Dwyane Wade had a very good post season run and almost made it to the Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Miami Heat achieved all this without the services of two of their best players in Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, which is why they are favored to make a run for the Eastern Conference crown by online NBA sports betting odds.
One of the reasons the Heat were so successful in their first playoffs since LeBron James defected back to Cleveland, was the fact that Wade, who is the second worst 3-point shooter in NBA history, started getting his 3-point shots to fall.
Just to be clear, calling Wade the second worst 3-point shooter in NBA history isn’t an exaggeration. He's taken 1,357 3-pointers in his career and has made just 28.4 percent of them. Even in his best year, Wade’s 3-point percentage was 31.7 percent, which was still lower than the league average of 35 percent.
Despite his 3-point shooting woes, Wade shot 12 for 23 during the playoffs, which helped his team advance as far as it did. Wade’s performance impressed Pat Riley so much that he thinks Wade is finally coming into his own as a 3-point shooter.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Riley believes Wade can become a 38 to 40 percent 3-point shooter thanks to head coach Eric Spoelstra’s system.
Riley said anytime he saw Wade release a 3-pointer in the playoffs, he thought the ball had a chance of going in because he lifted and released the ball. In the past, Riley said Wade was jacking the shot up and he felt they had no chance. If Wade can maintain the form he used in the playoffs, Riley thinks he can improve his 3-point percentage.
In the history of the league, only nine players have taken over 1,000 3-pointers and shot lower than 30 percent in their career. Currently, only Charles Barkley, who shot 26.6 percent, has a lower percentage than Wade. Barkley was also a power forward, so he has an excuse for why his 3-point percentage was so low.
Pat Riley is most likely overreacting to a small sample size, but there is a precedent for veteran players improving their 3-point percentage as their career gets longer.
A perfect example of such a veteran is Jason Kidd. For years, the future Hall of Fame point guard nicknamed himself “Ason Kidd,” because he had no jumper. For some reason, Kidd could still manage to hit 3-pointers and shot 33 percent in his first 13 years in the league. In that time, he had four seasons in which he shot 35 percent or better from 3-point range.
When Kidd returned to Dallas, his 3-point percentage improved. In his final six season, Kidd shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range, including a career best 42 percent in 2009.
The question now is can Wade have the type of success Kidd had from 3-point range this late in his career? Probably not.
I hate to burst Riley’s bubble, but during the regular season, Wade was a career worst 15 percent from 3-point range, which means the accuracy he displayed in the playoffs was just him having a hot streak. If he can shoot better than 30 percent next season, then Riley’s proclamation might carry some weight.
After five consecutive seasons shooting under 30 percent, it's probably not going to happen.