Last Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls started their 2016 regular season with a 105-99 win over the Boston Celtics.
This was a special night for both the Bulls and their star Shooting Guard Dwyane Wade who made his official debut with the franchise he grew up loving, watching and dreaming of being apart of.
This was also a special night for Wade because he displayed a newfound weapon that has made him as versatile as ever: The three point shot.
It’s no secret that Wade has struggled from the three point line throughout his career. For his career, Wade is a 28.6 percent three point shooter which is the third lowest in NBA history for players who have shot more than 1,000 of them.
This is a surprise for a player who is one of the most prolific scorers of all time (23.6 career points per game average) in a league that has become dominated by the three point shot. With this clear lack of ability from behind the arc, Wade has still struck fear into opponents for 13 years and three championships.
Opponents now have more to be scared of then ever because Wade’s hard work this summer improving his shot from long distance seems to be paying off.
On Thursday night, Wade scored 22 points and went 3 for 4 from three, including a fourth quarter three that all but iced the game for the Bulls.
Now, I know it’s only one game, but it’s an extremely telling sign of what’s to come.
Since he joined the Bulls, Wade has been more confident in his shooting stroke. Where before, Wade would be hesitant to take threes, even if he was wide open, he now takes them with extreme confidence, in rhythm and on target. Whether a hand was in his face or he stepped into a wide open shot, Wade rose up with confidence and swagger and made the Celtics pay for giving him room behind the arc.
So what does this mean for his overall game?
Well, Wade has always been known as a slasher. With this improvement in his three point shot, opponents will have to respect it and now try to run him off the three point line which will allow his ability to drive to the basket even more explosive and effective for him and his team. His ability to be a playmaker will now be more emphasized and the defense becomes open season for a team mixed with shooters, scorers and elite passers.
Wade’s new weapon will allow Jimmy Butler to see more one-on-one matchups, where he can exploit the team’s secondary defender. Sharpshooters like Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic will now have plenty of room to shoot off of Wade’s penetration and ability to drive and kick. Rajon Rondo’s passing abilities will also take shape as he orchestrates the offense more effectively.
Again, although it’s only one game, it’s the patterns of hard work and the mannerisms he displayed in that game that tell me this will be a career year for Wade shooting the three. If he does continue this trend and continue to exploit defenses this way, the Bulls will have a legit shot at dethroning the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Do you think that Wade will continue this three point success? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.