MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.
@Roooo_OK: Do you think Goran Dragic-Dwyane Wade 2.0 will work better than the first time? Or will we go back to hero ball and Dragic in the corner?
Anthony Chiang: This is a different season and different situation. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with a usage rate of 31.5 percent in 2015-16, which is the only full season Dragic and Wade have played together. Dragic ranked third behind Wade and Bosh with a usage rate of 21.5 percent that season. And in the fourth quarter, Wade’s usage rate jumped to 37.9 percent and Dragic’s usage rate dropped to 19.2 percent. Those numbers tell the story of why this backcourt didn’t work to its full potential two seasons ago. Dragic faded into the background too many times, especially late in games, while Wade dominated the ball.
But things have changed a lot since Wade left the Heat in the summer of 2016. First, Wade is now 36 years old and has transitioned into a bench role in the two seasons he’s been away from the organization. Second, Dragic currently leads the Heat’s rotation players with a usage rate of 26.1 percent. And finally, Dragic is now the Heat’s All-Star. The dynamic is different and both players are in difference spaces than they were the last time they played together. Plus, I think coach Erik Spoelstra understands Dragic and Wade might be better playing when the other is on the bench. Out of the 22 minutes Wade played Friday against the Bucks, only one came alongside Dragic. Instead, Spoelstra staggered the two veteran playmakers to allow Wade to facilitate the offense with Dragic on the bench. Dragic and Wade will work fine this time because circumstances are different now and they might not even play that many minutes together.
@Mihakranjc: LeBron coming to Miami next season. What are the chances?
Anthony Chiang: For a vacation or to play for the Heat? The acquisition of Dwyane Wade has made this a popular question. Can Wade recruit LeBron James back to the Heat? But the real question is, would the Heat even be able to afford James? The Heat are already close to the luxury tax line with 11 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due a combined $119 million. That puts them way above the projected $101 million salary cap and very close to the projected $123 million luxury tax line. Miami will have to deal with this situation first.