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MIAMI — Both of Dwyane Wade’s previous employers are struggling.
The Miami Heat, who drafted Wade and helped him become a three-time NBA champion, are 2-4 and have lost three games in a row.
The Chicago Bulls, who visit the Heat on Wednesday night, are 1-4. The Bulls signed Wade as a free agent, but he lasted just one season before taking a buyout and bolting to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Miami is hoping to get center Hassan Whiteside back in the lineup. After posting 26 points and 22 rebounds in Miami’s season-opener, he has missed five consecutive games due to a bruised left knee.
“I don’t have a determination on when he will be ready,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Whiteside, who took part in halfcourt drills in practice on Tuesday. “He’s getting better. He’s working. I want to see him pushing himself, and I want to make sure there is no pain.”
Miami’s pain, in terms of its losing streak, has a lot to do with three-point shooting and turnovers. In Monday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami turned the ball over a season-high 24 times and shot just 7 of 27 on three-pointers.
But Chicago hasn’t been much better in either category.
In fact, both the Heat (31.9 percent) and the Bulls (32.1 percent) are among the five worst teams in the league in three-point accuracy.
On turnovers, Chicago is 20th in the league at 15.8 per game, and Miami is tied for 22nd at 16.3.
Part of Chicago’s problem is that it hasn’t found a consistent, quality point guard. Last season, they shuffled through four starters at the position — Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams, Isaiah Canaan and Jerian Grant.
This season, Grant seems set to lose the job to Kris Dunn, who was acquired by the Bulls in the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota.
Grant is averaging 9.0 points, 6.6 assists and 2.0 turnovers in 30.6 minutes per game. Dunn made his Bulls debut on Saturday in a 101-69 blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and had five points, three assists and four turnovers in 22 minutes.
Dunn also had three steals, a sign of his aggressive mentality on defense.
“Kris is a very good player,” Grant told The Chicago Tribune. “I think that pushes us both to be better players.”
Rookie forward Lauri Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft, has given Chicago a boost by averaging 15.6 points and a team-high 9.6 rebounds. He is second on the team in scoring and in effective shooting, a statistic that takes into account three-pointers.
The Bulls are trying to find more shots within their offense for Markkanen.
“He has a toughness streak to him,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of Markkanen. “We do need to add more actions for him.”
On the Miami side, point guard Goran Dragic missed Tuesday’s practice due to an illness. And reserve shooting guard Wayne Ellington, who is probably the Heat’s best marksman, is also battling a cold. He played just four minutes on Monday.
Both are expected to play on Wednesday.