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Top NBA Players: #9 Dwyane Wade

Oct 18, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) dunks over Detroit Pistons small forward Kyle Singler (25) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Dwyane Wade
Resume: 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, 33.2 minutes, 50% FG, 27% 3PT, and 79% FT… Team record in games played: 32-17 (14-3 without)… Playoffs: 22.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, 39.4 minutes, 46% FG, 29% 3PT, 73% FT, 16-7 record… All-Star, 10th in MVP Voting, 3rd Team All-NBA

I’ve caught some flak over the past two years for being what most people say is overly critical of Dwyane Wade. I don’t know if overly critical is the best way to describe it. I think a more accurate term would be realistically skeptical of him, and only when people (cough, cough Skip Bayless) wanted to try to tell me that Wade was as good as LeBron. Either way, I don’t see this being much of a problem going forward. After the way the 2012 NBA Playoffs played out there is no way that any rational and unbiased air breathing God created creature could possibly say that Dwyane Wade is the best player on the Miami Heat. And really, that is all that has ever bothered me about Dwyane Wade.

This isn’t going to be an all-out attack on Dwyane Wade. If I would’ve dropped him in the rankings or just talked about the bad things he does (whining after he doesn’t get a call instead of running back on defense, killing all momentum that LeBron has by taking an ill-advised contested jump shot, etc.) I would’ve come off just as biased and irrational as the people who try to put him on the same tier as LeBron. That isn’t what I want to do. After all, Dwyane Wade is arguably the best shooting guard in the league, quietly making a case as a top 5 shooting guard all-time (he might be there already), and turned in a terrific performance as a “Super-wingman”, a term coined by Bill Simmons in The Book of Basketball.

I still contend that the Heat struggled in 2011 for two main reasons.
1.) They weren’t nearly deep enough. Mario Chalmers (hardly used in comparison to this season), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (past his prime), Mike Bibby (past being past his prime), Joel Anthony (practically worthless), James Jones (spot up shooter and nothing else), Carlos Arroyo (now out of the league), Mike Miller (injured spot up shooter), Udonis Haslem (coming off of an injury), Erick Dampier (the worst offensive repertoire I’ve ever seen in person at an NBA game), Eddie House (somehow managed 21 minutes in Game Six of the NBA Finals) were all legitimate rotation guys at one point in the season. Are you effing kidding me?
2.) LeBron and Wade’s roles should’ve been reversed.

This just isn’t a shot at Dwyane Wade. LeBron proved somewhat incapable of being the 2nd option for the Heat. In the three rounds leading up to the Finals LeBron and Wade managed to perform a balancing act when it came to who would be doing the scoring. It was almost as if they decided “Okay, we won’t necessarily play together. We’ll just do something like ‘you take a shot, then I take a shot.’ Deal?” It was sort of like watching the best pick-up basketball game of all-time. There was a whole bunch of isolations and singular talent, not too much teamwork. A perfect example of that would be in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals when they both had their share of daggers against the Bulls to help propel the Heat into the Finals. The NBA Finals were a totally different story. It was almost like LeBron and Wade both wanted Wade to be “the man”, only LeBron couldn’t be the 2nd option that Dwyane Wade needed him to be, or even the 2nd option that Wade would manage to be just a year later.

What exactly does it say about Wade that the Heat had more success when he took a back seat to LeBron James? Well, you could argue one of two things. Either Wade wasn’t the player he was in 2006 and couldn’t handle the burden of being the top guy again, or, and this is the way I’m looking at it, the Heat improved, LeBron James evolved and started playing the best basketball that any perimeter player has played post-Jordan, and Wade simply had to be the best wingman possible. Instead of being the top guy in the NBA (which Wade had to be in 2011 in order for the Heat to win the Championship as long as he was going to be their go-to-guy late in games in the Finals) Wade just needed to be there take pressure off of LeBron. He spent time guarding Durant in the Finals when he wasn’t guarding Westbrook. Even though LeBron handled the majority of the late game scoring duties, Wade made his share of plays late in games. Most importantly, when Chris Bosh went down, Wade (and LeBron as well) put together a brilliant stretch of basketball keeping the Heat alive, particularly the final three games of the Indiana series when he averaged 33 points on 62% shooting. That’s super-wingman status right there.

As long as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can manage to stay reasonably healthy there is little reason to believe they couldn’t continue this run of Batman and Robin for a few more years. That’s right Skip Bayless, LeBron James is Batman, Dwyane Wade is Robin. Get used to it, and please start to appreciate it. #SonnyVsSkip

sonnygiuliano

  • BIG DADDY

    Great write up…..and Skip Bayless is an Idiot.

