key. True SF’s are most effective working between the wings and the low-block, where an athletic and passing F can create havoc for the defense. If LeBron really cares about wanting to win, he’ll work his game into that type of role; posting up defenders and having a capable mid-range shooting game. It’s much easier to make plays from the block/wings than from 27 feet from the rim beyond the arc. Once LeBron can add a mid-range and post-up game (and work on his FT%), he’ll have all the confidence in the world knowing that he has 2-3 ways to destroy a lesser defender(s) in crunch time.

  11. delius1967 - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    I play pickup basketball a couple of times a week. There are a couple of guys who play in the same group, guys who are clearly the cream of the crop, talent-wise. Certainly better than I am, not that that is saying much. Whenever we pick teams, they are usually placed on opposite sides so they can guard each other.

    Their games are very similar: take the ball, ignore the rest of the team, make a drive or spin move, shoot the ball. Some of the other players refer to them as “black holes”, i.e. when they get the ball, the only way it is leaving their hands is a shot or a turnover.

    And you know what? The times that it has happened that they played together, it didn’t really make a difference. In fact I’d say those teams might actually lose more often.

    Obviously, Wade and James aren’t pickup players. And they have a lot more at stake. But in the end, the point is the same: you need complementary players in order to win. Shaq was one of the most dominant players of all time, but you couldn’t win if you played with five Shaqs. The game doesn’t work that way.

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