Riley: Wade 'best pick in draft'
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard averaged 21.5 points last season in leading Marquette to the Final Four as a junior and he figures to contribute immediately to a Heat offense that was the second-poorest in the NBA last season.
"We feel like for us we made the best pick in the draft,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Dwyane not only is a great addition to our youth movement, but will also compliment our veterans very well.''
According to the NBA's rookie pay scale, Wade's deal is worth more than $7 million over three years.
The Heat believe Wade can provide much-needed help at point guard and will team with their top pick from 2002, swingman Caron Butler, to give them one of the top young backcourts in the NBA.
Wade will most likely be part of a three-guard set with Butler and Eddie Jones next season as Miami looks to rebound from last year's 25-57 record.
"I am really excited to have signed my first NBA contract today,'' Wade said. "It's nice to now concentrate more about playing than the business side of things.''
Wade played two seasons at Marquette, which reached the Final Four last season for the first time since winning it all in 1977.
Last season, Wade was the Conference USA player of the year and was the first Marquette player since 1978 to be selected a first team All-American.
Despite his offensive skills, Riley was impressed by Wade's devotion to defense. Wade was voted Conference USA's top defensive player last season and ranks ninth all-time at Marquette in steals (150) and blocked shots (79).
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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