Could Dwyane Wade work in Chicago?

Could this man play alongside Derrick Rose? Absolutely.

Could this man play alongside Derrick Rose? Absolutely.

The question:
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?

Main argument:
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:

Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D

The same is true of Wade:

Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D
Exhibit E

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.


34 Responses to Could Dwyane Wade work in Chicago?

  1. dengsucks April 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    I do not get why people think that Rose and Wade cannot play together. If I’m not mistaken during the draft weren’t people saying that Pat Riley was hoping for Rose to form this super backcourt with Wade. So if they could play together then, why couldn’t they now?

    C-Lo_The_Great April 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    i wouldnt be mad if the bulls were able to pull wade away from miami
    the only thing is they would NEED to sign/trade somebody to come off the bench and shoot threes to shoot threes
    and all this talk about upgrading pf spot
    come on people taj is a workaholic!!!!! let the man start

    bobbysimmons April 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    I just can’t see that working. I watched your presented evidence, but Rose or Wade moving without the ball is a pretty rare occurrence. How often do you see Rose catch and shoot, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen that. All his jump shots are created off the dribble, mostly the same for Wade. If they both worked on their spot-up shooting it may work, but that is not their game. It worked with Gordon because his game was literally all catch and shoot. Before Rose came to the NBA his comparison on was Wade. Joe Johnson would be a better compliment, though honestly I’d take Wade over Johnson any day, but I’d take Bosh over either.

    On a side note, you can kiss the Bulls landing Lebron goodbye. He wears a headband, says he can’t imagine playing without it, which happens to be against the rules in the Bulls organization. The Bulls are uncompromising on that issue too, remember the Ben Wallace incident? Of course I’m being a bit sarcastic, but if the Bulls did actually have a legitimate chance at Lebron, you better believe it’s an issue that will be brought up.

  4. Gerrit April 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    It could definitely work, but doesn’t a team need someone to shoot threes? As currently constructed, the bulls only shooter would be deng, and he doesn’t shoot threes. I guess if you have Rose & Wade, building around them is more important than trying to make Wade “fit.”

    austinpwnz April 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

    Blazers fan here. I’d like to point out that many Blazers fans had similar concerns about Andre Miller and Brandon Roy at the start of this season.

    Now, from the last few months we can see that that’s working pretty darned well. It was rough early in the year, and the adjustment period dragged on because McMillan refused to start Andre, but once they were resigned to working together, Miller and Roy figured out how to play together. Sure, sometimes it’s still one or the other, but it’s worth it just because Roy doesn’t have to carry the team every single game.

    Anyway, I think this is a similar situation. Not that I follow the Bulls closely, but good or great basketball players will figure out how to work together. No question about it in my mind.

    Brandon April 8, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    This is a no-brainer, provided the Bulls add a sharpshooting small forward to space the floor. Rose hits triples at a 26.5 percent clip. D-Wade shoots a pedestrian 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.

    Chicago would get by against two thirds of the league, but good defensive teams, like the Celtics and Magic, would pack the paint and force the Bulls to connect from outside.

    Fortunately, three-point specialists are much easier to find than all-world shooting guards.

    Matt McHale April 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    I completely agree with everybody that the Bulls need to add one or two crack three-point specialists in the offseason…regardless of which (if any) big namers they sign. The lack of long-range shooting has really held this team down this season, and it’s an area that absolutely must be addressed.

    And bobbysimmons, believe me, if LeBron wanted to come to Chicago — which I think won’t happen, but all of this is theoretical — the “no headband” rule would disappear without half a thought.

    reef April 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Good basketball players make it work. With that being said I think the hardest teams to play against is the teams that have starting combo guards at both guard positions.(Remember Gilber Arenas and Larry Hughes in DC not too long ago) Wade and Rose together will do nothing but make them both better players on both sides of the court. It would be the best 1 2 punch in the NBA. No defense would be able to rest. Also, Rose jumpshot and play-making skills will continue to improve regardless of whether Wade comes or not so don’t let that be an issue. Grab a young pure shooter in the draft and maybe a Bosh Boozer Stoudemire or a David Lee and the Bulls would be set for years……..Or we can just get Lebron(hopefull but that was a joke)

    Harry April 9, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    It’s been less than a year and we’re already spelling Ben Gordon’s name wrong?

