Some Cleveland Cavaliers fans may not realize that Dean Wade, an off and on again starter, has been with the team for four seasons. He started out by signing a two-way contract in 2019 when he signed as a rookie free agent. The following summer he signed a multi-year, rest-of-season contract with the team, and he then signed a three-year, $18.5 million deal last offseason, of which $16.5 million is set to be guaranteed.
Wade has had a couple of injuries over these last two seasons and that has affected his playing time and getting back to more consistent minutes on the floor. Those inconsistencies have led to many Cavs fans doubting Wade’s abilities to help this Cavs team. But, if you dig a little deeper into Wade’s seasons you’ll find that he has helped this Wine and Gold squad over the last several seasons and he should get back to playing in the regular rotation that Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff puts together this season.
Let’s discuss three important reasons why putting Wade in the rotation helps this Cavs team moving forward.
Reason No. 1: When he plays good minutes, the team wins
Last season, when Wade got to play more than 30 minutes in a game the team went 5-1. That’s a pretty good indication of how his presence helps his team. More often than not, we don’t pay attention to how the team actually is playing as a unit. That gets overlooked a lot with a player like Wade. He simply makes this Cavaliers team better when he’s on the floor.
I believe that is still why coach Bickerstaff has kept him in the rotation in the past. The head coach got away from playing him consistently last season. After Wade returned from his injury, the coach played him sporadically.
From the beginning of December 2022 through the end of January 2023, Wade missed 24 games recovering from injury. When the team brought him back, they seemed to give him a game or two to get back to form. Then Bickerstaff played Wade more than 20 minutes over the next eight of 10 games and the team went 8-2 during that stretch.
For some reason though, Bickerstaff decided to bench Wade for the most part the rest of the season. That included a four-game stretch immediately after the previous 10 games where Wade had less than nine minutes in every one of those games and the team suffered by going 1-3.
Things got even more strange from Bickerstaff as he played Wade decent minutes over the next four games and they responded with a 3-1 record. But then the Cavs head coach didn’t play Wade in the next three games at all. This type of bizarre activity by the coach is not a good way to build a winning and consistent program.
Wade doesn’t score a ton and because of that some believe he’s not helping the team to win games but if you pay attention to all the other things that are important in the game of basketball, then Wade should be on the court.