Dwyane Wade: Jordan comparisons valid?

I usually don’t buy into players being touted as the next MJ. I don’t buy it for LeBron James (yet) and I never really bought it for Kobe (although he’s pretty close when it comes to pure physical talent).

After Flash’s performance in the finals, though, I feel for the first time like the comparisons are valid. It’s not just physical ability, though he has that in spades. He’s also the first player I’ve seen that has the same kind of intangibles.

In Game 3, when the Heat were trailing by double digits in the 4th quarter and in danger of going down 0-3 in the series, Wade refused to let the Heat lose. He put his team on his back and won that game. That spark lifted the team carried over for the rest of the series. I think it’s legitimate to call that Jordan-like.

He’s also legitimately Jordan-like in how he performs in the clutch. His free throw percentage (which is already very good) goes up in the 4th quarter. He never seems to feel pressure. He takes and makes game ending shots like it’s a pre-game shoot-around.

Other Jordan-like similarities include his hustle to loose balls and rebounds, his ability to get out of jail and find a way to the rim when he should have had no chance and his ability to read the court and make smart decisions. When he gets doubled or tripled, he always finds the guy with the open look.

It’s too early to say that his whole career will be Jordan-like but this one post-season performance certainly was.

So what do others think. Is it valid to compare Flash to MJ? Should he be considered the best player in the NBA right now?

I think it’s a valid comparison. D Wade and Jordan do have those intangibles you talked about. Grace under pressure is not something you can coach and even the most talented players can wilt (ie - Dirk Nowitzki’s disappearance in the 4th quarter when the Mavs needed him the most). D Wade has shown he has that quality by his MVP performance.

I never thought it was fair to compare LeBron’s game to Jordan’s anyway, they definitely have different styles. The Wade/Jordan comparison makes more sense.

As for Kobe, he’s a great player…when he wants to be. He only turns it on when he feels like it. That’s why I can’t put him in the same box as Jordan.

Wayde is good there is no doubt of that. He seems to have the same sort of blessings from the officals that MJ did.

I think the comparison is valid, for most of the reasons you list. Wade is similar to Jordan in style, intagibles, and ability to get calls :). Obviously he has a long way to go to have a career that could rival Jordan’s.

Compare Wade this week to Kobe in game 7 vs the Suns to see why Wade is like Jordan and Kobe isn’t.

Wade’s one of the best players in the NBA, and you could probably make an argument that he’s actually the best overall. However one thing I’ve noticed lately is how big the swings in public opinion are in short periods of time. First Kobe was the king after he won game 4 against the Suns, and then he’s nothing after game 7. Then Dirk is the best player in the league because of the Spurs series, even though the series was basically a toss-up. Then Dirk sucks because of game 4 vs the Suns, then he’s awesome because of game 5, and now he sucks again because of the finals :). So I think maybe people need to hold off judgement. I’m super impressed by Wade, but you never know. He could play another ten years and never even make the finals again.

For the Finals series, he was the best player on the floor. And he did get the Jordan-esque calls, when he really didn’t need them. To hijack, these are my biggest problems with NBA officiating: preferential star treatment and home cooking.

That’s also because the public’s opinion of Kobe changes by so much, so often. And what you’re actually talking about is media opinion, not public opinion. I don’t know what the public thinks.

LeBron is definitely a more talented player than Wade is; I don’t think that’s even an arguable point. Wade is a very talented scorer and a good passer - SI described him as an old-school combo guard like Jerry West or Earl Monroe - but James is probably a better scorer, passer and rebounder, and he’s more physically dominant. But Wade’s game is more Jordan-like, that’s for sure, in part because James is bigger and can overpower people in a way that Jordan couldn’t and Wade can’t.

I’ll still say that Kobe is the most Jordan-like in that he is a terrific defender. Wade isn’t. They could all score in bunches and take over games, although Kobe is also a better long-range shooter than MJ ever was. Is Wade more clutch than Kobe? Tell you the truth, I’m not sold on that just yet. Kobe has hit more than his share of game-winners, both in the regular season and in the playoffs - this year and in years past.

I’ll wrap this up by once again piping in for MJ and note that unlike the other two, he never played with Shaq, even in Shaq’s current, lessed state, or a center who was even remotely Shaq-like. The best center MJ ever played with was Bill Cartwright.

Apples and oranges. Yes, Lebron is bigger and can power his way to rim in a way that Wade can’t, but Wade would beat Lebron off the dribble in a one-on-one. Wade gets to the rim just as well as Lebron, even if he does it differently, and he is a better jump shooter than Lebron. And rebounding? I’ve never seen a guard come down with more crucial rebounds than Wade did in this finals series. He out leaps much bigger men to come down with the ball. I do think Lebron is the better passer, though.

As to the Jordon angle, I’ll add the purely aesthetic point that Wade also does the “arm straight up in the air, Statue of Liberty-style” approach the rim that Jordan used to do.

And hang time…hello!

As a jaded Pistons fan, I’ve seen this type of domination before…and its very Jordan-esque. I guess the scary thing is is that Wade is only a 3rd year vet, BUT, if you told me three years ago you had a team with Shaq, Mourning, GP and Antoine Walker and a player better than all four of them, I’d be pretty confident they’d win the title. Plus they had Pat Riley…this team was just built to make it through the playoffs.

On the flip side, I guess you could say the 04 Lakers that lost to the Pistons were quite similar.

I say to hell with comparisions to Jordan. Let’s get Jordan off the stage already. His time has come, gone, come again, and gone again. Let him stay gone. Wade has something Jordan never had, a superstar playing dominant Center beside him, so any comparison is unfair anyway.

