Dwyane Wade’s time as a starter in Cleveland was short lived.
Ty Lue told reporters today that J.R. Smith is moving back into the starting lineup after Wade came to Lue and requested to come off the bench, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin
Ty Lue says Dwyane Wade came to him and said he wants to come off the bench. JR Smith back to the starting 5.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 23, 2017
Wade was announced the starter in early October about a week before the regular season started. So far this season in his role, Wade has averaged a career lows in both points and assists per game while putting up an abysmal true shooting mark of 33 percent with a player efficiency rating of 1.6.
This move is hardly a surprise. The Cavaliers starting lineup measured out at a -21.7 through two games this season and wasn’t going to get any better. This change had to happen.
Why this matters
It’s been all bad for Wade since coming to Cleveland and moving to the bench could be a good way to make him productive again.
The issue with Wade as a starter was that he can’t function as a shooter or even the same off-ball player he was with LeBron James in Miami. He was also starting next to Derrick Rose, who can’t shoot a lick either. It was difficult for him to find the right space to operate in and, even when he did, he wasn’t very good at it.
Now the Cavaliers will have a starting lineup with James and four shooters with Smith and Jose Calderon shifted into the starting lineup after Rose turned his ankle last week.
Wade is going to move to the bench unit where he’ll be able to find his way as the focal point. Putting the ball in his hands again might work out, but there’s no guarantee that it will. He isn’t the same player anymore, and that matters a bit more than where he’s getting the ball and who he’s playing alongside.