HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The difference between winning a title and being a champion is what you do in between opportunities to win another one.
No one will argue that Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade belongs in the realm of champions. A two-time NBA champion, Wade has spent his summer recuperating from injury, promoting his new book and as always, tinkering with the finer points of his game.
That a player with arguably the most devastating mid-range game of his generation has been hard at work this summer refining that shot should surprise no one. The fact that Wade was hunting for a shooting coach this summer, though, did raise a few eyebrows … and inspire a few phone calls from prospective coaches eager to work with one of the world’s best.
But as Wade explained to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel, he needed more than just a shooting coach:
In the wake of a season where he felt his jumper got away from him, Wade said upon further review it was not as much about how he was shooting the ball as how he was going through that motion.
Now, with training camp three weeks away, he believes he has a grasp on the situation.
“I have one of the best mid-range shots in the league,” he said. “But, obviously, when you have different injuries, it makes you change a little bit. So it’s just about getting back to that comfort of it and finding out where you are now.
“My midrange game is very important to me. The biggest thing is coming out of my pull-up without losing the ball and just making sure it comes through my hand the right way. When it comes to my shot exactly, I don’t have a bad shot. There’s other reasons why I come up short a lot. So it’s just trying to work the kinks out.”
Wade said he now has a shooting coach lined up. But what he doesn’t have, at least at the moment, are his legs, having only recently returned to court work following his July 9 arthroscopic knee surgery.
“It’s great to get back on the court,” he said. “But, obviously, I’ve got a lot of work to do to get to what I want to. Now it’s just taking things slow. We’re not rushing through it.”
A week ago there was a session with Heat assistant coach David Fizdale, with additional sessions this weekend before heading back out for the next segment of his book tour.
“It’s basketball stuff, basketball drills,” he said of the sessions, “and doing something different every day, and with my trainer, doing other things when it comes to the rehab part of it, making sure that my knee and my body can get used to this kind of work for games.”
By the time he gets to the Los Angeles portion of his book tour at the end of the week, he is hopeful of stepping into games, with several NBA players working out there.
“Right now, I’m trying to settle down, to do something different, to get the feeling back,” he said.
Folks forget that both Wade and Chris Bosh were nursing significant injuries during The Finals, when LeBron James carried the Heat past the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s why it’s interesting to see so many people assume that the Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers will supplant the Heat this season.
If anything, the Heat will come back just as strong, if not stronger, this season with Wade and Bosh healthy (if we can project that far ahead) and they’ve added Ray Allen, too.
Allen is another one, a future Hall of Famer and for years one of the hardest working stars in the business, who surely understands the difference between winning a title and being a champion.