Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

 

Dwyane Wade will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in part because he expertly navigated through ego minefields. Make Shaquille O’Neal feel appreciated? No problem, ring number one. Convince LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up in Miami? No problem, rings two and three. But what awaits Wade in Chicago is a different beast entirely: he’s no longer the franchise icon, he’s no longer on a team with enough talent to harbor serious title aspirations, and he’s no longer a top-10 talent himself. What’s more, Wade is leaving a Heat team where he was the meal ticket who was surrounded by, for the most part, deferential personalities like Goran Dragic, Luol Deng and Justise Winslow who could help cover up some of his flaws. In Chicago, Wade will tussle with ultra-stubborn point guard Rajon Rondo for control of the ball and he will jockey with rising star Jimmy Butler for the marquee attention. He’ll also approach those tasks without the backing of an experienced, proven and trusted coach like Erik Spoelstra.

+ Has posted a 20+ PER in 12 consecutive seasons, tied with LeBron for the longest active streak
+ Ranked sixth in the NBA with 142 points in clutch situations last season, in part because he attempted more than twice as many clutch shots as any teammate
He’s an ill-fitting centerpiece for a Bulls team that was supposedly aiming for pace and space
He ranked outside the top 60 among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus Minus last year

The good news: Wade, 34, arrives with some positive momentum. Last year, he appeared in 74 games, his most since 2010-11, he posted All-Star worthy numbers (19 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.6 APG), and he delivered in a big way when it mattered in the first round of the playoffs. The bad news: he’s leaving a Heat organization that was long designed to win on his terms for a Bulls organization that spent this summer proving that it doesn’t have anything resembling a big-picture vision.

 

Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

 

Put Rudy Gobert anywhere on God’s green Earth, and he’ll improve the local team’s defensive rating considerably. “Long” doesn’t even begin to describe the 7’1” Gobert, who has ranked in the top five in block percentage and the top six in rebound percentage in each of the last two seasons. At 24, and coming off of an incomplete season, Gobert (9.1 PPG, 11 RPG, 2.2 BPG) is already playing at an elite level and still has room for growth. That’s great news for the Jazz, who are poised to make a serious run up the West standings.

+ He allowed the lowest field goal percentage at the rim last season (per Nylon Calculus)
+ More than 80% of his field goal attempts came from within 2 feet last year
He missed 21 games last season, including an extended stretch due to a knee injury
He scored just 16 points all season in post-up situations (per Synergy Sports)

While Gobert isn’t quite as nimble as other up-and-coming centers, he’s an absolute keeper: he skies for blocks, he fearlessly challenges plays at the rim regardless of the YouTube consequences, he aggressively contests and actively deters countless shots, and he can foil drives simply by sizing up a ball-handler. Thanks to the arrival of George Hill, plus a deeper and more flexible supporting cast, the Gobert-led Jazz can make a run at the NBA’s top defensive efficiency mark. With good health, Gobert should be firmly in the mix for All-Defensive Team and Defensive Player of the Year honors.