67RIEFNS No. 32: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh leading a team without LeBron

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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

On July 7, 2010, Dwyane Wade found his post-Shaq sidekick.

That day, Wade committed to resigning with the Heat and Chris Bosh pledge to join Miami either through a direct signing or sign-and-trade. It was one of the biggest free coups of recent memory, one that could set up the Heat to contend for a championship.

The next day, LeBron James changed everything.

LeBron’s Decision ended “Wade and Bosh” after only one day. From there, it was always “LeBron, Wade an Bosh” or “LeBron and Wade” or occasionally “LeBron.”

It’s a testament to LeBron’s greatness that he could dwarf the importance of Wade (a Finals MVP and 10-time All-Star) and Bosh (a nine-time All-Star).

Four years later, we’ll finally see what a Wade-Bosh-led team can do.

Unfortunately, we might have missed out entirely on seeing the twosome – without LeBron – in their primes. Instead of the Wade-Bosh era beginning with Wade at age 28 and Bosh 26, Wade is 32 and Bosh 30. It might be too late.

And that’s a shame.

Wade and Bosh were so good, capable of carrying the load when they were the No. 1 option. With LeBron, their numbers dipped.

These lines represent the change in their PER.

  • Wade: Red (before playing with LeBron) and Gold (with LeBron)
  • Bosh: Purple (with Raptors) and Gold (with Heat)

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How much of that decline is the LeBron influence, and how much is aging?

I hope it’s LeBron, because a team led by prime Wade and Bosh could be very good – effective inside and out on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, I fear aging plays a big role, especially for Wade.

If Wade and Bosh can near their previous peaks, great. We’ll have another fun team to watch and a potential Eastern Conference contender.

If not, we’ll get two aging stars stubbornly fighting Father Time and adapting to a new style of play. That’s compelling, though far less appealing.

Wade and Bosh will provide some form of entertainment this season. I’m pulling for the they’re-still-really-good kind.