Dwyane Wade: Can D-Wade Take Home His First NBA MVP Title?

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst IMarch 19, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08: Mike Bibby #0 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat talk during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Arena on March 8, 2011 in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With only 13 games left in the season, it's beginning to be that time of the year when teams make their last second adjustments and ready themselves for the postseason and also for the top players of the league to make their last impressions on the voters for the MVP award. The MVP has usually been given out to the top player on the top team, with LeBron James as the reigning two-time winner.

James' Miami Heat haven't had the same regular season success as the past two Cavalier teams had. Plus, his stats may have suffered, but he is still putting in an effort to secure his third consecutive MVP; a feat made only by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird.

He was a front-runner for the award before watching his team struggle over a five game stretch where they blew double-digit leads in four games and lost by 30. Since then, however, Miami has fared 4-1 and appears ready for the postseason as James makes a case for another trophy.

Among the other candidates for the award at the moment include the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. However, they all seem to trail third-year point guard Derrick Rose, who has easily had the best season of his extremely young career.

At 25 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game, Rose certainly has the stats to back it up. His Bulls also currently stand at No. 1 in the Eastern Conference for the first time since Michael Jordan headlined at the United Center.

With all the talk surrounding Rose and his monster season, or James and his attempt to win a third consecutive MVP, it appears that this might be a two-man race that has the former Memphis guard running away with it with a late-season push.

His 3-0 record over the Heat gives even more reason for Rose to take home the award over LeBron, and any other player in the league for that matter. He was a key component in each game, but wasn't as prominent in the fourth quarter with the game on the line as expected.

One of the largest reasons for Rose's consideration as the league's most valuable player has been his ability to lead the team in the darkest of times. When Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah went down with injuries early in the season, Rose was able to lead the team to a quality record to keep them on pace with the top teams in the East and at the top of the Central Division. He has been one of the key reasons behind the Bulls' recent success and their legitimate shot at a title.

However, with all this talk of Rose leading the Bulls, nobody has mentioned that there is another player down on South Beach not named LeBron James who should be in the conversation.

Surely a player who has averaged 26 points on 50 percent shooting, seven rebounds and four assist deserves some consideration for the prestigious award. With his team at 47-22 and him being the reason why for most of those wins, maybe that other head of the three-headed monster down in South Beach should get a shot.

Dwyane Wade's only been worthy of the title for the past two seasons now. Why not one more time for good measure? Maybe the third time could be a charm for the heart and soul of the Miami community and their favorite basketball team.

With the criticism that surrounds this team on a daily basis, there has been little room and opportunity to talk about the success of the team. The current 47-22 record might be considered a disappointment by the preseason hype, but it's just about where they want to be from a teams standpoint.

Thirteen of those 22 losses came during tough stretches for the Heat that include their 9-8 start and the recent five-game losing streak. Excuses aside, Wade has been the focal point of the team as he gives the team a boost when the teams stagnant offense kicks into play.

He has also proven that the ball should be in his hands when the game is on the line. His play in the final five minutes of their recent win against the Los Angeles Lakers was proof enough that this team still belongs to Wade.

As quality as King James' play has been all season with his new team, Wade remains as the leader of this team. His clutch play, ability to score at any time and leadership are all the redeeming qualities that any MVP possesses.

Flash's season has been flying under the radar all season long, thanks in part to LeBron taking most of the heat from the Heat. The fact that James has been taking all the attention might be the reason why Wade has taken a backseat to players like Rose and James for MVP consideration.

In fact, he's barely received any support from analysts and experts from around the league. Even with a 50 percent field goal percentage and the seven rebounds by a player who stands at only 6'4", Wade has received little consideration for the award that he has been worthy of for the past three seasons.

He received more attention when he won the scoring title two seasons ago on a Heat team that only won 43 games. Now surrounded with a quality roster, Wade's numbers have barely suffered aside from a small drop in points and assists per game.

He hasn't always been the best player on the floor at times though, as his defense might sometimes come into question, as well as his lack of commitment to the team when he encounters a call that doesn't go his way.

Too many times this season has Wade come into contact with an opposing player, only to come away with no call. Instead of sprinting down court, he will sometimes complain to the officiating crew and hurt the team.

Not every player can be perfect though, just look at Rose and his 43 percent shooting percentage, or James and his nearly four turnovers per game. Every MVP over the past 60 years has had some flaw to his game; for Wade it might sometimes be his commitment to the team on the defensive end.

However, we have seen him on defense when he is at his best and it is second to none. The distress he gave Bryant in the Heat's two wins was proof enough that Wade can be the best defender on the floor.

Flash has increased his production recently with a player of the week award under his belt, as he readies himself for the postseason. With a few weeks left of the regular season, the award might be wrapped up with the attached tag reading "To: Derrick Rose."

Yet, it still should be noted that Wade has been just a quality a player as Rose, James or any player in the league this season. As one of the most dynamic and electrifying players in the league, Wade has the ability to turn the tides and momentum in any game and has done so numerous times.

An MVP title might be out of reach now, but it should be noted that there is another player on the sunny shores of South Beach who deserves some consideration and respect from his peers across the NBA.

If the team can somehow secure a No. 1 spot, an MVP might become highly possible for James or Wade, but it should belong to the best player on the best team. No player in the league is more capable of being the best on any given night than No. 3.

The real hardware that Wade would like will be given out in late May.