The Miami Heat stunned in the NBA playoffs 2016, giving the Charlotte Hornets an embarrassing 123-91 loss. As in the past, the former NBA champions turned to Dwyane Wade to lead the basketball squad amid talents like Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum. Although D-Wade readily stepped in to help his teammates, reports are surfacing that the absence of LeBron James and Chris Bosh by his side is now taking a toll on the star. That is, Wade is reportedly looking into following the footsteps of the great Kobe Bryant and will announce his retirement by the end of this NBA season.
Injuries have plagued the Miami Heat but the team could always rely on Wade to carry most of the burden on the hardwood court. Despite the improvements of Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng, the NBA team still need the veteran to call the shots and push his teammates to succeed.
"I will go to my grave with Dwyane Wade making the decision at the end of the game," shared Erik Spoelstra of Wade and his leadership skills. The Miami Heat head coach added, "Because I have seen him answer the bell so many times, in so many clutch, tough, high-pressure situations, that he's never going to run from that situation. He's going to revel in it. And ultimately, that's probably the biggest hurdle in those moments. And he makes the right plays. Those are not easy plays. And the numbers on those plays league-wide are down."
While Wade is no stranger to leadership, he had both Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and injured teammate Chris Bosh beside him at the time. With both gone, can Wade still lead the team as effectively as before? Or are Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng poor substitutes for King James and Bosh?
"I know I've got a big responsibility as a leader of this team to help lead these guys," commented Wade of his role with the Miami Heat. He added, "It's in a different way than I've done with other teams. So for me, it's about meeting the challenge. Some games I'll be the go-to guy or the scorer, some games I'll give guys confidence. There's going to be a lot of different roles I play."
The recent performance of the Miami Heat gave fans of the team hope that they can actually dominate the Eastern Conference - a possibility that would require them to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers of LeBron James. Although the Toronto Raptors of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan seem intent to be the top challengers of the Kyrie Irving team, the Miami Heat appear to be transforming into a group that can take on both top dogs in the division at the moment.
Wade commented on the possibility of the Miami Heat once again dominating the NBA playoffs. He said, "It does mean a lot to come back this year and put a team together that can do it. I look at the teams ahead of us and I say we're just as good as them. I truly believe it. We have to believe it as a unit. I'm waiting to see if we believe it.