I've always liked to watch players and see their tendencies, what they do exceptionally well, what their weaknesses are. I've been meaning to watch some Miami Heat games for a while now since they've been the talk of the pundits. Dwyane Wade specifically has been speculated as this season's MVP with the big numbers he's been putting up.

I've always taken for granted how good Dwyane Wade is, but I've never really tried to see what is so exceptional about him. Of course we know he's explosive, relentless at attacking the rim, but so are so many other guys. What makes Wade so unique is that he gets to the rim in the least amount of strides and dribbles possible. In 1 long stride, Wade covers more ground than some other guys cover in 2 or 3. Here are a few sequences from the second half of their win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday,

In layup drills, I like emphasizing taking as few dribbles as possible. I don't like it when guys dribble too much. In that way, I'd be a critic of Steve Nash's game. I love Steve Nash for so many things he does, but it does bug me when he over-dribbles (Iverson does the same).

In these sequences, I counted specifically how many dribbles he took. In this first clip, from the top of the key, Wade takes 3 dribbles and about 5 strides (this one is more complicated because Wade has to weave around the semi-hedge from the ball screen) before he hands the ball off,

In the second sequence, from the center line against a full half-court defense, he takes 4 dribbles and 8 strides total before the dunk,

In this last sequence, after getting the steal, Wade takes an amazing 2 dribbles and 8 strides from the top of his key all the way for the layup,


It's really quite interesting what the Miami Heat have been able to do. With Boston fading, and Orlando fading the past couple of months, all of a sudden, the Heat are looking like the prime time challengers to Lebron James. With Jermaine O'Neal, they have a legitimate center now since they lost Shaq last year, and they have a ton of athleticism. It will be quite the matchup to see the Heat go up against the Cavs.

For more skill development specifically for guards, take a look at Ganon Baker's DVD on Triple Threat to Create Space. Discuss this and the rest of your favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.