While age has started to become a factor for both players, Ray and Dwyane are coming off very productive seasons.
Wade was his usual uber-efficient self and averaged 21.2 points on a career-best 51.2 percent shooting, and also added five rebounds and 5.1 assists per night in the 2012-13 season. On the other hand, Allen gave the Heat exactly what they wanted from him: a lot of three-pointers. Ray averaged 10.9 points on 41.9 percent shooting from outside. He also averaged 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Will those performances be replicated? Let's go over 2013-14 season expectations for both players.
While Wade's 2012-13 regular season performance was fantastic, his 2013 postseason play was far from it. Severely hindered by knee injuries, Dwyane just couldn't move like his normal self.
His explosiveness was mostly gone, so down went the free-throw attempts (.2 per game) and down went the productivity. After averaging more than 20 points per game for seven straight postseasons, Wade tallied just 15.9 per night throughout the Heat's title run.
That 22-game stretch has many believing Wade's body is breaking down and his time as an elite player is over.
However, for the umpteenth time in his career, Dwyane Wade is going to prove the doubters wrong.
As we've gone over, Wade was great in the 2012-13 regular season when healthy.
While it's definitely concerning that D-Wade wasn't able to get on the court from the end of the NBA Finals until the middle of August after having shock treatment on both of his knees (according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel), it's been made clear that Wade is highly motivated to come back strong this season.
He's been working with Michael Jordan's old trainer Tim Grover and is dropping quotes like the following (via Winderman):
"You lose something as you get older, when it comes to your athleticism," he said, "but you don't lose your game, you don't lose what's up here [pointing to his head].
"My job, my whole life, I've always had that kind of doubter, people have always doubted me. And I don't know how I would succeed without it. So I welcome it, and it gives me a challenge and I will see if I can live up to my challenge."
And quotes like this...
"I'm not done yet," Wade said. "I still got more in the tank. Like I said, my focus is just to make sure physically I can do the things I need to do. My skills haven't diminished by no stretch of the imagination."
Now, the Heat might lessen Wade's minutes this season to preserve his body for the postseason. That would obviously negatively affect D-Wade's overall output; however, expect Wade to be the PER-legend that he's always been when on the court.
Stat Predictions: 32.1 MPG, 19.8 PPG, 51.2 FG%, 27.3 3PT%, 76.2 FT%, 4.7 RPG, 4.7 APG, .9 BPG, 1.7 SPG, 2.6 TOPG
Allen will seemingly be able to shoot forever. That's a really good thing for the Heat because he's not much of a help in the game's other areas for them at this point in his career.
Allen is 38 years old and his mobility is shot. He's undoubtedly a huge defensive liability for Miami.
However, the Heat can live with that considering how great of an offensive asset he is. He's the type of guy that you can count on to hit a big shot in the NBA Finals. (Yep, you know where I'm going with this.)
Allen has had three consecutive seasons in which he's topped the 40 percent mark from beyond the arc and reached that plateau in his first postseason with the Heat as well.
That elite shot should be even more important this season. If Wade sees less time on the court this, Allen will likely play more.
Allen was more than able to handle 25.8 minutes per game last season. Considering that he keeps himself in outstanding shape, he should be able to give Miami an extra minute or two a night.
Though, he's entering his 18th season, Allen is a vital member of this team and poised for a strong year.
Stat Predictions: 27.5 MPG, 11.4 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 42.4 3PT%, 87.4 FT%, 2.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, .1 BPG, .9 SPG, 1.2 TOPG
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