Dwyane Wade has been a thorn in Orlando’s side throughout his career. He has averaged 28.6 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game and 50.7 percent field goal shooting in his career against the Magic. That includes his first of three 50-point games in his career.
Wade has always been in the division and has always been the superstar the Magic had to look up to — even when Dwight Howard was here. He put in a lot of effort to win the 2006 NBA Championship and is still one of the top five players in the NBA today.
It was something not a lot of people expected when Miami made him the number five pick in the draft. Fellow Marquette alumnus Doc Rivers certainly did not know how good Wade would be. But once he discovered how good Wade was going to be, he wanted him on his Magic.
“Dwyane came in to work out with us when I was coaching the Magic and he really shouldn’t have,” Rivers said to Mike Lupica of ESPN Radio New York. “I think we were the 15th pick or the 14th pick. He had no business coming. He just came because of the Marquette connection. We had a workout. We had Keith Bogans and a couple of other guys.
“He dominated that workout more than I have seen any player dominate a workout to a point where we were scrambling trying to make a trade to get him in the draft and move up. We felt a lot of people didn’t know it. We had a deal with the Miami Heat if their guy didn’t come up the pick was ours.
“Well when the pick came to Miami…and Dwyane Wade we thought that we had him because we didn’t know that Miami liked him and then they called us right before they were about to pick and they said ‘We’re sorry. We have our guy.’ And they picked Dwyane Wade.”
The Magic took Reece Gaines at 15 and the rest, as they say, is history.
It was no secret during the 2004 Draft that the Heat were enamored with Chris Bosh (funny how that worked out). When the Raptors took him, I think there were some talks that Miami might trade the pick. But it turned out the Heat and Pat Riley had their guy the entire time.
So Orlando was close… but not really. The What-If game would be fun here, but I am just having a difficult time figuring out what Orlando would have given Miami to get Wade. They would probably swap draft picks, but would the Heat have taken a package that would include Gordan Giricek, Andrew Declercq and Jeryl Sasser? Would they insist on taking Drew Gooden? Would Pat Garrity be enough to add to that package? Would the Magic have actually considered trading Tracy McGrady for the unproven Wade on Draft night after the Magic’s collapse in the first round against the Pistons?
It also makes me wonder how the young rookie Wade would have done paired with McGrady. He would not have been able to dominate the ball in Orlando like he did in Miami — he had a career-low 25.0 percent usage rate in his rookie season. How would Wade have developed alongside McGrady? Would McGrady have stayed knowing how good Wade might become?
Most importantly, would the Magic have tanked so bad if Wade were added allowing them to draft Dwight Howard with the top pick?
Yeah these are fun questions to ask. And ultimately they are moot. The Heat were always taking Wade.