With all of this talk about LeBron James becoming a free agent in the summer of 2010, one player’s name is continually forgotten about by many people weighing in on the LBJ sweepstakes.
Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat may not have the best record in the NBA like fellow draft classmate LeBron James, but that’s not his fault.
Despite playing with a rag-tag bunch of players that have been assimilated quite randomly over the past couple of months, Wade has his Heat headed to the playoffs as the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s pretty hard to do when you’re playing under a rookie head coach, your team’s second best player is a rookie, and you yourself haven’t played a full season since 2005-2006.
Nevertheless, Wade has defied the odds by way of leading his team to the playoffs without so much as one other proven player on his team, except for the quickly aging Jermaine O’Neal. However, carrying a team on your back isn’t all that hard when you’re having one of the best seasons of all time.
With a Player Efficiency Rating of 30.06, Wade is on target to be one of just a handful of players to finish with a PER of 30+. And for those of you who don’t understand the value of a 30+ PER, his other stats will tell you the story. The man is averaging 29.9 points per game, to go along with 7.7 APG, 5.0 RPG, 2.2 SPG and 1.3 BPG. Those numbers are unfathomable. Not to mention, he is playing his best basketball at the right time of the year. Over his last 5 games, he is averaging 35.6 points per game, and he is fresh off hanging a career-high 55 points against the New York Knicks last night.
Yet, despite having one of the better seasons of all time, Wade’s name is brought up quite rarely, in comparison to LeBron James, when people start talking about the Free Agency of 2010. Don’t get me wrong, smart basketball minds are well aware of the fact that Wade will likely be on the market that year, and maybe they themselves are trying to keep that under wraps. But that decision to keep quiet about it could be a mistake. Afterall, with so many teams clamoring for LeBron James in 2010, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wade just decides this market isn’t for him and elects to stay with the Miami Heat. That would make Pat Riley happy, but it wouldn’t do any teams with cap space next summer any good.
However, in all honesty, LeBron James is the better player, and teams are right to want him first. But realistically, only one team can claim LeBron James services, and then the rest will be left to fix their sorry teams with an alternative option. Dwyane Wade is not a bad alternative. And if the right team starts putting their feelers out for Dwyane before it’s too late, I’d say that’s a team headed in the right direction.