When Dwyane Wade recently signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would immediately become the starting shooting guard.
However, that might not be the case.
After speaking to head coach Tyronn Lue, it seems as though Wade will accept whatever role he’s given and is glad to be a part of such a deep roster.
"Me and Ty just talked about, we talked about role," Wade told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. "We didn't talk about starting or nothing like that. We just talked about what my role can be and pretty much what I've always done. Understanding that right now we have to get through training camp, we have to see how guys play together, we got to get through preseason. I'm not focusing on starting at the 2. I'm not focusing on anything.”
In addition to Wade, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert and perhaps even Derrick Rose will provide depth at the two-guard. Given Wade’s history of injuries, he might be used sparingly during the regular season in the hopes of preserving his health for the playoffs. Nonetheless, he looks to make the most out of his time on the court and thinks he can be successful for the back-to-back-to-back Eastern Conference champions.
"We're very deep, so guys don't have to pull out their do-it-yourself kits all the time," he explained. "You can play less minutes if our first team and our second team play the way they need to play. LeBron don't need to play too many minutes as he has played in the past if we do our job and vice versa. So when you have a deep team like this, it enables you to save guys minutes in the regular season.”
Of course he may end up starting, but it appears as though Wade is comfortable sacrificing minutes. Last season, he played a career-low 29.9 minutes per game for the Chicago Bulls, averaging 18.3 points (the lowest since his rookie season in 2003-2004) on 43.4 percent shooting (the worst mark of his career). He has averaged 70.4 regular-season games played over the course of his 13-year career and has never eclipsed 77 contests played in a single regular season.
While his career averages of 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game with three championships almost certainly have him headed to the Hall of Fame, he might be in store for a humbling experience in Cleveland due to the overwhelming amount of depth that the team is fortunate to have.