MIAMI — Yes, Dwyane Wade said Tuesday as the Heat emptied out their lockers at AmericanAirlines arena, he and LeBron James play similar styles.
And no, Wade said, they’re not changing.
Amid post-Finals debate about whether the duo possess complementary or redundant styles, an examination exacerbated by Jeff Van Gundy’s on-camera musing during the NBA Finals about a possible trade of one of the Heat’s perimeter stars, Wade said the dual dilemma for opposing defenses was the goal from the start.
“I’m 29 years of what I’ve been doing,” Wade said, somewhat incredulous that after winning an Eastern Conference championship and coming within two wins of an NBA title this suddenly has surfaced as an issue. “I mean, obviously you try to get better in areas, but you can’t just say, ‘OK, since you’re a driver, I’m just going to become a shooter.’ That’s not what the organization wants me to be, that’s not we want him to be and it’s not what our fans want.
“Being similar players, that makes us dynamic, that makes us a special team, because we have similar capabilities and put pressure on defenses certain ways. So we wouldn’t change that at all.”
What will change, Wade said, is learning how to best utilize the similar skills sets, avoiding situations such as when James often was reduced to spectator during the Finals against the Mavericks.
“I thought we did a good job of getting better as the season went on, obviously from the first game to the end, coming from being individually good players to being good teammates, and being able to play off each other,” he said. “And that’s only going to get better as we get more comfortable with each other, as our game continues to grow, and obviously for LeBron he’ll be more comfortable in his surroundings.”
To Wade, the Finals were a hiccup, with the Eastern Conference semifinals more of the goal, when he averaged 30.2 points over those five games against Boston, and James 28.
“I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to just make that adjustment, getting in this new situation,” he said of James. “So he’ll be even more comfortable next year. Just with time, you get better with age, you get better with time. And I’m sure we will all just get more comfortable playing with each other, have a little bit more confidence coming into the season knowing we know each other and not trying to figure each other out.”