As for Jordan, there was an interesting blurb about him in a recent ESPN magazine article about how he cheated, literally cheated by bribing someone, to win a bet with teammates about whose luggage would come off the team plane first. Frankly, anyone who would cheat his teammates to win a chintzy bet is not an admirable person in my book. ESPN magazine cited it of an example of Jordan’s indominable will to win, alongside a compulsion to gamble. To me anyone who would cheat to win bet against friends and teammages is a jerk of the first order.

Let us not be hasty. Wade’s averaging about 10 points less per game than Jordan was at a similar point in his career. That’s a big, big deal.

Also, no way is Wade a better shooter than Lebron. He’s got 42 career threes.

No one has mentioned (that I noticed anyway) a big part of what made Jordan special, his charisma (and with it, his ability to sell product and the NBA). I would say the verdict is still out on that for Wade.

To specifically answer the OP, just like Jordan wasn’t the next Dr. J or whoever, I don’t think any really special player is going to be the next anyone. He will be remembered as Dwyane Wade or he won’t be remembered.

I think some of the aesthetic/stylistic similarities are probably intentional. Wade grew up in Chicago during the glory days of Jordan and the Bulls. Wade idolized Jordan and wore a 23 jersey when he played in his driveway. One of the talking heads after one of the finals games (I don’t remember who, I think it was Scotty Pippen) said that Wade used to try to imitate a lot of MJ’s specific moves and style and some of that imitation is still discernable in his game.

Of course it’s apples and oranges. The question “Should he be considered the best player in the NBA right now?” necessitates comparing apples and oranges.

There is ample evidence Jordan was and is a jerk.

That has nothing to do with his quality as a ballplayer. The man carried his team to six championships. His job wasn’t to not be a jerk, his job was to win basketball games, and win them he did.

We’re comparing Wade and Jordan as players, not as good friends.

As someone who saw every single amazing game that MJ ever played, I can’t quite place Dwayne Wade in his company just yet. But if he has a couple more NBA Finals like the one he just had, I just might have to change my mind.

And unless two articles talked of the same event, Bill Simmons mentioned that Jordan gave almost all of that money to the (much poorer than all of them) baggage handler. $100 was nothing to these guys. Would you really be upset if your friend cheated in a bet with you that ended up in you losing, say, two or three bucks?

And although there’s the apples to oranges deal in wondering if Wade is the best in the NBA right now, it was never a question as to who was the best throughout most of the 90’s. Jordan is the best I’ve ever watched play.

What, no love for Luc Longley?

Probably valid. The thing you have to understand (and I’m shocked beyond belief that this is completely forgotten nowadays) is that Jordan ended up with the perfect situation in Chicago. A high-powered offensive scheme that played to all the team’s strength, a brilliant coach, a very capable bench, and most importantly, a Hall-of-Fame small forward who was constantly underpaid and underappreciated and didn’t mind so long as the team won championships. (Think Shaq could’ve used someone like that in Los Angeles?) Let’s not forget the hard-working Horace Grant, who pretty much was the Chicago frontcount for several seasons, and Dennis Rodman before he went completely insane. And just to keep this in perspective, did the Bulls ever face a complete frontcourt (not just a center) the caliber of the great Celtics or Lakers teams in any of their championships?

The problem with putting D-Wade on top, however, is that the NBA overall just isn’t as powerful as it was just a few years ago (expansion, lots of college players entering long before they’re ready, etc.), and he really got a lot of star calls. There’s also rumors that the commissioner desperately didn’t want to let Mark Cuban win a championship (could someone fill me in on that?), so you have a political aspect as well behind how it ended up.

So I don’t know. I can’t say. I don’t think anyone can. It’s a team sport, guided by politics and perceptions as much as assists and rebounds. Furthermore, this seems like one of those things where you’re just not going to convince anybody, especially in Jordan’s case.

I will say, though, that I’d put Hakeem Olajuwon ahead of either. Y’know, the man who actually carried the franchise on his back for nearly his entire career. He could’ve easily retired with at least six rings.

Word. I see that whole thing as more of a practical joke on his teammates than as any real attempt to cheat them. A hundred bucks to those guys might as well be monopoly money.

I have heard and read that MJ could be very hard on his teammates in practices – that he browbeat them mercilessly if they didn’t perform up to his standards. I read somewhere that he had a custom of taking the piss out of cocky rookies by challenging them to little games of one-on-one in which he would thoroughly dominate and humiliate them. I guess he wanted there to be no doubt as to who was the Man on that team (as if they didn’t already know) and probably felt like he could get them to listen better once they had experienced a clear demonstration of their difference in abilities.

MJ was a classic, dominant, alpha-male and I’m not sure Wade has that kind of frontal personality. He strikes me as being a pretty humble, quiet kid, not somebody who’s ready to take a team by the throat and be a leader yet. Fortunately he’s surrounded right now by guys that ARE like that (Shaq, Riley, Zo, Glove), so all he’s had to do is just play. It will be interesting to see if he can become a team general the way the way that guys like MJ, Magic, Duncan and Bird were able to be.

Grant was a great role player. So were guys like Scott Williams and BJ Armstrong. I would say that they all were made better by playing with Mike. How did they do without Jordan? Rodman was on the second Bulls team. He was considered to be uncoachable at that point until he was teamed with Jordan and coached by Jackson.

The 1991 Lakers had Worthy, A.C. Green, and Divac in the front court. It’s not the best ever, but certainly not chopped liver. Remember too, the Bulls were usually going over the Knicks with Ewing as center.

Wade, Bryant, or James, any or all of them may go down as being one of the all time greats. None of them are there yet. Jordan is in any conversation about who is the best ever. These guys aren’t. They may be at some point, but not yet.

[Mal]Why are we talking about this?[/Mal]