Cavs: Dean Wade has played pretty well in his burn thus far

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Dean Wade has seemingly helped his case for potential minutes at times for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s pretty apparent that Dean Wade is not going to be an every night-type player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and/or one that is regularly going to play 20-plus minutes or anything of that nature.

Last season, he was a two-way player that got most of his meaningful burn with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, the Canton Charge. Wade then had his deal converted by the Cavaliers to a multi-year deal that following the formal rest of prior season guarantee, now from here, has a deal that’s non-guaranteed, anyhow.

With the Cavaliers last season, Wade only had 12 appearances, of which he played 5.9 minutes per outing, and averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds.

With the Charge, though, Wade did show positive signs from a developmental standpoint, and had 14.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 31.1 minutes per game. He started 29 of his 30 appearances with them.

Anyway, while it’s been seemingly due to Kevin Love being banged up/missing the opener versus the Charlotte Hornets, and then most of Cleveland’s last win over the Philadelphia 76ers due to a calf strain, I’ve been pleased with Wade in his run.

Wade’s played pretty well in his 2020-21 Cavs burn thus far.

Wade has had two notable appearances to this point for Cleveland, the first being again, versus Charlotte and then versus Philly. In the former on Wednesday, he had seven points on three-of-four shooting, to go with three assists and three steals. There were two turnovers, sure, but I’m not going to grill him for those.

From there, on Sunday, Wade had three points on one-of-four shooting, which wasn’t lighting it up, per se, albeit he had four rebounds and a block in his 14 minutes, too.

So what’s to take away from Wade’s early performances, then? It’s a few things to me, really, both being positives; he’s shown more confidence on offense, and defensively, Wade has been very active.

Wade’s real chances during last season were pretty minimal, but when those did come, he seemed very hesitant to pull the trigger on catch-and-shoots, make things happen with the ball. That was understandable, though, given the lack of meaningful opportunities he had.

With him in instances this season, however, Wade has appeared to have more confidence. And he’ll have more in coming weeks seemingly, with Kevin Love reportedly sidelined for three-to-four weeks, due to him reaggravating a calf strain, of which he’ll then be re-evaluated following those weeks.

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Wade only played three minutes in Tuesday’s loss to the New York Knicks, but he could be in-store for more burn game-to-game, by and large, in this upcoming stretch. And part of that could relate to shooting.

While Wade’s volume clearly hasn’t been a ton, at a total of five three-point attempts thus far, he hit two of them, and Wade did hit seven of his 15 triple attempts in preseason action, a 46.7 percent clip.

He hit 39.9 percent of his deep attempts with the Charge last season, plenty via the spot-up variety, and with the Cavs, I’d hope when he’s in there, we continue to see Wade show he’s going to let those looks fly.

In coming weeks, we’ll have to see regarding the minutes-share, feasibly in some spurts at the 4 and/or a bit in big lineups with him at the 3, perhaps, anyhow.

Perhaps some minutes at the 3 will come, with Isaac Okoro currently sidelined due a foot sprain and with him reportedly being placed into the NBA’s health and safety protocol, via Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell. Dylan Windler (fractured hand) is currently out, too.

Either way, if Wade proves to be viable on spot-ups/corner triples, that will only help his case. He’s been a solid screener/initiated some productive handoffs at times, too.

In relation to the defensive end, Wade has held his own, realistically/been competent on-ball, and he’s proven to sit and slide pretty well to cut off driving lanes. He’ll get some fouls at times, and isn’t a guy nearly as equipped to deal with traditional 4’s for significant stretches at 228 pounds, but positionally, he’s been mostly sound.

And as a team defender, Wade has made his presence felt, which has aided Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Dante Exum, Damyean Dotson and others.

He has good rotation instincts, as was shown with those three steals against Charlotte, and his block versus Philly was impressive. He registered a steal in those aforementioned few minutes against New York as well, and his instincts there can help generate live-ball transition chances, in a general sense.

We’ve seen it at times with other solid shot contests, and in the paint, Wade has done a nice job of playing with verticality, which has led to stops.

Overall, at least from my perspective, Wade has done pretty well for the Cavaliers, and could potentially end up being a decent rotational forward option for Cleveland to have looking onward for spurts, too.

Next. Dante Exum could be a good long-term piece. dark

We’ll again have to see how he does, feasibly with more meaningful opportunities in this upcoming stretch, though.