Dwyane Wade has been down this road before: The formation of a superteam, the elation of the local fan base, the boos and scorn of fans around the rest of the league, the accepting of the villain role, the slow start trying to fit the pieces together. Golden State is going through that now with the addition of Kevin Durant; Wade went through it when LeBron James came to Miami.
So what is Wade’s advice to the Warriors? Be yourself, not the role everyone wants you to play.
“Everybody wanted to beat us, so everybody was playing their tail off against us,” Wade recalled. “It took time for us to get to the game that we wanted to get to…
“I think them guys understand what it takes,” Wade said of the sacrifices needed to win under such circumstances. “I think the biggest thing is, what I say is just enjoy it. One thing we did wrong our first year was we played into the villain role because people was not liking that we was together and we tried to play into that role. That’s not why we started playing basketball – we started playing basketball because we enjoyed it and we loved it.”
LeBron, in particular, tried to put on the villain costume, but it didn’t fit. The next season, when he was just trying to be himself again, Miami won a ring.
Golden State has the advantage of just trying to fit one player in Durant into an existing system, rather than re-invent the wheel, but there still are a lot of changes for everyone. The ball is moving, 67.7 percent of Golden State’s baskets are assisted (second highest percentage in the league) but the consistency, particularly on defense, is not there. That is what they need to work on, and they’ve got most of a season to do it. Whether they play the villain role or not.