Team structures are often debated and analyzed in terms of the number of stars present in their ranks. Whether two stars or three are necessary to win a title is a matter often debated, and as evidenced by the ongoing arms race among NBA franchises, often considered among current general managers as well.
But no team—regardless of whether it subscribes to the two- or three-star models that are ever in vogue—can match the superstar riches of the Miami Heat. LeBron James stands alone as the league's best player, but not far behind him is Dwyane Wade, a versatile, top-five talent in his own right that, in many ways, is just as important to Miami's overall success.
On the one hand is the do-it-all playmaker: a unique athletic talent who so willingly sets up his teammates, but without ever disguising his potential to explode for 30-plus at a moment's notice.
On the other is the versatile wing turned more-focused scorer. Wade may have been asked to carry a LeBron-like burden in a past life, but he has settled into his current role by adapting splendidly to off-ball work, scoring first and foremost, and roving to wreak defensive havoc.
Both are clearly essential to all that Miami hopes to accomplish, but when forced to choose, which player is more crucial to the Heat's success?