  10. steverba April 9, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    How does signing Chris Bosh and also getting Tracy McGrady for near the veteran minimum? T Mac has already been saying he is willing to take a lot less money to play for a contender, and would be an upgrade from Kirk when healthy.

    Matt McHale April 9, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    Sorry, Harry. I was too excited about all my links to spell check BG’s name. :(

    inkybreath April 9, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    ok. analysis aside (for now) … that was one weird game.

    Erick April 9, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    When asked about free agents, how is your first choice not LeBron? I assume, you just don’t think it will happen. Otherwise, I’d like you to explain that one.

    As for the point of the post, I agree with you. It’s overblown. Especially if you expect the Bulls to have a new head coach, they’d figure it out. And Rose is clearly not the type of player to complain about not having the ball, or whatever.

    Joe April 9, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    Steverba, I think Chris Bosh would be fantastic, but they still need an outside shooter. As far as T-Mac goes, this isn’t 2000 man, it’s 2010. I wouldn’t take T-Mac if he worked for free. He is done, his value is long, long gone. He isn’t worth the roster spot no matter what he cost.

    D Wade would be awesome even if he isn’t an outside shooter. Two guard is the weakest position for the Bulls. Rose is a solid passer and while he keeps the ball a lot he has shown that he can distribute it effectively. I think the two would fit together in the long run.

    I also wouldn’t mine Joe Johnson or Carlos Boozer. I just hope by outside shooters they don’t go out and overpay on Ray Allen. I like Ray, but he’s clearly over the hill and I think he will continue to decline. Worse yet is that Allen doesn’t play D at all and the Bulls need D. That’s another reason why Wade would be so awesome, he’s great on D.

    And then there’s this player in Cleveland who I’ve heard is pretty good and I guess it would be kinda cool if we ended up with him.

    Anus April 9, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    I fail to see the superb off-ball movement besides running straight down court on a fastbreak. It is obvious that moving off the ball is not what either was designed to do, and it shouldn’t come to that. Joe Johnson should be our #1 priority over the off-season. He is a knockdown shooter who can construct his own shot in a multitude of ways, as well as facilitate while Rose is not on the court. Not to mention he plays defense. No, he doesn’t get flashy blocks or steals, but he shuts men down, which is a hell of a lot more efficient than what Wade does 9 out of 10 times. (Not to say that Wade is a poor defender by any means, just saying he’s a little above average, nothing more, nothing less.) Tell that to all the cute PF’s out there in FA too, names such as Boozer, Bosh, Amar’e, etc. I would not want any one of them anchoring down our frontcourt with a stagnant defensive stance, watching people waltz right by. Also, Bosh wants to be the alpha-dog, which quite frankly, he is not meant to do, at least on a winning team, so that also rules him out of the equation.

    I don’t know, just a few thoughts.

  16. PTFC April 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I agree it could work. You are right they are “capable” of playing well together. You are also right people are confusing the fact Wade handles the ball out of nature rather then necessity. Good article, way to think critically. I try to make all the same arguements as you did, to people, but after a while it gets tiring.

    Pick up Wade and then a solid scoring big man (not necessarily an allstar or superstar big man, just solid and dependable).

    Boppinbob April 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    I realize that people get tired of hearing that defense wins championships. That means “TEAM” defense. If the Bulls management is building a championship contending team that needs to be a prime concern for anyone being drafted and FAs being signed. Double D’s would be nice if they both focused on improving their team defense. Neither one needs to become a shut down defender, just play solid team defense. There is no question that DD’s would be hell on wheels on offense.

    gomez April 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I don’t understand why you would even consider the fact that Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade could not play together. Two chicago boys playing for the bulls? Sounds like a dream come true to me. Also, Derrick Rose is probably one of the most unselfish players on the team and i strongly disagree with you when you say that Rose needs to dominate the ball to be effective. He has shown so many times this season and last that he can be a playmaker instead of a scorer. He’s a young player with a lot of potential in his future, with Wade as his mentor I have no doubt that Chicago will be a much stronger team than they are now.

