After this summer’s Olympic Games, many in the professional basketball community were touting Dwyane Wade as the best player in the world. I didn’t know how you could put him above LeBron James. As I sat in my living room the other night, I became a witness.
No, not to King James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard or even Chris Paul. I didn’t become a witness to any of the players constantly being talked about as this year’s Most Valuable Player, although I think that’s about to change.
In the closing seconds of the fourth quarter of a game against the Chicago Bulls, Dwyane Wade launched a 3-point shot that tied the game and sent it into overtime.
After missing a lay-up that would have ended the game in overtime, it looked as though the game was slipping away from the Heat. Apparently I forgot just what D. Wade was capable of. With 11 seconds left on the clock and the game knotted at 127, the Bulls inbounded the ball to John Salmons.
Before he could put a potential game-winning shot up, Salmons had it stolen by Wade (a la Allen Iverson in his younger days), who took it the length of the floor and hit a running 3-point shot to win the game.
“This is my house!”
Wade stood on the scorer’s table and yelled to the standing crowd, officially crowning himself king of what can now be called “Wade County.”
Not only did Wade further cement himself in the hearts of every Heat fan who had the pleasure of watching the greatest regular season NBA game in the last 10 years, but he also captured the hearts of NBA analysts and fans all over the country.
According to Tim Legler of ESPN, Wade is now the premier MVP candidate in the league. And why not? He is averaging more points per game than anyone in the league with 29.7, and more assists per game (7.7) than Kobe (4.9) and LeBron (7.1). He is also averaging 2.22 steals and 1.43 blocks per game. All of these are career highs for Wade.
His numbers are obviously staggering, but what has gotten him the most acclaim from writers and others around the league is that he has done more with less around him than anyone else in the league. If you were to take Kobe away from the Lakers they would still be a playoff team. The same goes for LeBron, especially in the much easier east. Everyone in the country saw what happened to the Heat without Wade last year.
Going from 15 wins in one season without Wade to contending for a home playoff series with a healthy Wade is proof beyond the numbers that Wade should at least be in the talk for MVP, if not the favorite.