Cavaliers would benefit from finding Dean Wade early-season looks

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

In the preseason, it was nice to watch one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ quality role players in Dean Wade looking right again. Wade was off to a terrific start last season, before he ultimately dealt with complications involved with an AC joint sprain in his shoulder.

As a result of the lingering issues with that injury, Wade was not nearly the same player. His perimeter shooting fell off a cliff, and he was not able to give the Cavaliers much of an option in the playoffs.

In fairness to Wade, he was still doing a pretty nice job on the defensive end even after coming back from the initial injury absence last season, but with him reportedly feeling the best he’s felt since before the injury was first sustained, he could be make quite an impact.

Circling back, Wade looked very sharp in preseason play for Cleveland. In his four appearances in those games, he shot nine-of-16 from three-point range, a 56.3 percent shooting clip. He tacked on 4.8 rebounds per game in those outings as well, and just seemed to be so comfortable out there.

Going into the new campaign, with him in a good place, even with others in the fold, the Cavs would be in the right to get Wade his chances early.

The Cavaliers would benefit from finding Wade early-season looks.

Even with the newer guys such as Strus and Niang involved now, Wade is still a player Cleveland should be utilizing in games. He is fully healthy again, and his preseason play should only help his case.

With him truly ready to roll going into the season, Wade could be back to the two-way player he was prior to the injury issues last season, where he gave Cleveland quite a jolt. He is one of Cleveland’s better defensive players, and with his shooting abilities, and with him being able to play at the 3 and 4, he should be able to have early opportunities.

Even with the injury complications during his past season, the Cavaliers were 30-14 in regular season games last year when Wade played. He wasn’t a factor in the playoffs, but healthy again, there’s reason to be optimistic about him going into the 2023-24 season.

Additionally, if Jarrett Allen is not able to go to begin the season, pertaining to his bone bruise in his ankle, there’s more reasoning for Wade to at least have some defensive minutes for Cleveland. Wade potentially starting could work also out well, if Allen is not available to start out.

But even if Allen is able to go at the outset of the new season, Wade could play with him and/or Evan Mobley, whether or not Mobley and Allen are staggered for stretches, which would feasibly play out anyway. The Cavs should ease Allen into things, too, with the injury in mind for him, and possibly for conditioning reasoning.

Regardless, it’s good for the Cavs to seemingly have Wade at full capacity again going into the new campaign. He’s long been a very effective two-way, role piece when that’s been the case for him in recent seasons, and at 6-foot-9, he can defend multiple positions.

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He could be a quality kickout target for the likes of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert and others to go to, and seems to have great synergy on both ends with the Cavaliers’ bigs. And realistically, Wade could be able to play as an added shooter in lineups with Max Strus and/or Georges Niang.