Could Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose play well together?
Let me make one thing clear up front: I’m not saying Dwyane Wade is coming to Chicago. There’s simply no way to know how this summer’s free agent bonanza is going to turn out. However, until he either re-signs with the Miami Heat or signs with another team, it remains a viable possibility. And hey, there are longer shots than D-Wade coming back to his home town, right?
Now, when I’m chatting on ESPN’s Daily Dime Live, the question I’m asked most often is: Which free agent(s) would I most like to see the Bulls sign this summer. My first two picks are always Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, usually in that order. The response from most DDL chatters is usually something along the lines of: “Wade could never play alongside Derrick Rose. They both need the ball in their hands.”
It’s a reasonable point to make. Derrick Rose is a scoring point guard, and Wade functions as Miami’s “three guard.” And the numbers seem to indicate Dwyane is a dominator of the ball. Check it: Wade has finished in the top five in Usage Percentage in three of the past five seasons, and he leads the league this season as well. Yes, ahead of LeBron James. Rose, meanwhile, currently ranks 12th.
Unless David Stern makes some radical rule changes during the offseason, we have to assume that NBA teams will still be allowed only one basketball per possession. So two guys who are always holding onto the rock couldn’t possibly work in tandem…could they?
The reality is this: You never really know until you actually see player combinations in action. Therefore, a better question is: Are Wade and Rose capable of playing together. Are the necessary skills and mindset there for both of these talented young men?
Personally, I think they are.
I’ve watched every Bulls game this season, and I’m here to tell you that Rose moves really well without the basketball. Want proof? I’ve got some:
The same is true of Wade:
Wade has been something of a one-man show in Miami, but that’s always been more out of necessity than nature. He’s proven he can play off the ball in All-Star Games and, more notably, while playing for the USA Men’s Basketball Team in the 2008 Olympics. In fact, check out this little nugget that appeared in the Chicago Tribune earlier this season:
“An Eastern Conference executive believes that Dwyane Wade would excel alongside Derrick Rose in Chicago. ‘I’ve heard some people say both need the ball in their hands too much to be effective,’ the executive told the Chicago Tribune. ‘I don’t see that as an issue at all. Wade doesn’t get credit for how well he moves without the ball. And great players always find a way to make it work.'”
The same is true of Rose. If you check the numbers, you’ll notice Rose’s Usage Percentage was five points lower last season when he was playing alongside Ben Gordon. You’ll also notice that Derrick’s presence wasn’t exactly crimping Gordon’s style: In 2008-09, Ben had his second-best scoring season (20.4 PPG, 45% from the field, 41% in threes) while setting career-highs in Offensive Rating (112 points per 100 possessions), True Shooting Percentage (.573) and Effective Field Goal Percentage (.521).
So yeah, I think Rose can play alongside another big-time scorer who needs his touches.
Not only that, Derrick would benefit from having another scorer/playmaker around who could take the pressure off him to do all the creating. And Wade — who regularly finishes in the top 10 in turnovers — might appreciate turning over ball-handling duties to a capable teammate.
It’s no secret that Miami has been searching for a servicable point guard since Wade’s second season. And I mean desperately searching. Here’s a list of the point guards the Heat have used since the 2004-05 campaign: Damon Jones, Keyon Dooling, Jason Williams, Gary Payton, Smush Parker, Chris Quinn, Marcus Banks, Blake Ahern, Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo, and Rafer Alston.
You don’t think D-Wade would like a little stability from that position?
Rose and Wade need each other. Well, okay, maybe “need” is a strong word. But as a dynamic backcourt duo, they could greatly benefit from playing together. Both are fast, strong and almost unreasonable athletic. They’re both good teammates and willing passers. They can both thrive in halfcourt sets or in transition. Each man can create his own shot in one-on-one situations or move effectively without the ball. Rose needs another scorer to ease his burden as the initiator of Chicago’s offense, and Wade could use a point guard so he won’t have to keep doing absolutely everything for his team.
I’m telling you, it could work. It may never happen, but it could work.