    Zarr April 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Well, it could really work. In the olympics, Kobe and Lebron took over ballhandling duties while Wade just roamed. Result: 68-70% FG shooting for Wade in the ENTIRE tournament, I mean the ENTIRE Olympics. He just knows how to score and is very efficient when he can play off somebody. During the Pistons series in their championship run, Wade ave 69% FG until game 6, with talented teamates (Shaq, Walker) around. So yeah, they could play together and Wade has a consistent jumpshot and he could penetrate any defense just like Rose. WHo needs a jumpshot if you have two guards who can score near the rim at will. That would be a devastating backcourt. If Rose gets his defensive intensity at par with Wade, you’ll see blocks and steals, all game. Plus the fast break? Forget about it. They should’ve gotten D’Antoni, his style with Rose and Wade, they’d be contending for years and become the most popular team in the NBA. Im a Miami fan but I would like Dwade to be in Chicago if he decides to leave.

    DHL April 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    It won’t work.

    There won’t be any problem when Rose has the ball because Wade is a natural two that happens to have a lot of playmaking ability.

    But since Rose isn’t a natural catch-and-shoot player(all the evidence you list are alley-oops) and he doesn’t have three point range, he’ll be a spectator when Wade has the ball.

    Bar shoshany April 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    first, sorry for my English.. not my first langauge.

    second, there is more to “can it work” than “can wade\rose move without the ball”. just because either can move without the ball doesnt mean they fit togather.

    partly, because they will have trouble against big perimiter guys. lets say youre playing the magic, who do you put on carter? wade? too short. rose? too skiny; both of them are not elite defenders. Deng? but then who guards the small forward? once again, too small or too skiny.

    thats 1.

    secondly, Chicago will have no 3 range capabilities whatsoever. wade is an avrage 3 point shooter (lets just say that when you play him, you want him to shoot from the outside), rose isnt even there. Deng isnt a real threat. what are you gonna do when those team collapse and clog the middle? The heat always looked at PG with 3 point range if possible, and they did if for a reason.

    When you have good penetrators (rose, wade) you wanna be able to spread the floor. the bulls wont be able to.

    I think the first prioroty of the bulls is getting a decent low-post (or anyway, high-precantege) scorer. Bosh is great. Boozer is also good. the other is getting someone who can defend big guards and spread the floor at the 2 position.

    I thing the best situation (if we cant land Lebron..) Is joe-joe at the 2 and bosh inside, while shipping out heinrich for cap space relief and some backups. is that possible? im not sure. but i sure hope so.

    DHL April 9, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh and sb said Wade is just an above average defender.

    John Hollinger at ESPN has a different opinion. He says Wade is the best defensive SG in the league.

  23. Port Lyfe April 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    @Bar shoshany

    Dwayne Wade has never been a defensive liability or never had trouble guarding big guards so lets just put that out there right now. Secondly if get Wade thru free agency you do what you have to do fit around him that will work. Which would probably involve trading Deng for a shooter. And if the Bulls miss the playoffs this year that would also set them up for a decent draft pick which could lead to another shooter or another post player.

    To answer the question can they play together of course they can play together. With that much speed in the back court they would be a running team anyway. In the half court Rose would probably defer to Wade. Im sure offensively they would create different sets to get Wade the ball in different locations on the court. Also through ball reversals they could Rose one on one match ups whenever Wade gets double teamed. Wade and Rose dominate the ball out of necessity. Remove the necessity and then see what happens.

    Blacksox09 April 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Do you think that if Miami had the 1st overall pick that they would have taken Michael B because Miami did not think they could play together? Pat Riley knows they can both play great together, both have high Basketball IQ’s and both care about winning. Riley was praying that we took Michael B because they would only be 1 Player away from being really good and D-wade would def stay in Miami. What free agents would not want to play in Miami and have D-Rose, D-Wade waiting for them. In addition, Wade has made old Jermaine O’neal (does his legs even work anymore) some what decent again, then imagine how good he can help Jo when everyone goes to double him.

    a heat fan April 10, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    im gonna burst your bubbles

    I admit that Bulls are probably where Dwade’s going IF he leaves miami. What are the chances that he will?

