Cavs: Dean Wade should be heavily involved when in there

Cleveland Cavaliers big Dean Wade dunks the ball. (Photo by Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Dean Wade dunks the ball. (Photo by Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a pleasure to see Dean Wade get his share of playing time with the Cleveland Cavaliers during this now-past season.

After the vast majority of his meaningful playing time was with Cleveland’s G League Affiliate squad, the Canton Charge, in 2019-20, when he was a two-way contributor, Wade got his chances in 2020-21. In 63 appearances (out of 70 possible), Wade averaged 19.2 minutes per contest, in which he had 6.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per outing.

Some of the reasoning for Wade getting an extended look/some more PT perhaps was because of Kevin Love having right calf injury complications for much of the season.

Plus, to an extent, Larry Nance Jr. having had his season so injury-riddled, in relation to the 4 man position, played into considerable PT for Wade, of which was often much more than his season average of minutes-share.

Regardless of the injuries, though, Wade was typically a meaningful contributor in his PT, and he did a nice job on the defensive end, both largely on-ball and his team defensive instincts as a rotator led to him usually being in the right position. He rarely was beaten on drives, and did a commendable job on shot contests, for the most part.

On the offensive end, his catch-and-shoot abilities, both some off-movement and via spot-ups off of ball-swings were impactful, too. Wade hit a respectable 36.6 percent of his 3.4 three-point shot attempts per game in 2020-21, of which was the first season he was a rotational regular with the Cavaliers.

With that sort of thing in mind, Wade should be heavily involved for the Cavs when he’s in there from here.

Of course, the clear stance is that when he’s out there for Cleveland, Wade will be a used via catch-and-shoots, and will be looked for via ball-swings. That’s for the likes of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and/or others.

That’s assuming Wade is back, for context. He’s set to be on essentially a minimum deal from here, with the years from here set to be non-guaranteed; I’d be very surprised if he’s not back.

Point being, while there were some ebs and flows for Wade as a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, which were understandable, he still had plenty of quality games in that realm.

I loved to see Wade have little hesitation, mostly, in letting those shots fly last season, too. That wasn’t the case when he did get meaningful playing time, no matter how minimal it was, in 2019-20 with Cleveland.

Moving past the straight spot-up stuff though, Wade should get his share of pick-and-pop looks, I believe, when he’s in there from here.

He and Garland appeared to have developed a nice chemistry with those sort of looks, and while he has previously been a subject of trade rumors, Wade and Cedi Osman seemed to establish a two-man game in that regard, too. That’s something I’d like to see, at least with Garland and Wade in PnR, with Wade being a capable screener and having great shooting mechanics in those situations, next season.

Somewhat in that realm, Wade has proven to have quality timing on his handoff deliveries, and those with the likes of Garland, Sexton and potentially Okoro/2021 NBA Draft prospects in Jonathan Kuminga/Scottie Barnes could pay dividends, too.

We could see Wade get to catch-and-shoots with passes from those ball handlers right back to him on the wing, or Wade could at times roll to the basket, relocate to the corner or even here and there, look for a lob delivery. That’s more so in minutes Jarrett Allen’s not on the floor (assuming he’s locked up long-term this offseason).

Lastly, Wade also as the season progressed, demonstrated his cutting abilities, and when he’s in there, I’d think in a similar minutes-share perhaps, he’ll get his share of cutting targets.

With Wade moving without the ball really well, and proving to be a highly capable finisher, both with touch and with body control/athleticism, teammates will likely be looking for him via diagonal cuts, baseline cuts, feasibly occasional lobs and via cross screening.

Moreover, with Wade proving to be a highly capable shooter, and being a functional cutter and finisher both in set offense and in transition, when he’s in there, the Cavaliers need to keep him heavily involved. That’s not necessarily relating to a high usage, and he’s not going to have one, albeit getting him his share of touches in his minutes-share will help flow.

While him being a floor spacer we’ll still see, and that has merit, I’d like to see him get his opportunities off movement to get shots when he’s on the floor. That’s whether that’s 13-15, 16-18 or maybe 22-24 minutes per game, depending on matchups/gameflow.

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And being multi-positional for stretches aids his case in that way.