Looking back on the Miami Heat last season, one would assume Dwyane Wade‘s presence made Hassan Whiteside a lot better on the offensive end, with the two seemingly connecting on silky-smooth alley oops at will.
Wade assisted Whiteside on 92 buckets, including a whopping 29 alley oops, with the latter representing twice as many Whiteside crushers than those assisted by Goran Dragic.
Yet according to ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, Whiteside’s offensive efficiency soared when Wade was off the court (much like the case with Dragic).
Pick-and-roll chemistry is just one slice of the Heat’s overall play. Interestingly, Whiteside posted superior numbers without Wade.
Per StatsCube, Whiteside registered a 30.3 PER without Wade on the floor. When Wade was out there? Whiteside’s PER fell to “just” 23.9. Even without Wade’s assistance, Whiteside still shot 60.6 percent from the floor last season, aided by floor-spacing rookie Josh Richardson, who shot 53-of-115 (46.1 percent) from deep last season. With fewer bodies packing the paint, Whiteside enjoyed more space to work in.
A little shocking, right? How Wade’s absence actually made things smoother for not only Dragic but Whiteside as well.
A lineup featuring Dragic, Josh Richardson, and Whiteside outscored teams by 8.5 points per 100 possessions last season. Inserting Wade for Richardson and the trio’s net rating drops to 2.8 points per 100 possessions.
This isn’t to say Wade is no longer an effective offensive player but it does quantify how his fit alongside Whiteside and Dragic wasn’t optimal and just how critical shooting is in today’s game. It’s tough to crank out elite offensive efficiency with multiple non-shooters on the court.
It’s another reason why I think the Heat are better off without Wade — from a basketball standpoint, of course. Seeing him in a Bulls jersey is still going to make me puke.