The Cleveland Cavaliers made the decision last week to start the power forward Dean Wade. JB Bickerstaff has experimented with the starting lineup consistently due to the injuries of Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr., the top two power forwards on the Cavs’ roster. Cleveland has been quite successful since starting Wade.
The Result of Wade Starting
So far, Cleveland has won every game where Wade started. Bickerstaff started Wade for the first time against the Atlanta Hawks on February 23. The Cavs got a much needed win against the Hawks after losing 10 straight.
The main reason why Cleveland saw immediate success with Wade starting could be due to his size. Wade stands at 6-foot-9 and has a skill-set of a typical NBA power forward. The Cavaliers’ starting lineup was too undersized before starting Wade. The Cavs started Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro at the forward positions during the losing streak. This simply could not work due to Osman and Okoro ‘s size and rebounding ability.
Wade was primarily a power forward throughout college at Kansas State. He has a decent post-game and has the ability to step outside and shoot the three. In addition, Wade is a pretty solid rebounder as well. Wade’s rebounding ability and 3-point shooting have been his biggest contributions in the starting lineup so far.
Dean Wade over the Cavs last 4 games (all starts):
10-16 FG (6-11 3PT)
Cavs 4-0. pic.twitter.com/a6fq7mWphK
— Across The Cavs: Hosted by Zach Weiss (13-21) (@AcrossCavs) March 2, 2021
So far, Wade has a small sample size of four games started. However, his improvement from game-to-game is quite obvious. The power forward was decent in his first start against the Hawks. He shot 2/3 with five points, two rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Wade had a large jump in production from his first start to his second. In his second start against the Houston Rockets, Wade did not miss one shot and scored 11 points. He shot 2/2 from three, had six rebounds and two assists.
He then had a decrease in shooting percentage against the Philadelphia 76ers. Wade only shot 25% with six points, but he snagged 12 rebounds. This is quite impressive considering the 76ers’ front court includes Joel Embiid.
In the Cavs’ fourth straight victory against the Houston Rockets, Wade had another good game. Wade had eight points while shooting 60% and 50% from three. Also, the former Kansas State Wildcat had five rebounds, one assist and one block.
Wade has brought a huge boost to the Cavaliers. In the past three games, with Wade on the floor the Cavaliers were +18, +7 and +14. Clearly the decision to start Wade was a great decision and has contributed to Cleveland winning some games.
Outlook for Wade
Wade’s future with the Cavs is an interesting topic. He played virtually no minutes for Cleveland the entire season, but was then thrust into a starting role. Wade has taken advantage of the opportunity with Nance and Love out.
Love should be returning from injury sooner rather than later. Love of course is the starting power forward for the Cavs. Wade will no longer start when Love is back, but he could still play a lot off the bench. However, when Nance returns from injury, will Wade still play?
If Wade continues to produce at a high level, there is no way Cleveland forgets about Wade. Even when Love and Nance return, the forward will still have some decent minutes off the bench if his production level remains consistent. Wade should have a bright future in Cleveland if he continues to prove he is a quality power forward with the ability to stretch the floor.
All stats courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference.
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