Dwyane Wade: Defining "MVP."

Josh ParkerContributor IMarch 18, 2009

It is not unusual for basketball terms to be redefined by athletes. LeBron and "crab dribbling." Dwight Howard and "dunking." Rasheed and "technical fouls." Shaq and "old." Even what most fans and players would consider "basic" terms are reconsidered when looking at certain players.

Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. and "MVP."

Some fans would take apart the abbreviation: "Most Valuable Player." They would say that the award should go to the player who is most valuable to their team; the person who is absolutely vital to their lineup.

Wade is responsible for 30.4 percent of his team’s points, a higher percentage than LeBron James (28.4 percent) or Kobe Bryant (25.9 percent). His 7.6 assist average is a little over three ahead of the next Heat player. He plays 38.6 minutes per game, more than James' 37.8 or Bryant's 36.4. Last year the Miami Heat won only 15 games with a Wade who played barely 51 games and was never full strength, due to knee and shoulder complications. Now they are a playoff contender, with the likelihood of tripling last year's win total.

Some fans would correlate "MVP" with "Best Player." This can mean who scores the most or who is the biggest play-maker.

Wade is scoring more than James or Bryant, averaging 29.9 points a game to James' 28.7 and Bryant's 27.8. He also shoots from the field at a better rate, 49.3 percent vs. James’ 48.7 percent and Bryant’s 47.5 percent. The closest stat is assists; Wade averages 7.6 a game, close to James' 7.2. Bryant is relatively lacking, with 4.9 APG. Rebounding is a huge arguing point, since Wade averages 5.1 RPG, lower than James’ 7.5 and Bryant’s 5.4. But Wade is a guard, and also shorter than both of his rivals. He shouldn’t be expected to match James, since the 6'8", 250-pound Cavalier's job involves getting rebounds.

Some fans would specifically look up "valuable" in the dictionary. Valuable to the team? What about valuable to the nation?

While all three stars participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wade was the one to lead the team in scoring by the end of the tournament. He also put up a team-high 27 points in the gold medal game against Spain. (Obviously, this is a tiny little whimper in the screaming called the "MVP Debate," but worth mentioning. Many outraged article skimmers will undoubtedly screech that the Olympics do not matter in the NBA's MVP race.)

And there are even those handful of individuals who, in causing most fan's jaws to drop in shock, that say that "deserving" based on past non-winners and awards should come into play. Who "deserves" it?

This thought (right or wrong) implies that the contest should not include Bryant, who has already won the award, but only James and Wade, since neither of them have been crowned, despite being arguably the most impacting on the league. Wade, however, has been an NBA champion and Finals MVP, impacting the league slightly more in his career. (True, LeBron has been a All-Star MVP twice, but most would not "count" that award, since it's voted mainly by non-fans texting in their favorite "guy with the coolest alley-oops" in the game.)

These are all of the definitions of an NBA MVP. Dwyane Wade just happens to fit all of them. So, if he is not crowned at the end of spring, the NBA and its fans have some dictionaries to rewrite.