From Comcast SportsNetDwyane Wade's offseason is now pretty much over.The Miami Heat still have more than three weeks before assembling for training camp and starting the defense of their NBA title, but for Wade, summer vacation is essentially complete. He's been cleared to return to the court and rehab from offseason knee surgery, a process he's already started. And he'll spend the next couple weeks bouncing from coast to coast on a tour for his book on fatherhood that was released Tuesday.It means long, not-exactly-relaxing days will be the norm for Wade until training camp. Case in point: He was out of his hotel room in New York before 8 a.m. Tuesday, and didn't return until after midnight, at least a half-dozen events jamming his calendar.He calls the people around him Team No Sleep, and for the next couple weeks, that'll be accurate."I think when it's hard to find the energy, I think about all the things I want to do," Wade said. "Whenever I feel like I don't have the energy, I have to go back and think about where I've come. This is what I wanted so let's keep going, let's keep pushing, let's keep doing."That's his business mantra. It also applies to basketball.Miami's first game against the Boston Celtics isn't until Oct. 30, so there's plenty of time to get sharp. But Wade's process of getting ready for his 10th NBA season, physically and mentally, is under way. He had a couple slices of pizza for lunch Tuesday, meaning that when he got to the taping of CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," Wade had to pass on cookies left in his dressing room.Such is life for those who want more NBA titles."It's about now I start thinking about certain things," Wade said. "The season, it's still back here, in the back of my mind. It's not right here yet, not all the way in the front of my mind yet. But we're getting closer."Wade said his rehab is ahead of schedule. He was on the court for workouts last week.Clearly, though, he's not going to maniacally test his knee for a while. With his itinerary of promoting "A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball" in New York jampacked through the rest of this week, before the tour moves on to other cities, Wade is taking a few days off from court work.And when eyebrows rise when he says that, Wade quickly points out that going a bit easy at first not only was the plan, but is the smart plan as well."Coming off knee surgery, I couldn't possibly work out every day anyway," Wade said. "I have to work my way into things. I just left Los Angeles. I worked out for the whole week I was there. And now I needed a few days off. So when I leave here, I go to Miami and I'll work out again there. It's the way we mapped it out. It's no good for my knee right now to put that much pressure on it."His shoulder, that's getting a workout now.Wade signed 575 copies of his book at two events on Tuesday, both of which had people lining up hours before the doors opened. One man told him he flew in from China just to get an autograph. A woman told him she missed her first day of classes at Penn State to make the trip to New York and stand in line to spend a few seconds with him instead.When the Heat visit the Knicks this winter, Wade will be booed. Apparently, New York loves him the rest of the time, as evidenced by people standing outside his hotel for 12 hours to catch a glimpse, or others somehow who figured out his traffic pattern and ran up to his vehicle at red lights, unsuccessfully begging for autographs."Everybody wants to be associated with winners," Wade said. "Phones get picked up a lot easier when you're a champion. I understand some people might want to see my book, some people might want to see me, some people might want to be there because you're a champion. I see all sides of it. I appreciate it. When someone says Hey, Champ,' it never gets old."
Sporadically, John Wall would post up smaller guards last season. It didn't become a staple of his game, however, and Bradley Beal didn't do much of it either when he was being defended by them.
Scott Brooks is trying to change that immediately. In seven preseason games, that was one of many focal points for the offense.
Wall is a big point guard at 6-4 and physically strong. Beal isn't exceptionally big for a shooting guard, but he has gotten more size and grown an inch taller than his backcourt mate. When 6-footers such as Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors have to switch onto Beal, the Wizards are getting the ball to him quickly at the rim to force a rotation from a second player to help or clear out for Beal to go to work.
“As we all evolve we’re going to have to push ourselves to play different spots on the floor. John has great size at his position," Brooks said. "For him to post up and be a playmaker from that spot, defenses are not used to that. There are not a lot of pure point guards who can post up. He has the strength and he has the quickness and obviously he has the passing ability. With Brad, they have to make a decision. Are they going to put a bigger guy on John? We’re going to have that opportunity with Brad also."
With their regular season opener set for Thursday (6:30 p.m. on CSN), Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was asked after practice this week what has impressed him the most about his new team now that their seven-game exhibition schedule is over. Brooks was quick to point out what has been an established strength for the Wizards in recent years.
"If I had to pick, our offense and our passing has been really, really good," Brooks said. "We're a very good passing team. I thought throughout this exhibition season that has been displayed."
The Wizards have ranked no lower than seventh in assists per game among NBA teams in the last three seasons. It certainly doesn't hurt to have John Wall at the helm of their offense. Wall, 26, has averaged at least 10 assists per game in the past two years. He ranked third in basketball last season with 10.2 per contest.
Wall, in fact, is seventh all-time in career assists per game (9.0) among players with at least 400 NBA games logged. Four of the six ahead of him on the list - Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas - are Hall of Famers. The other two - Kevin Johnson and Chris Paul - are also good names to be associated with.
Paul, for one, will likely join the others in the Hall someday. He's the only NBA player with more assists than Wall since the latter entered the league in 2010.
Brooks spoke glowingly about Wall's abilities and his rare his combination of speed and court vision.
"It's uncanny, his speed with the basketball and that he's able to make good decisions at that speed," Brooks said. "He sees it slow motion as he's going fast and that's very rare."
Wall isn't the only one passing the rock, of course. Brooks hopes shooting guard Bradley Beal can get more involved in the cause. Beal has a 3.0 assists-per-game average in his career, but his new coach thinks Beal can average four or five.
That may come naturally, given Beal's thoughts on the subject. He believes the Wizards' offense reached a new level this preseason.
"That's probably the best we've passed since I've been here," Beal said. "That's just everybody having fun and not caring about who scores, just getting the best shot available. When we play like that, it's fun for everybody. It's fun for coaches, it's fun for the players, fun for guys coming in the game with momentum and energy."
The Wizards as a team notched 33 assists in their preseason finale against the Raptors in Friday night. Beal alone had nine of them and no turnovers, to boot.
That's exactly what Brooks likes to see and he hopes it carries into the regular season.
"We have to continue to trust the pass," he said. "I think our passing has been impressive. We need to continue that."