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Who Wins: LeBron v. D-Wade?

Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are quite similar in a number of ways. They were drafted in the same year in the same draft round. They are two of the top three players in the NBA (LeBron's number one, obviously and D-Wade is third, right after Kobe Bryant). Both are in the center of all the hoopla concerning the 2010 free agent bonanza. Both have had the privilege of playing in the Olympics. Heck, both of them have been teammates of a certain Shaquille O'Neal at some time or another. As similar as their respective resumes may be, there is one major huge difference between the two. LeBron has a MVP award to his name but no championship ring, while Dwayne Wade has a ring but no MVP award.

We all know that at some point in time, LeBron is going to win himself a championship. No one questions this. Whether it be with Cleveland or with some other lesser team, LeBron is going to win at least one ring, if not many, many more. However, the same can't be said about Dwayne Wade and his quest to win a MVP award. I know it sounds ridiculous to say that a top three player in the NBA doesn't have a real shot at winning the MVP award, but there are some serious underlying issues that makes Wade winning seem unlikely.

First, there's his age. Even though LeBron and Wade came from the same draft class, Wade is three years older than LeBron. In fact, he just turned 28 three weeks ago. While that's not an old age by any stretch of the imagination, it is close to the prime years of a basketball player's career. Wade is reaching the peak of the career, if he hasn't hit it already. After all, he is averaging less points, less rebounds and less assists than last year and is leading a team that currently stands at one game below .500 and barely hanging on to a playoff spot. When you factor in the amount of abuse that Wade's body takes in a season and the back injuries he's already endured, it's not hard to predict that we will be seeing a decline in his production sooner as opposed to later.

Then of course, there's the issue of LeBron James himself. LeBron has established himself as the best player in the NBA this year and is a shoo-in for the MVP award. No one can really argue this point. Even if you want to argue that someone like Wade or Kobe is more talented than LeBron (they're not), no one can deny that LeBron is having a better season than either of them, especially with Kobe's recent finger and ankle injuries. In their head to head match-ups this season, LeBron has one-upped Wade, whether it be through making big shots or posterizing Wade in ridiculous dunks. As it stands today, Wade just isn't as good as LeBron and it's not looking like that's going to change anytime soon. Even if LeBron is somehow taken out of consideration for the MVP award sometime in the future, Wade still won't be the top dog in the NBA. Kobe will still be a force to be reckoned with, as will the quickly rising star of Kevin Durant, who's looking more and more like a superstar every day and LeBron's eventual successor to the title of dominant player in the NBA.

There's other minor factors too, like his inability to shoot threes or Miami's inability to surround Wade with a good enough team to make Wade look good. Wade can always improve on his shooting while his team situation could be easily resolved by Miami either committing to spend the money to make a championship caliber team or Wade leaving this summer to a team that will. Chicago springs to mind as a destination that Wade could depart to that he could quickly turn into a force to be reckoned with (although they'd still be number two to Cleveland after LeBron signs his extension this summer.)

It's hard to predict the future when it comes to sports. After all, there was a time when no one thought that the Red Sox would win the World Series or that the Saints would ever make it to the Super Bowl. However, if Dwayne Wade's performances against LeBron and the Cavaliers this season have been any indication, he will always be considered to be the second fiddle, at best, in the NBA.

Christian Hoffer


  1. Would you think it possible for any one to have predicted that Chris Paul would have a season ending injury like that? Or the fact that the rookie Darren Collison would do such a great job as his replacement?
    No one knows what the future holds for both Wade and Le Bron. Although right now the tide favors LeBron.

  2. I'll one-up and say for sure that D-Wade's career is already in decling. He can no longer lead a team to the title as lead banana because, frankly, match up him against LeBron with comparable supporting casts and LeBron wins every time. Like you said, LeBron is just better and 3 years younger. The only way Wade wins another title is if he teams up with LeBron (I really DONT want this to happen), or with another transcendent big man. The latter is pretty unlikely, because Bosh and Dwight Howard are the best entering-their-prime big men and frankly aren't good enough to lead a team to a title. Only big men since Hakeen Olajuwan (remember, NBA was sans Jordan) to lead a team to a title are Duncan and Shaq (and Garnett, but that team was such an anomaly and unlikey to happen again given the contracting salary cap). And Bosh and Howard, while very good, are very unlikely to become as good as Shaq or Duncan. And by very unlikely I mean it won't happen.

    On a very related, optimistic note, given how Kobe clearly only has 2-3 years left at his level, D-Wade's inferiority and the lack of transcendent big men entering their prime, what is to stop LeBron from winning 5 titles before he is 30? Besides his GM? Who stops him? Durant or Brandon Roay? (I disinclude Chris Paul because as blasphemous as this sounds, it is very unlikely he leads a team to a title, since no PG has done it as lead-banana since Isiah Thomas in 1989. '04 Pistons were a complete team facing the perfect opponent, a Lakers team with a complete lack of unity)

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    @ Jason-It is, of course, hard to predict the future when it comes to sports and athletes. Trades, injuries and other unforeseen variables can all throw kinks into predicting what may happen. However, anyone who follows sports on any level will try to predict what'll happen. It's just part of the fun of being a sports fan.

    That being said, it's basically impossible for Wade to win the MVP award due to LeBron's dominance and a lack of teammates that would compliment and support Wade and allow him to shine. Remember, almost no one considered LeBron to be on the same level as Garnett/Kobe until he was surrounded by the right parts, which allowed him to live up to his full potential.

    @Anon.-Your comments are spot on, especially the comment on CP3. I personally place a lower value on point guards than most, since any good team can win without having an elite point guard. That's not to belittle Chris Paul's skills, it's simply the fact that most great teams' best players no longer play the point guard position (except in rare exceptions like LeBron last night)