Is Dwayne Wade’s career better than Kobe Bryant’s career? Wade is entering season 16 of his brilliant NBA career. This will be the final season for the future Hall of Famer. He dubbed his final season “the last dance”. Now that another great NBA career is about to come to a close. I started to think about his place in history, and couldn’t help but wonder did he have a better career?
So before you ask yourself has this man lost his mind let’s look at the numbers and see how each player’s numbers look in comparison with one another. All statistics listed were obtained from the website basketball reference. I decided to look at their career averages in points, assists, and rebounds. How did numbers look per 100 possessions and per 36 minutes? Also, how did their numbers look when it mattered most in the playoffs.
Dwayne Wade’s Numbers
D-Wade had 9 peak seasons in the NBA. Those 9 peak seasons started in his second season 2004-2005 and carry all the way to 2014-2015. During that span, Wade averaged 25.6 pts., 6.2asts., and 5.2 rebs. How were his advanced statistics? Per 36 minutes his averages were 24pts., 6asts.,and 5rebs. Per 100 possessions he averaged 36pts., 9asts., and 7.4rebs. His playoff averages 22.3pts., 4.9asts.,and 5.2rebs.
Kobe Bryant’s Numbers
Kobe had 13 peak seasons in the NBA. The peak Kobe years start in his fourth season 1999-2000 and takes you through to the 2012-2013 season. Bryant’s career averages are 27pts., 5.2asts.,and 5.7rebs. What were Bryant's advanced stats? Per 36 minutes his averages were 26pts. 4.8asts., and 5.3rebs. Per 100 possessions he averaged 37pts.,6.9asts., and 7.6rebs. Kobe’s playoff numbers were 25 pts., 4.7asts.,and 5.1rebs.
Dwayne Wade’s Accomplishments
Wade is a 3 time NBA champion and was the best player on his first championship campaign winning finals MVP. He was a 12-time all-star and won 1 scoring title. Wade was voted to the All-NBA team 8 times and was voted twice to the first team.
Kobe Bryant’s Accomplishments
Bryant is a 5 time NBA champion and won 2 finals MVPs as the best player on a team that won back 2 back titles. He won 1 MVP award and the scoring title twice. He also was voted to the all-star team 18 times. He is second to only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who was voted to 19 all-star teams. Bryant made the all-NBA team 15 times during his career, and 11 times he was voted to the first team.
The numbers show that Kobe Bryant had the better career. Kobe was able to sustain his level of excellence for a longer period of time. Ultimately Wade’s style of play led to a lot of injuries and cut his prime a few years shorter.
I still contend that at times Wade was the better all-around player. I know Kobe was named to more all-NBA defensive teams than Wade, but I would argue that Wade was the better defender. Besides Michael Jordan Wade is the best shot blocking guard we have ever seen.
Ultimately D-Wade will finish as the third best shooting guard of all time. Behind Jordan and Bryant. His toughness and ability to attack the basket relentlessly was the stuff of legend. He was one of the best of players the game has ever seen. His ability to play off the ball and move without the ball allowed for one of the most potent duos in NBA history. His unselfishness allowed for LeBron James to thrive in Miami and ultimately become a champion.
He routinely was able to make plays in the clutch this intangible was on full display when he single-handedly beat the Dallas Mavericks to win his first championship. The Mavericks held a 2-0 series lead and was one quarter away from a commanding 3-0 series lead. It is important to point out that no team has come back from that deficit to win a championship. Wade erased that fourth quarter deficit and Miami went on to win that game and the series.
This season I’m going to sit back enjoy Dwayne Wade’s final season. His retirement marks the ending of an era and an official passing of the torch to the up and coming talented guards in the league. Wade may not be better than Kobe, but I just wanted to show that the argument is closer than one may think. Salute to the man known as “Flash” it has been a pleasure and honor to watch and root for you.