Dwyane Wade is in his 14th NBA season and has been a part of both terrible teams and championship-winning squads.
When he famously signed with his hometown Chicago Bulls in the offseason, the general thought was that Wade joining forces with Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo in Chicago would result in success in the Eastern Conference.
However, things haven’t gone as planned.
While Wade is putting up 18.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists over 30.4 minutes per game for the Bulls this year, the team is just 31-35 and currently out of the playoff picture.
Losers of five-straight contests after Sunday’s 100-80 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Bulls are in the midst of a rough patch.
After some initial success following a controversial trade deadline deal that send Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow, the team is seemingly without an identity at this point of the year.
Developing younger players like the newcomer Payne, along with some rookies and second-year players, has cut into the playing time of veterans like Wade and Rondo. And you can make the clear argument that the focus on giving the youngsters playing time has resulted in on-court struggles and losses.
After Sunday’s game, when asked about whether the development of the younger players is frustrating to him, he told reporters the following.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I wish upper management could be answering these questions because I’m tired of answering the same ones every game. I don’t know. I wish I had the answer, I don’t … I just want to get out there and try to play, try to lead.”
He went on, “And try to find a way that me and Jimmy can be better to help these guys. We got to go look at the film, sit down with coach … we got to figure out a way for us to be better so we can help everybody else be better.”
While Wade clearly called out the team’s front office, he was quick to clarify that he was sympathetic with Fred Hoiberg’s current situation.
“A lot of people have a lot of things they can say about Fred as a coach, but I will defend him on this: This is a tough situation he’s put in right now,” Wade noted. “That’s why sometimes I’m glad I’m on this side of the coin. I’m glad I got a jersey on; I don’t have to make certain decisions, because it is tough. But no one is really going to care too much. Fred gets a nice paycheck, I get a nice paycheck, Jimmy gets a nice paycheck, blah, blah, blah — so people don’t care when you get paid good. So we all have to figure it out together. We’re all in this together.”
Of Sunday’s loss, he explained, “We’re still experimenting. Like I said the other day, we’re going to take some lumps; some of them are going to be big lumps. Some of them are going to be small lumps. Tonight was a big one.”
Wade scored just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting along with three rebounds, two steals and a turnover through 26 minutes against the East’s second-place team.
The Bulls will look to snap their losing streak when they travel to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out in Chicago.