Imagine if this Utah Jazz squad included Dwyane Wade from his playing days.
Future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade was announced as the newest part-owner of the Utah Jazz on April 16. While he will be handling business matters for the franchise valued at over one billion dollars, basketball fans may wonder how a player like Wade would fare on the hardwood with this current team in Salt Lake City.
At 39 years old, Wade could technically still play basketball. Although he decided to call it quits in 2019, he continues to be a big part of the game he loves. He has been part of the NBA on TNT crew as a color analyst.
While it is highly unlikely that the Jazz organization will ask Wade to trade his business shoes for sneakers, it would be interesting to discuss how he would fare on this historically great Jazz team in different phases of his career. A young, prime, and seasoned Wade could each provide a unique boost to the Jazz organization.
But let’s ponder which of these versions of Wade as a pro would be the best fit in Utah right now, beginning with the earliest version…
How ‘Young Dwyane Wade’ (2003-10) would fare on this Utah Jazz team
In his early years, Dwyane Wade quickly rose to superstar status. One player who is similar to him at this point in his career is Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.
Wade was fortunate to play with Shaquille O’Neal and won the first title in Miami Heat history in just his third NBA season. He became the 2006 NBA Finals MVP after bursting onto the scene with just over 34 points per game in the six-game series victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
While Mitchell didn’t have the same level of team success in his third year, he did have one of the more impressive first-round performances in recent NBA history. He led the Jazz with 36.3 points per game in a seven-game series with the Denver Nuggets.
Mitchell took that first-round exit hard because it’s never easy to be on the wrong side of history. The Jazz became just the 13th NBA team to lose a playoff series after being up 3-1.
If a young Wade was on this Jazz team, he would be a bonafide star with the Jazz having one of the most talented guard duos in the NBA.
While the games of Wade and Mitchell are similar, the wing defense of Wade would help on the other end. While he isn’t the long 6-foot-7 wing defender that is perhaps the only request on the Utah Jazz wishlist, he is no slouch at 6-foot-4 and has a knack for stealing the basketball. The current Jazz would need this as they don’t get many points off transition.
Wade isn’t a pure shooter, but like Mitchell, he could make shots at the rim.
The Jazz would be the odds-on Finals favorites with a proven player like Wade and a rising star like Mitchell. Don’t forget Rudy Gobert, who would have a load taken off him since Wade isn’t going to get beat off the dribble nearly as often as other Jazz backcourt players.
Overall, Wade would have a better supporting cast on this year’s Jazz than he did with the 2006 Miami Heat. Gobert is more dominant defensively and off the pick-and-roll than Shaq. Also, it is tough to say past-his-prime Gary Payton was more electric than a young Mitchell is in the present day.
The only concern here is that the Western Conference is a grind, and the Jazz might be gassed by the time they would reach the NBA Finals and play the super team of the Eastern Conference: the Brooklyn Nets.
Projection: The Utah Jazz would win the West and then lose to the Brooklyn Nets in six games…