Dean Wade shines but shorthanded Cavaliers end homestand with a loss

New Orleans Pelicans v Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Dean Wade continues to make his impact felt for Cavaliers

Although this season began with the Cavaliers expecting Dean Wade to come off the bench, he has started in 15 of his 22 games played this season due to the non-stop injuries the Cavaliers have endured. In his inflated role, Wade has found a groove and become one of the Cavs' most prominent rotation pieces. With a career-high 126 offensive rating per 100 possessions and a solid 112 defensive rating, Wade is contributing at an impressively high level, given his assumed role as an end-of-rotation option.

Wade notched a near double-double with 9 rebounds and a season-high 20 points, six of which came from beyond the 3-point arc. The stretch four ended the night with a 75 percent 3-point shot, leading the team in scoring, rebounds and 3-pointers made. Although Cleveland ultimately lost, Wade's performance was nothing less than extraordinary.

The 6-foot 9-inches forward joined the Cavaliers as an undrafted rookie, initially playing with the Cleveland Charge until a similar string of injuries gave Wade a chance to prove his value as a legitimate NBA player. Seen as the successor to long-time Cavs legend Kevin Love, Wade was signed to a multi-year contract.

At the end of last season, the Cavaliers doubled down on their faith in Wade, buying out Kevin Love's remaining contract and giving Wade a larger role. Unfortunately, Wade had a lingering shoulder injury that severely affected his shooting form for the rest of the season and postseason. Entering this year, Wade's return to form was a major catalyst for his spot in the rotation to continue improving. With his showing against the Pelicans and consistent defensive effort, Wade has likely secured himself for the foreseeable future as a mainstay in Cleveland.