The Weekly Q
Every week, TheMirl.com will pose a question to the contributors of The Writers, based on the current
events of the day.
Who would you rather have: LeBron James or Dwyane Wade?
This is a very tough question, but with all things being equal I’ll take the bigger man. In this case that
would be LeBron James. What kind of record would the Cavs have had if they had Shaq playing center?
Give me Dwyane Wade.
The NBA, for all its showtime and flashy dunks, is still a league in which success is heavily based on
the performance of the point guard. Look at Miami's success. They still had a pretty good year last year
with Wade at the helm, and adding Shaq this year just pushed them that much further toward the top.
LeBron James has not had a true point guard of any note in his time in Cleveland, and this has shown
in his two years without post-season appearances. As great as James is, he is merely the engine in
the car. He doesn't possess the keys to start it.
Let's be honest. Dirk Nowitzki is made better by the existence of Jason Terry. Amare Stoudemire is
fueled by Steve Nash. To a lesser extent, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are assisted by Mike James.
Both guys are great players, but Wade is the more integral.
I'd pick LeBron James.
To me this decision isn't even a tough one. While Dwyane Wade is a fine basketball player, James
shows every sign of becoming the next Michael Jordan. While Wade is in the Playoffs and may well win
a championship, he's had the luxury of having Shaq on his side. James, younger and still learning, has
had to carry the basketball team on his own shoulders.
While Wade (and Shaq and the rest of the Heat) have had the coaching structure of Stan Van Gundy,
what has LeBron had. Paul Silas later replaced by Brendan Malone.
While the heat is run at the top by a non interfering ownership, Cleveland's new Owner Dan Gilbert is
getting to be more and more each day like another meddling Dan, Snyder of the Washington Redskins.
Those reasons are from an athletic competition standpoint. From a marketing standpoint, LeBron also
wins. Whose Jersey has sold more? Whose name and face is more recognizable, not only in the world
of fun and games, but in the real world?
The Cleveland Cavaliers were known as the Cadavers before LeBron. While they are on the outside
looking in right now, give LeBron a supporting cast, and watch those Cavs rise up from the dead.
Give me The King. LeBron James can lift a team to new heights on his own, Dwyane Wade can’t.
LeBron can play four positions on the floor, Dwyane only three (ok, ok). But when you watch the skill level
of each player, LeBron not only has the edge, but better vision on the court. What people don’t seem to
realize is that LeBron is actually STILL improving as a player, while he’s learning the league. I’ll concede
that Wade makes more spectacular shots, but only because we’ve already seen them from LeBron. If
I'm starting my team today and I could get one of these two, I’m with LeBron.
Watching LeBron James play generally leads one to suggesting that he could be the best ever. James'
physical talents are the likes of which not seen since Michael Jordan. And to be fair, Jordan was not
completely dominating games this early in his career, nor at the age which James has claimed his
kingdom. At 20 years old, James is already a superstar on his way to one of the greatest individual NBA
careers of all time.
That said, right now Dwyane Wade would be of greater value to a team.
Stealth as can be, Wade has seemingly snuck into stardom. He played college ball at Marquette, in the
city of Milwaukee. There isn't much national media attention paid to Milwaukee. And he entered the
league the same time as James, who bore virtually every piece of rookie fame last year. Now he's
playing on a very good team, with Shaquille O'Neal so it's again been very easy for Wade to slip into
If it's hard numbers you want, Wade averaged 24.8 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game in
leading Miami to the league's best record. For those of you not as fastidiously tied to statistics, look at
Wade's ability to run the offense, willingness to take (and make) big shots, and his suffocating defense.
Standing alone, James is better than just about everyone on the planet. Yet based on their records of
success, one could successfully argue that Wade is the more complete player. At the very least, Wade
has shown himself to be more of a winner.
To very loosely paraphrase from the movie "White Men Can't Jump", would you rather score 50 and lose,
or score 20 and win?
Let's see. I have to decide between two of the brightest young stars in the game. Hmmmmmm.
I can have a superstar who can be the focal point of a team for the next fifteen seasons. Or I can have a
guy that may never be able carry a team by himself (although he did in college and was forced to do so
as a rookie - and guided the team to the playoffs anyway), but can be possibly one of the best second
bananas in the history of the game.....think Scottie Pippen with a good personality.
I can have a guy who has been hyped from his days in diapers as the next great NBA star, is playing for
his hometown team, and successfully dealt with all of the pressure of that, but has never has any
consistency with his supporting cast and now a coaching and front office upheaval staring him in the
face. Or I can have a guy that went to a Final Four in college and has already shown he probably will win
everywhere he plays (except for the Olympics, but my other option was also on that team, so we have to
throw that example out) and now, playing with the most dominant big man of our generation, is poised to
possibly win his first NBA Championship?
What seems like a tough decision really isn't one to me. Give me the guy that already knows how to win
and who doesn't need to be the star of the team to perform at his highest level. Give me Dwyane Wade.
Until LeBron James shows me he knows how to win, since he hasn't had to yet, it is an easy decision
for me. I'll rethink it down the road, of course, but given the state of the Cavaliers, it might be a while.
As the Bulls’ head statistician throughout Michael Jordan’s entire career, I almost feel the need to be
protective of his legacy when discussing the subject of the next great NBA superstar. In the late 1980’s, I
overheard two very prominent national writers discuss in length at an NBA playoff game why Jordan
would never win an NBA title and would be doomed to mediocrity in NBA history. Hopefully my
evaluation of these two newcomers is more valid and accurate than that Jordan prediction.
Dwyane Wade: Absolutely came into his own this year with the arrival of Shaq. This team was a
question mark this year having given up most of their starting team to get O’Neal over the summer.
Wade stepped up his game as needed to make the franchise the best in the East. He upped his
scoring to 24.1 per game (nearly 8 points better than the previous year) and shot an amazing 47.8%
from the floor, a truly great number for a non-center! In the 4 games prior to April when Shaq did not play
for Miami, Wade bumped his numbers to 31 points per game, 8.5 assists, 60% shooting average and
Miami won 3 out of the 4.
LeBron James: Showed two sides to his ability this season - the “team” LeBron at the beginning of the
year when the Cavs were going good and the “individual” LeBron in April when he single handedly
almost kept them in the playoffs. April numbers, seemingly without any help from his teammates were
32.25 pts per game, 9.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists with two triple/doubles and four double/doubles in
twelve games. This was 5 points and 2.5 rebounds better than his season average.
My choice: A tough one, but I have to go with LeBron James as a future. My feeling is what you see in
Wade is the finished product. LeBron is a work in progress. The upside potentially is better. He needs
to develop more consistency on his outside game. Plus, as he’s only 20, is his body still filling out?
That's a bit frightening to think about. Throw in a real teammate or two and I think you will have the
Final tally: LeBron James 4, Dwyane Wade 3.