    Are the bulls run by a hall-of-famer?

    Do they have more cap space than Miami?

    And… which city has hotter girls and night life?

    who gave him a ring and a superstar?

    yes dwade sold his house in miami, but probably because of the whole divorce issue and he wants to erase that part of his life

    Adam April 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Sure they could…but WHY would you want them to? Are you going to beat the Magic? Are you going to beat Cleveland? Bulls have no real three point shooters…and the Captain Kirk is our best option there…who would either need to be traded or benched if you signed Wade.

    The Bulls have no low post threat at all. Noah is a GREAT hustle player…so is Gibson. Neither has an offensive game that worries any defense. Get Bosh or Boozer and the Bulls are balanced. With Bosh…I’d say the Bulls could beat Orlando or Cleveland. With Wade? No.

    RKA April 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I Think all of you who say it won’t work maybe wrong. With Rose and Wade you have two guys who can get to the rack at will. Teams game plan and focus on these two guys when they play them. Get them two together and now it’s like pick your poison.

  28. John April 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Ok I just wanna say that all of you who say sg is our weakest position are WRONG. Quit bashing on hinrich. This guy is one of our top two defenders(along w noah) hardly ever misses games, is a class act who brings it every night and doesnt complain no matter what his role. He is a veteran and a leader on this team and we need his versatility and defense!

  29. Bad_Boy_No1 April 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    I would welcome the addition of Wade to the Bulls and believe he would help to bring a championship to Chicago.

  30. vincent April 28, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    if you bring in wade well hello 6 more championships. and rose and wade well they could play very well together like mj and pippen did. and noah is young and aggressive like a rodman. you got a deep bench. everyones young and stays healthy. could easily be the team of this decade.

    “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
    – Michael Jordan

    Blazer Guest April 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Hey, Blazers fan here. Never been on this site before, but I saw the debate in ESPN’s Daily dime and thought it was interesting given that this is the same debate that people were having here in Portland about Andre Miller and Brandon Roy earlier this season. You folks might be interested to know that, surprisingly, it works really well having two ball handlers on the floor at once. Now, neither Roy nor Miller can be compared to D-Wade and Rose, but it very possible to have two guys with point-guard skills on the court at the same time. I think other examples include Jordan and Pippen, Hedo and Nelson (sort of), Terry Porter and Drexler, Miller and Iggy last year, and even LeBron and Mo Williams. Usually, these types of players have super-high bball IQ’s and are capable of learning to play to each other’s strengths and give the team the option of going to either one in iso situations, forcing defenses to make a choice and leave the other offensive/playmaking threat open. The fact that Wade and Rose are both so good at what they do and have so many offensive skills between them simply makes them more likely to do well together.

    Glen May 15, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    Wade and Rose could work. Look at the Bulls dynasty. The two stars on that team were Jordan and Pippen. Pippen wasn’t a spot up shooter at all. He was good at slashing to the basket without the ball and he was good finishing in transition. Rose and Wade can do both of those, as well as create shots for themselves AND others off the dribble. Both are pretty good on-the ball defenders too. Furthermore when opposing defenses “help” to stop either Rose or Wade’s penetration, that leaves the other of the two in a one on one situation. Get that person the ball off the help defense and the defense will scramble to help even more. Leaving other people wide open AND moving defenders out of rebounding position while they are rotating. Noah and Gibson can be terrors on the offensive glass, even more so in this situation.

    Glen May 15, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    One more thing. One of the main reasons both Rose and Wade’s 3pt percentages are low are because they have to take most of those shots off the dribble with a defender on them because they are the only real scoring/penetrating option on their teams. Being on the same team will no doubt generate more wide open looks for both to hit spot up 3 pointers, which would in-turn raise their made 3pt percentages, a luxury that neither of them have currently.


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