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.