Cavs: Dean Wade will be key yet again with Taurean Prince out

Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Throughout much of this campaign, Dean Wade has made his presence felt for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, to put it out there, injury issues for the Cavaliers have played into that.

Kevin Love has missed the majority of the season because of complications involved with a right calf injury, for one, and Larry Nance Jr. has also missed significant chunks of the year.

Nance missed most of February and a few March games due to a fractured fourth metacarpal on his left hand, for example, and recently, he had an extremely rough bout of illness. That illness caused him to reportedly lose nearly 20 pounds at one point in roughly a week’s time, and that was the reason he was out for seven games.

Nance and Love are fortunately back for the Cavs, though, and Love has been playing pretty well and Nance looks to be getting himself back, if you will. That’s a plus on both accounts.

Albeit circling back, Wade still has had his share of run for Cleveland this season, in a year after which he didn’t have much burn at all with the Cavaliers in his rookie season, in which he was then on a two-way deal after going undrafted in 2019. Wade was a key contributor for Cleveland’s G League Affiliate, the Canton Charge, last season, though, and showed stretch big qualities; he hit 39.9 percent of his three-point attempts.

In plenty of instances in his burn this season for Cleveland, Wade has shown that sort of thing, too. And unfortunately, with Taurean Prince, as of Thursday, reportedly expected to have left ankle surgery and his season being over it seems, Wade will be key yet again for the Cavs.

That Prince loss reaffirms Wade being crucial for the Cavs.

Prince, who had been rolling as of late, and had 12.9 points per outing and hit 47.2 percent of his three-point attempts in his past eight games in 23.5 minutes per appearance, is a floor spacing presence that will be missed.

While the ankle issue had reportedly been lingering for him and would’ve likely had surgery on in the upcoming offseason, he seemed to be more comfortable recently, and the same had been the case in regards to his left shoulder. That he sprained in early March and had missed 10 games post-All-Star because of issues with/soreness.

This was understandable, in terms of the Cavs/Prince taking precautionary measures, though, albeit we’ll have to see if he’ll be a factor for Cleveland next season. He’ll be expiring then, and was previously a player mentioned in trade rumors; so that remains to be seen.

With Wade demonstrating that he can be an impact rotational shooting forward for Cleveland, though, while his minutes-share has been trimmed down in the past four or so games, which included one DNP, he’ll again be key.

On the year, Wade has again shown he can be a viable catch-and-shoot/floor spacing presence for Cleveland, and has had a respectable 36.5 percent hit rate on 3.0 three-point attempts per outing. That’s been in 17.0 minutes per outing, for context.

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Albeit with Prince unfortunately out, that should lead to Wade being again a factor game-to-game in a solid chunk of minutes for spurts/at times stretches for Cleveland. That’s been the case often even for the Cavaliers post-All-Star break, anyhow, and I’d imagine it could again be.

It’s not the shooting that’s popped with Wade, though. He’s held his own defensively, typically, and his 5.5 defensive rebounds per-36 minutes have been solid for primarily a rotational contributor, as has a 2.0 percent block rate.

Wade has demonstrated nice feel as a cutter as well, which has led to deliveries from guys such as Darius Garland, Matthew Dellavedova, Love at times of late and Nance, among others.

And lastly, although we could seemingly see more of Cedi Osman, for example, sans Prince, Osman has been firmly out of the rotation of late and has mightily struggled as a shooter for quite some time even before.

Plus, with Dellavedova and other secondary playmakers back in the fold, it’s tough to rationalize Osman having minutes over Wade, who has shown that he can be viable as a jumbo 3 recently, or even Lamar Stevens, to some degree.

Either way, I would expect to see Osman on the floor in some spurts with Wade at the 4, anyway, but I’d anticipate we could see Wade at the 3 in spurts fairly regularly to come, or with Nance there and Isaac Okoro at the 2 some. That’d be with Garland/Collin Sexton staggered, for reference, in those instances.

Moreover, to reiterate, with the loss of Prince as a key catch-and-shoot presence, that again should lead to Wade being a crucial rotational contributor for Cleveland down the stretch here.

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Wade isn’t the on-ball/shot creation presence of Prince, no, but he can drive it here and there, too, and contributes in other ways, so he should get his share of run.