Best Players In The NBA: Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, Sorry Kobe!

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 27, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  (L-R) Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, members of the gold medal winning USA Olympic basketball team, admire their rings during half time of the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

When you ask an NBA fan who is the best player in the NBA, there are three generally accepted answers. The first is, of course, Kobe Bryant, but also coming in on the list are Lebron James and Dwyane Wade.

At this point in time, there's an argument that James and Wade are ahead of Bryant because both are better team players that Bryant.

For example, looking at each player's 2008-2009 stats, it's not hard to figure out James and Wade came out on top. Here are the numbers from last year:

Bryant: 26.8 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game, 1.5 steals, .5 blocks per game; on 46.7 percent shooting, 35.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 85.6 percent from the free-throw line.

James: 28.4 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, 7.2 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game, 1.1 blocks per game; on 48.9 percent shooting, 34.4 percent shooting from three, and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

Wade: 30.2 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, 7.5 assists per game, 2.2 steals per game, 1.3 blocks per game; on 49.1 percent shooting, 31.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Kobe's ranks third on the list in terms of points, rebounds second, assists third, steals third, blocks third, shooting percentage third, free-throw percentage first, and three-point shooting first. So, on the list he comes in third five times, second once, and first twice.  

James's rankings include second in points, first in rebounds, second in assists, second in steals, second in blocked shots, second in shooting percentage, second in free-throw percentage, and second in three-point shooting percentage. In the rankings, he came in second seven times and first once.

Wade, on the other hand, came in first in points, third in rebounds, first in assists, first in steals, first in blocks, first in field-goal percentage, third in free-throw percentage, and third in three-point shooting. Based on Wade's rankings, he came in third three times and first five times.

In fact, you can make the argument Kobe comes last in all of the significant rankings whether it's points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks. Turns out, the better argument can be made is Wade the best player in the NBA right now.

Now, some fans will state point-blank the Lakers had the better team because the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship. That's a fair statement, but we're talking about overall abilities as a player—not who had the better team.

With that comes the question: "If Kobe had the better talent around him, how come his numbers aren't better than James's or Wade's in terms of assists?" Wouldn't it make sense that if Kobe had better teammates around him he would be able to create more opportunities for his teammates?

I wouldn't expect many rebounds for Bryant based on who he has in the front court with Odom and Gasol pretty much eating up all the boards for the Lakers.

By the way, if you're wondering about clutch stats such as game-winning shots, the ranking is James at 34 percent, Wade at 27.5 percent, and Bryant at 25 percent.

In the playoffs, Wade is 100 percent in game-winning shots, while James and Bryant are tied at 50 percent.

By the way, according to the Web site with the information on clutch stats, Bryant has missed the most game-winning shots in his career with 42. James is next at 33, and Wade doesn't make the list.

If want you to look at the list for clutch stats, here it is. 

What I also liked about the site is that it also gives information about scoring by quarter. James lead the league in scoring in the fourth quarter, Wade was number three, and Bryant was number four.