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The Legacy of Dwyane Wade: Is He The Last Elite Shooting Guard?

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dwyane wade

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As the future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade prepares to leave the Miami Heat to join the Bulls, it’s a good time to reflect on his legacy thus far. Where does Wade rank for his years (however injury riddled they may be)? Some put him as the #3 SG of all time behind MJ and Kobe.

Is that the right place to put him?

There have been quite a few great shooting guards over the years outside these three. Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller, George Gervin, Allen Iverson, Sam Jones, Ray Allen, Vince Carter. Just to name a few there…

So has Wade proven that he truly belongs above those other “great” shooting guards?

Let’s look at the numbers to get a better feel for everything. Being great and being elite are two different things. Where do we draw the line? Is Wade elite?

What Do We Measure?

Well there are many different things we could measure with D-Wade. But here’s the areas we’re breaking down into:

  1. Achievements (like rings, MVPs, etc.)
  2. Stats
  3. Legacy Moments (think game-winners, etc.)

These should at least provide a solid foundation to make a case for Dwyane Wade being somewhere in the region of the top shooting guards in history.

Also, for a quick clarification, several players we’re comparing have been a wing player who can also play the Small Forward. For our purposes, we focused only on players who spent the majority of their career designated as SGs.

Achievements

Credit - USA Today Sports

Credit – USA Today Sports

Here’s a quick recap of some of Wade’s achievements up through the 2015-2016 season.

  • 3x NBA Champion
  • 1x NBA Finals MVP
  • 1x All-Star MVP
  • 12x All-Star
  • 3x Scoring Champ
  • 7x All-NBA 1st Team
  • 4x NBA All-Defensive 1st Team

Not bad.

Then you consider other things like: he’s the only player in NBA history to have 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a season. You would think someone like MJ could accomplish this (and he did, just not all in the same season.) Or that he has the second most steals in a NBA Finals series with 16.

Those are pretty impressive achievements that hold a lot of weight.

One amazing achievement and stat that many people don’t know is that he’s the shortest player in NBA history to record 100 blocks in a season. We checked nba.com and basketball-reference.com to verify. The only other SG listed at 6’4″ like Wade who recorded 100 blocks was David Thompson. However, technically Thompson was playing for the ABA during that season so the stats don’t count towards NBA achievements.

That basically puts Wade as the official shortest player in history with 100 blocks. And for the record, he still had more blocks than David Thompson (106 vs 102) while playing less games! Plus overall, Wade ranks 3rd on all-time blocks for guards behind Vince Carter and Michael Jordan.

dwyane wade blocks

The biggest knock on Wade’s Hall of Fame resume is the missing regular season MVP. That’s quite a negative considering you’ve got Kobe, MJ, and even Allen Iverson with MVPs.

However, an MVP isn’t everything considering other greats don’t have one. Jerry West doesn’t have one. Clyde Drexler and Vince Carter and George Gervin don’t have one.

So MVPs aren’t everything.

But it does help create a barrier between guys like Michael and Kobe versus the rest of the pack.

 

Statistics

It’s not hard to debate Dywane Wade’s impact on the Miami Heat. He leads the franchise in points, assists, steals, offensive win shares, defensive win shares, and overall win shares. He also ranks second in blocks and fourth in total rebounds.

Basically Dwyane Wade has been the Miami Heat for the past decade plus.

Wade’s careers stats include:

  • 23.8 PPG
  • 4.9 RBG
  • 5.8 APG
  • 48.9% FG
  • 1.7 SPG
  • 0.9BPG

Very impressive.

So impressive that ESPN recently ranked Wade 4th overall of best Shooting Guards in NBA History.

Everyone can probably guess the first two players: Jordan and Kobe, but some may be surprised that Jerry West was ranked 3rd.

There is a reason Jerry West is the NBA logo considering he averaged 27 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.6 SPG on 47.4% shooting. Technically West did a lot of time as a point guard in addition to shooting guard. But still, you can’t knock those numbers. He deserves his rank.

That puts Wade securely in the 4th spot. And given his stats, he seems to git there perfectly. 4th overall in NBA history isn’t bad at all given who’s above him.

 

Legacy Moments

2006 NBA Finals

Back in 2012, Wade’s 2006 Finals performance was considered one of (if not the best) Finals performance in NBA history. In that Finals, Wade’s Miami Heat were down 2 games to 0 to the Dallas Mavericks.

Wade brought his team back to life late in the 4th quarter of Game 3 when the Heat were down 12. Wade tied the game and sent it into overtime and made the game winning free throws down the stretch.

Overall, Wade averaged 34.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.7 SPG to lead the Heat to the championship in 6 games.

Wade had an astounding 33.8 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) during that Finals which is marked as the highest in NBA history. Yes, even surpassing Michael Jordan…

Wade’s First Playoff Game Winner

In Wade’s rookie season, he would give the world a glimpse of his incredible “clutch-ness” by leading the Heat to the playoffs. In the first game of his first playoffs, Wade had 21 points and even knocked down the game winning jumper with just seconds remaining.

It would show the world just how good D-Wade could be when the lights were brightest.

Insane Stat Games

This one will surprise many. D-Wade is the ONLY player in NBA history to record this stat line:

45 Points  –  10 Rebounds  –  5 Assists  –  4 Steals  –  3 Blocks

In a single game…..

And Wade did it twice….

2013 NBA Finals Game 4

With the Spurs leading 2-1 in the Finals and the Heat trying for back-to-back titles, it was up to Flash to deliver the goods in one of his greatest Finals games.

Wade was a monster recording 32 points and 6 steals in the game that gave Miami the stronghold it needed to climb back in the series and eventually win!

 

Given That, What Is Wade’s Legacy?

I think it’s safe to say Dwyane Wade is easily a top 4 Shooting Guard of all time. Whether he ranks 3 or 4 is extremely up for debate. In our view, Wade is a strong candidate for the 4 spot. Jerry West has done so much for the game of basketball. His stats are phenomenal and he’s the only player to earn the Finals MVP without winning the title.

That’s how good Jerry West was.

Not taking anything away from D-Wade and his greatness, we just see West’s greatness as slightly better. Where do you put Wade and his legacy?

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