Dwyane Wade Has Made Me a BelieverNever let it be said that I am too stubborn to change my mind when I am presented with compelling evidence. I have insisted throughout this season that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are in a class by themselves in the MVP discussion because their skill sets, their size advantage over other top perimeter players and the success of their teams place them above all other contenders--but in the wake of yet another splendid performance by Dwyane Wade, I think that his name has to be mentioned in the discussion as well. He just dropped 48 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots on the Chicago Bulls in a 130-127 double overtime Miami Heat home victory. Wade had a game-high +20 plus/minus number!
The Bulls had the ball with 11.2 seconds left in the second overtime and the score tied, so it seemed like the worst case scenario for them was to head to triple overtime. Instead, Wade exploded into a gap like a sprinter, stole the ball from John Salmons, raced downcourt, checked the clock and drilled a one legged three pointer just before the buzzer. From start to improbable finish that is one of the most amazing game-winning basketball plays that I have ever seen.
I'm not ready to put Wade ahead of Bryant and James just yet but he is in that elite group with them ahead of everyone else. Wade played very well in the first portion of the season but his performance level since the All-Star break--averaging 35.3 ppg, 10.7 apg and 5.9 rpg while shooting .559 from the field in 10 games prior to Monday night's heroics--is truly remarkable; the one downside for Wade is that the Heat went just 5-5 in those games with only two victories against plus-.500 teams but there is no denying that Wade is playing at an MVP level and that he should be placed alongside Bryant as the two guards on the All-NBA First Team, bumping Chris Paul to the All-NBA Second Team.
posted by David Friedman @ 11:35 PM