Dwayne Wade, who won back-to-back NBA titles with the Miami Heat alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2012-13, knows something about playing with two other superstars — and how to determine which takes the all-important last shot.
“The first year, Bron and I would both kind of look at each other all the time,” Wade said Tuesday on the TNT Postgame Show following Brooklyn’s 124-120 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. “You don’t know who’s the guy that’s going to get the ball, so we’re both kind of looking at each other. In the second year, (it was) kind of — ‘Bron, you got it.’ … When I look at Brooklyn, who’s going to be that guy?”
Wade wants Harden in Possession Late
“Right now, it seems like (it’s) Kyrie more times than not,” Wade continued. “But I feel that who should have the ball late in games to really run the offense, it should be James Harden, and allow the other guys to be who they are, obviously giving them the ball in their spots and letting them be great. But James Harden should have the ball because he can do — I personally think he does a great job of getting everybody involved and we know he can score 60 when he wants to.”
Harden, to Wade’s point, currently leads the league with 11.2 assists per game. No other NBA player is averaging double-digit assists.
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Candace Parker, another NBA analyst on TNT’s Postgame Show, also weighed in on Brooklyn’s who-gets-the-last-shot conundrum.
“You have Kevin Durant on your team,” said Parker, a forward for the Chicago Sky with a WNBA championship under her belt. “Kevin Durant is the cheat code. There’s nobody that can get to their spots the way that Kevin Durant does. So in terms of last second, who’s taking the shot? For me, it’s Kevin Durant.”
Wade didn’t disagree.
“From a bucket standpoint, if you were like, ‘Yo, go get me a bucket.’ Yeah, Kevin Durant,” Wade said. “When we talk about late in games, for me, who’s going to have the ball late to make the play that you need to be made, I feel that I would go with James Harden. Not from the standpoint of I need a bucket, but I may need offense different than just a one-on-one pull-up shot. Right? I need somebody who can create offense, can create movement, body movement, by his ability to break down a defense, his ability to create fouls late in games, so forth and so on. So for me, if it’s a bucket, give it to KD. But if it’s down the stretch, if I need somebody that can control this thing, for me, I want James Harden with the ball.”
Parker made one final point on the matter: “I want Harden to get you there, I want KD to finish it,” she said.
Three Good Options in Durant, Harden & Irving
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Brooklyn’s Big Three has five game-winning buzzer-beaters among them. (Basketball Reference qualifies such a shot as a “game-winning shot that was taken with the shooter’s team tied or trailing and left no time on the clock after it went through.”)
Durant has three of them. Harden has the other two.
For the 2021 Nets, figuring out which of their three superstars should get the next potential game-winning opportunity is a good problem to have.
“It can be any one of them,” Wade said. “All these guys are great players. They’re future Hall of Famers.”