A lot of the Cavaliers’ loss to Pelicans on Saturday was ugly. But there were positives. For one, Kevin Love found his three-point stroke for the first time this season. LeBron James did LeBron James things. And Dwyane Wade had a chance to get more comfortable in his new role.
When Wade first came into the game, Tyronn Lue made it a point to put him on an all bench unit he could run as the de-facto point guard. A five-man lineup of Wade, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye caters to Wade. It allows to have the ball in his hands while also surrounding him with shooting and just enough defense.
The result is plays like this:
Plays like this are likely the best way to make Wade comfortable. Sets like this allow Wade to do what he can still do at a high level — score — while surrounding him with enough options that the defense can’t totally zero in on him. And just on how he’s playing, and attacking, it’s clear that Wade is playing more comfortable now than he was during his short time as a starter. Then, he was invisible. Now, he’s himself.
How well Wade can integrate with the team — particularly when Isaiah Thomas returns — will determine how effective he’ll be overall. In time, he’ll have to find chemistry and comfort playing with not just LeBron, but Love, Thomas and the Cavs’ other main pieces. But sets like this are a good way to start that process.