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10 a.m. Dolphins item; Dwyane Wade at historic shooting level and LeBron James close

Now that the Heat is back on track with Sunday's win against Houston, let's take a minute to acknowledge something remarkable that has gone somewhat under-the-radar regarding LeBron James and Dwyane Wade:  

### Wade is poised to post the highest shooting percentage by any shooting guard in the past 29 years and the highest of any starting shooting guard since the NBA implemented the three-point shot in 1979-80.

Wade is shooting 55.1 percent from the field --– something Michael Jordan never did over a full season. Jordan’s high: 53.9 in 1990-91.

And if he stays above 54 percent, it would be the highest by a shooting guard since Atlanta backup Mike Glenn shot 58.8 in 1984-85. The highest field-goal accuracy by a starting shooting guard in the three-point era was Otis Birdsong, at 54.5 percent in 1980-81.

What’s more, Wade is on pace to lead all shooting guard in accuracy for the fifth time in the past six seasons. (He was beaten out by Wilson Chandler in 2009-2010). Wade has topped 50 percent only once before – 52.1 last season.

Shooting 54 percent, let alone 55, “is something I’ve never done before, so it would be great,” he said. “I take pride in my field-goal percentage, have always cared about it. I was 49.6 percent in college. I wanted to be at 50. I try to take good shots.”

For perspective, only one other NBA guard has shot better than 50 percent this season: Phoenix's Goran Dragic at 50.8.

So what’s the biggest difference? Wade said he worked on his mid-range game and post game during the offseason, and the results are dramatic.

Consider that Wade is shooting 53 percent from 3 to 10 feet, well above his 46.4 career mark. From 10 to 16 feet, he’s at 47.5 percent, a huge jump from 38.1 in his career.

He’s shooting 55 percent when he posts up, up from 48 percent last season: “I’m pretty good on the post game. I added that. I didn’t have it in college.” He also has diversified his game by polishing his Eurostep move and adding a hook shot.

Wade has taken only one heave at the end of a quarter after shooting 17 over the past five seasons. Will he avoid those shots to keep his percentage high?

“I haven’t been in that position [to take them],” he said, with Wade usually on the bench at the end of the first and third quarters. “It depends on how I’m going. Sometimes, I’ll want to shoot. Sometimes, I’ll dribble it out.”

It also helps his percentage that he shoots three-pointers sparingly (he’s 9 for 27), after launching 243 in his final season playing without James. Wade noted the Heat already has enough three-point shooters without him lofting a lot of them. But Indiana coach Tom Crean, his friend and former coach at Marquette, said last summer that it’s a part of his game he will need to polish as he gets older.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said “the No. 1 factor” in Wade’s remarkable shooting percentage is his shot selection and “not settling” for bad ones: “Most players aren’t capable of that type of maturity. It becomes about them.”

### James stands at 56.9 percent from the field, even after shooting just 45 percent over the past six games. He needs an exceptional close to post the highest shooting percentage of any starting small forward (and better than any guard, for that matter) since the three-point shot was implemented.

Cedric Maxwell shot 58.8 percent for Boston in 1980-81 but attempted only one three-pointer. Conversely, James has attempted 240 and made 89, which would naturally drag down a high shooting percentage.

In the three-point shot era, 11 starting small forwards have shot at least 55 percent in a season. James seems likely to do it twice in a row, after shooting 56.5 percent last season.

For perspective, the highest Larry Bird ever shot in a season was 52.7, Scottie Pippen 52, Rick Barry 51, Alex English 54, Julius Erving 54.6, Chris Mullin 55.3. Dominique Wilkins, Elgin Baylor and John Havlicek never shot 50 percent.

“Do you realize his field goal percentage, literally since his first season, every year has gone up?” TNT’s Greg Anthony said. “That’s unbelievable. How can a perimeter player shoot 58 percent?  When you’re the focal point of the defense, and you’re playing at an elite level, to shoot that high of a percentage is absurd.”  

DOLPHINS ITEM

Right tackle Zach Strief, who declined an invitation to visit the Dolphins --- re-signed with New Orleans today. "Saints are his home," agent Ralph Cindrich explained of his decision not to pursue Miami.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have expressed preliminary interest in Houston free agent right tackle Ryan Harris but no visit has been set up, according to Herald colleague Adam Beasley. Harris and Eric Winston are the top remaining right tackles available. The Dolphins instead might choose to draft one, potentially Notre Dame's Zach Martin at No. 19.

 

Please see the last post for Dolphins, Marlins and Canes items Twitter:@flasportsbuzz

Comments

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johnnie j

Nice Heat win yesterday.Allen will one day have his jersey retired...hmmmmmmm ....at 3 different places.Portland,Boston,Miami?Yep Wade played consistently well again.LeBron had a rough final few minutes trying to score.Oden looked scary despite Wade and others trying to get him involved.He is still so rusty.Wonder how much Hamilton now will be used...if any in the Playoffs?Birdman is playing a bit inconsistently now too as the Heaters still seem a bit off.Time left though to get better for the Playoffs.Yesterday s game...like most all lately have been exceedingly entertaining.GO HEAT.

Spivey

johnnie...get a life.

come lately

Johnnie, If Ray Allen gets his jersey retired in Portland, it would be an amazing honor considering he's never been a Trailblazer...

hmmmmmmm #Fail

chewing on tin foil

Ray Allen in Portland? What the hell are you talking about? He played for Seattle and the Bucs but never Portland...

johnnie j

My bad ...chill boys but glad you read the blog.he he.I meant Seattle.So many losers just waiting to jump on a mistake.......beginning with you Spivey boy.Too funny.

Jason

You guys are tough on Johnnie. While I will dispute Allen getting his numbered retired here (limited amount of yrs played) we all know what he meant. I'm starting to get concerned that rumors keep mentioning that the fins have not gotten more depth at ol. Im tired of fins draftin ol in the top of draft (martin, long, pouncy, etc.). Time to draft offensive playmakers who score tds.

Emo

Allen's game-tying 3 pointer vs S.A. warrants a jersey retirement. One of greatest shots ever.
Fins have royally effed up the opportunity to put together a rebuilt but top-notch o-line. Had the money but after Albert they reverted to Acorn method. Shameful.

Marco

Barry -

I think the more appropriate comparison would be how Wade's two-point percentage compares with others in history. As you noted he takes very few three-point shots so to compare him with players who took a lot of three-point shots is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Former Season Tckt Holder

Johnnie u don't get your jersey retired after playing 2 years for a team in a supporting role

Dashi

Johnnie is a typical bandwagon heat fan.

Just be happy the team won. That is as much as your knowledge of basketball goes.

Heat fans give Miami Fans a bad name. They are the least knowledgeable Fans in any sport.

Talk to a Cane fan. They know their team and the Sport.

Talk to a Marlin Fan(The few left). They know their team and the Sport.

Talk to a Dolphin Fan. They Really know their team and their sport.

Talk to a Heat Fan. They don't know Squat!! Yet, they act cause the team is winning they are superior to other people.

Ask a random Heat fan what is the current record of the Heat. I bet they won't know the answer. HEAT FANS DON'T WATCH BASKETBALL!!

BANDWAGON- APPEAR WHEN THE TEAM IS WINNING, DISAPPEAR OR LEAVE THE GAME WHEN THE HEAT ARE LOSING.

johnnie j

Dashi: Johnnie here is a Cane fan,a Dolphin fan and Heat fan.Been goin since a kid.I played sports loser.So I don t have a reasonable sports opoinion?Hilarious.It s just negative people like you that wish it were true.Get real.

woooow...

Haha, "I played sports loser".

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