Observing Zaire Wade in Two Showcase Cup Games
November 9th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Recently, Salt Lake City Stars’ guard, Zaire Wade has played in two Showcase Cup games in the NBA G-League. I managed to watch him play in a November 5th game against the Oklahoma City Blue, and in a November 7th game against the same team, both with thanks to YouTube via nbagleague. Zaire Wade is the son of Miami Heat’s legendary guard, Dwyane Wade, so some of you may be wondering how close he may be to being ready for the NBA or to get drafted by an NBA team. He played fairly well in a lopsided loss on November 5th, but he was then held scoreless in his team’s next game. Here is a breakdown of how he fared in both of those games.
The November 5th Game Against the Oklahoma City Blue:
Zaire Wade had a decent showing in the November 5th game, and his jump shot could be his easiest path to make it to the NBA. In this match, Wade was not very aggressive on offense in the first three quarters, and he was placed in a low usage role of being stationed in corners for a good portion of his team’s offense, though he would sometimes move off the ball.
He shot the ball well, and he especially excelled at knocking down outside shots. Wade was able to make two, open spot-up threes off the catch, and his first made field goal in the G-League was when he made a wide-open, corner three in transition. He also was able to make a quick, long two-pointer. He also dribbled to his left quickly off of a screen to calmly score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper. Wade was effective as a spot-up shooter, as he also was given ample time and space to get his shot off, but he also showed that he can comfortably dribble to his left to knock down the occasional mid-range jumper. On the downside, he didn’t really look to go all the way to the hoop, but Wade was effective at knocking down jumpers in this game.
Wade didn’t really look to handle the ball that much, and he played off the ball at shooting guard for the first three quarters of this game. He was usually tasked to shoot or move the basketball, but he was able to bring the ball up and run some point in the fourth quarter. He mostly looked to make safe passes, and he spent plenty of his offensive possessions just standing in corners to help his team space the floor. Unfortunately, he was quite turnover prone on offense. He would tend to throw hasty passes, as he would try to make the home run pass and fit balls into tight windows, but he ended up throwing a couple of passes that ended up getting intercepted, and another ended up sailing away out of bounds. When handling the ball up the court once, he had a ball that was stolen away from him by a defender.
He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Wade was able to leap up to get a defensive board once. Defensively though, he struggled in this game. For the positives, he was able to pounce on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help his team get a steal. He also would fight through screens, and he was able to rotate on a drive to force a passing turnover another time. On the downside, he would over-help in the paint, which would him to be out of position, and it would put his teammates in scramble situations. He also got beat off the dribble another time, which put his team in another scramble situation. On a separate play, he got caught on stuck on a screen, and while his team didn’t effectively communicate the switch that time, they ended up allowing a mid-range basket.
In this game, Zaire Wade scored 10 points, and he also made 2 threes in his team’s double-digit loss to the Oklahoma City Blue. He was effective as a spot-up shooter, and he also showed that he can comfortably knock down threes and mid-range jumpers on offense. On the other hand, he didn’t pass or defend well, and he also didn’t grab many rebounds. Overall, Zaire Wade held his own as he had a better showing than expected, and his adequate performance on this day could help strengthen his case to be selected by an NBA team in the 2022 draft.
The November 7th Game Against the Oklahoma City Blue:
Zaire Wade did not play very well in his team’s loss to the Oklahoma City Blue on this day. He was held scoreless, and he struggled to make plays on both ends of the floor. He made a more concerted effort to pass and rebound the ball better, but his inability to make shots or to defend made it tough for him to make a positive impact for his team when he was on the floor in this contest.
Wade missed on all of the mid-range shots that he took off the dribble. He tended to make things tougher on himself by taking tough, contested shots, and sometimes he would be off-balanced when taking them, which would lead to misses. Wade was able to draw a non-shooting foul when dribbling left off of a screen, but that was unable to offset his poor shooting and shot selection.
He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills in this game. He took on greater responsibilities to handle the ball, and he looked to run the point more, as he did so rather effectively in the second half. Wade would throw timely passes off the dribble, and he also would find teammates on the move to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates. On the downside, sometimes he would throw inaccurate passes when trying to get the ball to teammates on the move, and he had a couple of balls that ended up getting intercepted.
Also, Wade did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after grabbing defensive boards. Defensively though, he struggled in this game. On one good play, he fought through a screen and proceeded to intercept a pass to get a steal. He also would look to fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers. He also rotated to contest a three to force a miss another time. On the downside, he tended to get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also tended to sag too far off his man, as there would be times where he would not apply any pressure on the passer, and he would have his hands down and allow opponents to make easy passes to set up scores. He also would tend to space out and get caught ball watching. On one play, he over-helped in the paint and was late to rotate back to his man or to contest the shot, and he allowed his man to score on a corner three. He also lost track of his man and got beat off of a cut to allow a quick score another time.
Overall, Zaire Wade did not have a great game in the November 7th game, but he showed the ability to run the point in the midst of his team’s lopsided loss to the Oklahoma City Blue. In watching both of these games, his jump shot may give him a shot to make it to the NBA, but he’ll need to prove that he can consistently knock down shots in the G-League, and he’ll also need to show that he can capably run the point and defend at this level. Time will tell to see how well he fares in the G-League this season, and there are still a lot of games left to go. Right now, he still may be a long shot to be drafted by an NBA team, but if Zaire Wade keeps improving and progresses as an overall player, he could perhaps end up being an effective role player similar to former Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard, Damon Jones in the NBA.