Today in Fear the Sword’s season hiatus player review series: Two-way player Dean Wade. Follow the whole series here.
Key per game stats, all with the G League’s Canton Charge: 14.2 points. 7.5 rebounds. 46.1% field goal percentage, 39.9% three-point percentage on 4.6 attempts per game
Key advanced stats, all with the G League’s Canton Charge: 17.8% usage rate (ninth on the team); 18.6 DREB% (second on the team); took 21.2% of the team’s three-pointers
Before we get to Dean Wade, a note on Matt Mooney: he’s probably an upgrade over some of the other Cavs two-way players of recent memory. He also plays a position that the Cavs have invested a lot of draft capital in and probably need a veteran presence more than they need another young guard. He’s not untalented, but his path to a roster spot in Cleveland is tricky.
Dean Wade, though, is another story. The 23-year-old Wade was a productive four-year player at Kansas State who probably should have been drafted in the second round of last June’s draft. Privately, some people in the Cavs organization think of Wade as their fourth draft pick. Prior to the G League season ending due to the coronavirus pandemic, those hopes were well-founded.
In 30 games with the Charge, Wade averaged 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was a strong defensive rebounder, was an effective three-point shooter on decent volume and was largely efficient on a fairly low usage. He’s got some ability in the post and can attack off the dribble too. Performances like this don’t scream future All-Star or anything, but they indicate that he can play a role.
Defensively, it’s hard to see what he is until he plays against NBA competition for more than a few garbage time minutes, but he’ll at least compete on that end. The biggest question about Wade is really about what kind of opportunity the Cavs can offer him.
Right now, the team employs Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Larry Nance Jr., Tristan Thompson to play the team’s available frontcourt minutes. Those four make a combined $88 million this year and, with Thompson hitting free agency, a combined $71.9 assuming Drummond picks up his player option. That’s a lot of money for a league that is having teams play smaller more than ever, especially if the cap shrinks as the result of lost revenue. There just might not be regular minutes for him, particularly if the team can’t/doesn’t trade Love.
Wade will be a restricted free agent — assuming the Cavs tender him — so he’ll likely be affordable. Seventy-one NBA minutes isn’t enough to make a team pony up for a player who hasn’t proved anything. Maybe that means he hangs around on the main roster and plays on nights where Love doesn’t. That’s both understandable and frustrating for a player who could be more.