It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find bright spots in this Miami Heat season. With the team’s 9-14 record, the lack of star power Heat fans are accustomed to receiving for the price of admission, and Hassan Whiteside walking out of games early to take a poop, there isn’t much reason to tune in to games.
It’s bad. And with the upcoming six-game West Coast road trip that starts tonight at 9 p.m. in Phoenix with a game against the Suns, followed by others against some of the better NBA teams, things are likely to get a lot worse. Finding silver linings in the stormy clouds won’t be easy.
That’s why the Heat needs to do the right thing and start the greatest player in the history of the franchise. The 2018-19 Miami Heat won’t be remembered for an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference and a first-round playoff exit. This season will be forever remembered as fans’ last chance to celebrate Wade.
Reinserting the famed guard into the starting lineup wouldn’t just be for the fans. It would be for Wade, too. Before the season, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press asked Wade if he wanted to go back to starting. The answer was a clear yes. He wants his name called as a starter and his signature pregame basket-pullup routine to follow.
Wade on starting: “That’s like asking if you want breakfast in the morning. Of course. … But I go into camp and I compete. I don’t go into camp worried about starting.”
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 24, 2018
If you’ve forgotten what you’ve been missing since Wade took on his end-of-career, off-the-bench role in his second stint in Miami, here’s a little refresher that has played out hundreds of times.
Really, when it comes down to it, this Heat season should be about two things: throwing Dwyane Wade an 82-98 game retirement party and finding out what the Heat has in the young core of Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and Josh Richardson. Everything else is filler. Everything else will be forgotten. Nothing else should be put ahead of those two things in the name of a couple wins this year.
The new starting lineup should be: Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, and Dwyane Wade.
Wade should start not because someone plugged the numbers in a calculator, but because it’s what ought to happen. Although Wade has been one of the Heat’s best players this season, this isn’t about making moves in the name of more wins.
Wade should start not because it will make the players in the locker room the happiest (Whiteside will definitely need to use the restroom when he finds out), but because he and the fans have earned the right to say goodbye the way they so often said hello. Pregame. With a loud cheer.
The Heat should start the young guys alongside Wade moving forward because it’s the best thing to do for the future of the franchise. And in the end, the team is in the business of entertainment, and lately it’s failing miserably.
Looking at the future while at the same time tipping your cap and celebrating the past is the right thing to do. Let the baton pass before everyone’s eyes these last few months. Fans can handle it. Many likely prefer it.
Wade has earned a proper farewell full of his name being announced pregame. He deserves to go out the same way he came in for so many years. Do the right thing, Miami.