Perhaps those hundred or so games Dwyane Wade played with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers from 2016 to 2018 have prepared Miami Heat fans for life without the franchise's greatest star. Maybe Wade's incredible farewell season and the fact he had nothing left to prove or accomplish will lessen the sting a bit.
All of that could be, but it doesn't make things any less weird that number 3 won't be checking in at the scorer's table for the Heat this season. They say all good things must come to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to be ready for it or that it has to feel right. Not seeing Wade in a Heat jersey this season will be an adjustment.
Thankfully, the Heat has shuffled the deck enough that fans have a few intriguing distractions this year. Here are our favorite things that make us miss Wade a little less.
5. Tyler Herro is a "bucket," and his rookie season will be a lot of fun. If you find yourself feeling like there's a void in the part of your heart Wade once occupied, try filling it with Tyler Herro. He has looked like a young JJ Redick this preseason, someone who could make the Heat a completely different basketball team.
Herro scored 18 points in his debut and didn't look a bit nervous about it. He'll likely come off the bench to begin his career, but he'll play a lot of minutes. Any Heat fans who need some good news to turn that Wade retirement frown upside down should buy some Herro stock. He's going to be a show.
4. It's officially "Point Justise" time. Since accidentally learning that Justise Winslow is a completely different player as point guard (thanks to a Goran Dragic injury), Heat fans have been clamoring for him to play the point full time. Winslow himself has said he hoped that would be the case this season.
All indications point toward his being the Heat's full-time starting point guard heading into this season, with Dragic coming off the bench. It's finally time to put up or shut up for Winslow, a player most fans believe can take his game up several levels from where he has played his first four seasons with Miami. Watching him get a chance to run the show will be entertaining.
3. Everyone can enjoy Bam Adebayo now that Hassan Whiteside is finally gone. Hassan Whiteside now plays basketball for the Portland Trailblazers, and it's awesome. After an offseason trade that sent him as far away from Miami as possible, the Heat can give all of his minutes to Adebayo, who is much more likable and fits into the Heat mold 500 times better than Whiteside ever fit.
Watching Adebayo's game take the next step will be the sort of side gig Heat fans need in a season that could have felt a little empty before some moves were made. More on that to come.
2. Jimmy Butler is here to make sure no one messes with Heat culture. This one is easy and obvious: Adding a Top 20 NBA player who is good friends with Dwyane Wade should take the edge off losing the greatest player in Heat history. Jimmy Butler arrived in Miami beyond voluntarily — he practically begged to have a glass of the Heat's culture to quench his thirst. Butler is already the face of the Heat, and he's yet to dribble a basketball for the team.
Watching Butler take the torch from Wade — both on the court and off, as he recruits stars to join him in Miami — will undoubtedly be Heat fans' new favorite thing now that Wade is gone.
1. Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle are the new Dwyane and Gabby — kind of. Maybe you've heard — Meyers Leonard and his hooping, social-media-savvy wife are the newest members of the Heat thanks to the Whiteside Portland trade. They're a treat.
From throwing shade at Whiteside for his social media posts to showing her hooping skills in viral videos, Elle has been fun. With his sharpshooting on the court and WWE-like personality off it, Meyers has been as entertaining as any Heat player. The pair needs a reality TV show. So long, Dwyane and Gabby — there's a new power couple in town.
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