BEST HEAT PLAYER Miami 2004 - Dwyane Wade
Readers' Choice: Dwyane Wade
Who needs a seven-foot center? Not the Miami Heat. They've found competitiveness without some towering freak taller than most trees. A small, fast approach can work when a team rosters a number of versatile weapons, the best of whom is this 6-foot 4-inch rookie guard who can play the point, shoot the nets out, pass with precision, and launch himself above the big freaks to slam home a highlight-reel dunk. Wade's NBA arrival is like one of his ferocious slams, hinting at (dare we say) "Michael potential." The young man also happens to have helped the Heat reshape itself into a potential championship team. Off the court, Wade is a quiet, sleepy-looking, 22-year-old family man. But on the hardwood his cross-over move could break an opponent's ankle and his gravity-belying acrobatics can make a Heat fan out of a New Yorker. Can a kid turn around a team quickly and thoroughly? If his name's Dwyane Wade, bet it all he can.