  • GoHEAT

    ummm this is kind of stupid, seeing that dwyane admitted that lebron is the best on the planet and he stepped down for him. Also, wade is the man who creates lebrons momentum. Both are close to decent shooters (not great) so when wade gets lebron a great lob pass or dime or anything, that what starts lebrons momentum. Third, try naming 8 players better than dwyane. Wade is legitimately the 4th best player in the league behind Lebron, Durant, and Dwight Howard. In fact he is third (better than howard). If wade still was on his own team or had a team that he being undisputed could call his own, there is no question that top 5 is not even enough for his potential.

  • GoHEAT

    skip is an idiot tho

  • Chris

    This is a garbage re-write of history. The reason they lost the finals in 2011 was not because Wade was too dominant. The reason they lost was because Lebron played terribly. I can’t believe it has to be explained that the reason they lost the finals is not because Wade played great!

    After the 2011, plenty of “air breathing God created creatures” thought Wade was better than Lebron, and certainly there were points in their careers where Wade WAS better. Why do you think the 2012 finals are so conclusive, especially considering Wade was injured and lacked speed because of his knee, and still contributed much more than a healthy Lebron did in 2011??

    Wade at #9 is ridiculous. So much disrespect for Wade

  • Rizo

    Not that I have a problem with the article – just simply that I can’t find any other players other than KD, and Lebron to being even remotely tons better than DWade. He had the 3rd highest PER in the game because he’s a 2-way player. Both a game-changer on the offensive and defensive end. D-Rose is not. Kevin Love is not. Dirk is not. Westbrook is not. Deron is not, and etc. In my opinion though, I’d place Wade at that 4-6 spot.

    Also, that record without Wade doesn’t mean much in the regular season. They don’t win a ring without him. Look at Chicago – they were a GREAT team without D-Rose. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate to the playoffs.

    As for the Finals in 2010-2011, look, that was Lebron’s fault. They had no problem playing great against Indiana, or even the Celtics. Both Wade and Bron averaged over 25+ ppg in that series in 2010-2011 against Boston. Boston is also, in my opinion, a much tougher defensive team as well. The problem was Lebron and his unwillingness to affect the game like he knows he can, being the best player in the game.

    All in all, I would’ve like to see Wade a little higher. Most people tend to forget he’s 6’4 because he plays so big. Not better than Lebron, but most certainly – top 5, or maybe that 6th spot.

  • chris

    I have to say this again — There is a serious problem with objectivity of the author if he can somehow manage to characterize the shortcomings of the Heat in 2011 finals as Wade should have taken a back seat to Lebron. And you can somehow manage to talk about Wade killing Lebron’s momentum. Wade was on fire, and Lebron was not contributing. Well, this year an injured Wade still contributed elite numbers so that Lebron could get a finals MVP; Lebron didn’t do that for Wade last year. I’m a heat fan and I like Lebron, I think he’s the greatest player in the nba, but you are seriously not giving Wade the credit he deserves.

    • Sonny Giuliano

      Maybe I worded my thoughts the wrong way. Let me try again so there isn’t so much animosity.

      In the 2011 Finals Dwyane Wade was FAR better than LeBron James. That absolutely cannot be disputed, and I never tried to make that point above. What these two years have told us is LeBron cannot be as reliable of a 2nd option as Dwyane Wade proved to be this year. That isn’t an insult to Wade, that is a credit to him. The Heat couldn’t succeed with LeBron as a noticeably less assertive 2nd option. As GoHeat said below, Wade admitted that LeBron was the best player in the world, and the Heat had to become LeBron’s team to ultimately win the championship. In the Finals Wade was the perfect wingman for LeBron, and I gave Wade alot of credit for his play in the postseason because he did everything you could’ve wanted him to do as the Robin to LeBron’s Batman.

      Again, I appreciate you reading and commenting, just be aware that I’m not the only person in the world who thinks that Dwyane Wade is not a top 5 player in the league. ESPN has Wade 8th in their rankings. I’m clearly not an expert and I never claimed to be. I’m just a fan who cares way too much for his own good.

      • Chris

        Sorry about being overly aggressive, I don’t mean to be rude. I understand it’s your opinion, and a lot of people share it. But I had heard the story line before how the reason they lost last year was because Wade was the first option and Lebron was second, and the reason they won this year was because Lebron was #1 and Wade was #2, and I just kind of reacted to it. Now it may be the case that the team works better that way, but that’s not why the Heat lost last year, and it’s not necessarily why we won this year.

        When I look at the guys that are put ahead of Wade, I just have to shake my head. Not even taking into account the fact that Wade was playing through injuries most of the season and played limited minutes, he was still statistically better than the guys people put a head of him.

        But sorry about being a little overly critical of you, I respect your opinion. Cheers.

        • Sonny Giuliano

          The great thing about sports is that everyone has an opinion, and contrasting opinions make for great discussion.

  • MIRKOB

    only a world ! INCREDIBLE !!

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