Dwayne Wade has returned to the Heat after his brief two year tour through the Midwest, first with the Chicago Bulls and then with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that he’s back in Miami the team seems to have a new spring in its step, and his production is up. But does Flash actually make the team better, or is it just coincidence? We’ll discuss the pros and cons.

At 36, you could be forgiven for thinking D-Wade is on the downhill side of his career. Recent injuries as well as past ones have hampered his speed a little, but the fact remains that he is performing better with the Heat in virtually every statistical category than he was with the Cavs, despite playing fewer minutes per game.

His leadership can’t be discounted either, both on and off the court he has been making a splash in showing the younger players how to ball and how to be in the community. This is exemplified by his recent visit to the victims of the Parkland shooting and helping push for a larger presence in the league for players from China. On the court he plays more minutes than any other player on the team in the fourth, creating opportunities and leading the team in shots at the end of the game.

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Having said that, the team as a whole is performing worse than when they had a healthy Dion Waiters, with overall field goal percentage dropping by 10 points and their record in clutch games going from 11-7 with Waiters to 3-4 with Wade.

The opposite could be argued as well, however, as without Wade they would lack the depth needed to keep fresh on the bench, leading to fewer games where they are close enough for these stats to matter. And despite his apparent slowing down he’s still faster than most defenders, creating space and opportunities that less talented players only dream of in their prime.

With Dwyane Wade injuring his hamstring last week, the Heat were dropped by the Wizards in overtime without him in the late game, and but were able to dominate them in the follow up game by spreading the wealth around.

The bottom line is that the Heat are probably slightly better off with D-Wade on the roster. If nothing else just having him courtside gives the team a boost in wisdom and experience, to say nothing of the confidence boost that comes from having a leader in the locker room. But they will survive without him, and have shown that they can be good–if not major contenders–even when he’s not there.