The Cleveland Cavaliers experienced something that has become fairly common over the last three seasons. After beating the Celtics and Bucks, the team experienced a major letdown game with a blowout home loss against the Orlando Magic.
Growing pains should be expected with this team, given the amount of turnover this summer. But one constant through three games has been the struggles of Dwyane Wade. Wade was limited to just 16 minutes against the Magic and has failed to reach double digit scoring in any game this season.
Wade has looked out of sorts offensively and often takes shots that aren’t within the flow of the offense. He opened up about his struggles so far to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
I'm trying to find it, man," Wade said after scoring five points on 2-for-8 shooting against the Magic. "It's very different, different than I've ever played. Just trying to find my way, as we go on, see how I can be best for this team. Everything's happened so fast. This has been a long, a long week."
Despite his struggles to start the season, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is positive that Wade will be able to find his rhythm offensively:
"Just got to get him in positions to where he's comfortable," Lue said. "Right now we have a new offense, a different offense than he's accustomed to running. We just have to put him in better positions to be aggressive and get to a spot. That's not really an issue of mine or his. Just continue to keep playing good, team defense and his shot and his game will come around offensively."
Wade is accustomed to having the ball in his hands far more frequently than he has so far with the Cavaliers. With LeBron James and Derrick Rose alongside him in the starting lineup, Wade is near the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to players initiating offense. Especially with the team starting to go to Kevin Love in the post more during the last two games.
If Wade was promised a starting role during his recruitment, maintaining that position may not be something that’s in Lue’s hands. It would need to come from Wade if that is the case.
Wade playing with the second unit would enable him to have the ball in his hands more and provide the starting unit more spacing with J.R. Smith. It’s possible that the team just needed to try this and have it fall apart in order for him to be convinced to take this role.
Even when Isaiah Thomas returns and the spacing issues aren’t there, Wade still won’t be handling the ball a significant amount with the starting unit. At this stage of his career his ability to create for himself and others is his greatest asset and it isn’t currently being utilized.