Dwyane Wade is among the very early candidates for NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors, carving out a niche as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ veteran champion off the bench.
Wade would like to keep it that way, too — even after fellow star guard Isaiah Thomas makes his Cavs debut.
“I’m good where I’m at,” Wade said in an interview with cleveland.com. “The problem would only be worse when Isaiah comes back, because he’s going to need his shots. Where I am now, it’s working for me and for this team.”
Wade and the Cavs (17-7) have won 12 straight entering Wednesday’s home game vs. the Sacramento Kings. They can tie the franchise record of 13 consecutive wins that night.
That’s all dandy, but the Cavs’ focus is always on the bigger picture, with another title being the ultimate realistic goal.
The bench unit, led by Wade, is a big reason for the recent success and why the Cavs continue to believe in very good things.
“That second unit is giving us a great sense of leadership and has us playing at a great pace,” starting big man Kevin Love said. “Whether LeBron (James) is in there or not, they really know what they can get out of each other. They’ve gotten us back into or gotten a lead for us during this 12-game winning streak.”
But it is Wade, 35, who has been rising the most — with averages of 18.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists over the last five games.
Still, like any true leader, he refuses to take all the glory.
“I’m a little uncomfortable with all the Sixth Man talk because I’m out there with a great unit,” Wade said. “We all are helping this team be better. Kyle (Korver) is the No. 1 plus/minus guy on this team, so maybe he’s the Sixth Man of the Year. But I’m just having fun with the guys I’m out there with.”
Once Thomas does finally return, perhaps later this month, it will be up to Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to mix and match and figure out all the parts. Lue will likely need to see how things look when Thomas returns before making any final decisions.
But either way, the Cavs are sure to benefit with the presence and recent resurgence of Wade.
“Hopefully it continues,” Wade told cleveland.com of his role. “If it changes, then I’ll make another adjustment and try to be the best at that. But right now hopefully it stays this way for me.”