In a recent interview with the Bleacher Report Dwayne Wade said that last year just was not fun. At no point during their run to the Championship was it fun. With LeBron James leaving the team to head back to Cleveland, Dwayne Wade is excited to just have fun again on the court.
It may be hard to believe that a team that went to its 4th straight NBA Finals appearance and attempting to win their 3rd straight was not having fun. Playing alongside your best friend, doing what you love to do night after night sure seems like it would be a lot of fun. Wade felt differently though. With all the pressure to “Threepeat” every loss weighed heavy on the team. They were expected to win every night and as the Indiana Pacers beat them for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the team felt the weight of that from fans and media alike.
Wade could not pinpoint the exact reason it was not as fun as the previous years, but just stated he felt a renewed focus and energy heading into this season. Teammate Chris Bosh shared Wade’s sentiment saying that he did not think anyone on the team was enjoying the ride like in previous seasons.
After the Heat fell to the San Antonio spurs in just five games in the 2014 Finals people knew the team could not remain the same and changes had to be made. The “Big 3” all opted out of their contracts in what most thought was a selfless move so that they could restructure and add some much needed support players. That all changed on July 12th though. LeBron James made the announcement that after four years in Miami he was going back to Cleveland where he not only started his career, but was born and raised. With James no longer in Miami the expectations to reach a fifth straight championship were gone.
Miami resigned Bosh, Wade, Chris “Birdman” Anderson, and Mario Chalmers. They also added forward Luol Deng and drafted guard Shabazz Napier to bring some depth and youth to the line up. Wade has been the face of the Miami Heat since he was drafted there 11 seasons ago. Even with LeBron there, who is regarded as the greatest player on the planet, it was Wade who the community loved and supported. With James gone, the spotlight is back on Wade and he wants to have fun again.
Wade said he was surprised they even made it to the Finals last year with the mindset and moral in the locker room. With this new roster, the lack of James and the all time leading three point shooter Ray Allen, the Miami Heat making the finals this year would be even more surprising.
The NBA preseason starts Oct. 4th, so the Heat will be able to get into a groove real soon. They will need to get things together as the regular season opener is in less than a month, with them kicking things off at home against 2013-2014 playoff team, the Washington Wizards. The Heat and James will face off for the first team in four seasons on Christmas day. It is a game that promises to be a lot of fun to watch.
Commentary by Andy Lapic