In recent weeks, Dean Wade has been among the players that have stepped up for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the Cavaliers down Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, and the team still set to be without them for some time yet, it's been about the team collectively pulling games out, and Cleveland has done that, and the group is starting to gel.
Other guys have had to make a bigger impact, such as undrafted rookie two-way guy Craig Porter Jr., and as was aforementioned, Wade has done so.
Wade has been playing more with Mobley (arthroscopic knee surgery) out of the lineup for the time being, and in recent weeks, Wade has given Cleveland quality minutes. He's demonstrated how he is one of Cleveland's best defensive options when he's been involved in the past few seasons, and as the season has worn on, he's appeared to get more and more comfortable as a perimeter shooter.
Wade's numbers aren't going to be gaudy, but his two-way contributions of late have made a difference for this Cavaliers squad, and what he's done has brought clarity as it pertains to his place within the team.
Wade's two-way play should be giving the Cavaliers additional clarification about his outlook.
Dean Wade is not going to be Evan Mobley on the defensive end, but nobody else is, either, and Wade has still proven himself to be one of Cleveland's best defensive options against opposing wings and often creating forwards. When he's been on the floor, the Cavaliers are typically better, and his defensive positioning for Cleveland is usually on-point to help his teammates.
In this recent stretch with the Cavs shorthanded, though, it's been encouraging to see him shoot the ball with confidence.
It hasn't shown in the past couple of games for Wade, and there are going to be some quiet nights for him, given he's not going to be high in Cleveland's pecking order in lineups, but Wade helps Cleveland's spacing.
Despite his minimal scoring the past two contests, including a goose egg in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, where Cleveland's threes eluded them, he has shot 37.4 percent from three-point range in 25 appearances this season. And in his past 12 games since returning from an ankle sprain, he's hit 41.1 percent of his threes. He's tacked on 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per contest in that span, where he's had 11 starts.
With Wade, the Cavaliers have benefited from his heady overall two-way contributions, and whether or not he has been hitting shots and/or at volume, he has helped the team's spacing. That sort of thing has made things easier for Jarrett Allen on the interior, who is on a tear, along with Cleveland's driving threats in that time, regardless of whether Donovan Mitchell was involved.
This isn't to suggest that Wade is going again, be a player that's always going to put up double digit scoring in his minutes. But, generally, when he's been healthy, the Cavs typically can get steadying play from him, he makes the team more multiple on defense, he runs the floor well, and he aids in the club's ball movement when he's out there, either off the bench or as a spot starter.
While Wade could theoretically be a trade candidate with a movable deal as part of a package by the Feb. 8 trade deadline, he's the type of role player teams should want to keep. He's also been a quite a success story as originally an undrafted two-way signing by Cleveland following the 2019 NBA Draft.
When one factors in how he makes Cleveland usually more capable on defense, has placed in the 90th percentile in spot-up efficiency this season (per Synergy Sports), and how he can play multiple spots, Wade should remain entrenched in Cleveland's rotation moving forward.
Wade continues to show how he's a valuable role player for this group.