Is Dwyane Wade the Most Underrated Player in NBA History?

Luis RodriguezContributor IJune 9, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 07:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat stands on court against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 86-83. 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

Name three shooting guards off the top of your head you would rather have on your team other than Dwyane Wade.

"Oh that one's easy, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and..."

Mark Jackson said during the 2011 NBA Finals Game 4 pregame that he thought Wade was the third-best shooting guard of all time.

I could not agree more.

The guy came into the league with a chip on his shoulder and was part of arguably the single-most talented draft class in NBA history—although you could argue that the 1996 class was right up there.

Wade averaged 16.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 4.5 APG in his rookie season, making him one of the most productive rookies in 2003-2004. The reason he didn't win Rookie of the Year was because of his newest teammate, LeBron James.

Wade has elevated his game nearly every season since.

He won a scoring title when he averaged nearly 31 PPG and led the biggest NBA Finals comeback in the history of the league. He's had multiple All-Star game appearances and an All-Star game MVP. He's been arguably the best defensive shooting guard in the league's history, and he's certainly the best shot-blocking guard.

As was mentioned in tonight's Game 5 pregame show, Wade ranks third among players in Finals PPG. Keep in mind that only the likes of Jordan and Rick Barry come before him on that list.

All you could argue Wade is missing is a regular-season MVP trophy, which has been unobtainable—thanks also to LeBron James.

In the thick of these 2011 Finals though, all the talk is surrounding the Amber Alert placed on James and how great Dirk Nowitzki is playing.

I bet no one has realized Wade scored 36 and 32 points in both losses.

I also bet no one realizes Wade had a far better stat line in the Game 1 win.

Should the Miami Heat win this year's NBA Finals, it is likely Wade will win the Finals MVP, making him one of the few players with multiple Finals MVPs. If the Heat fulfill their promise of multiple championships—we'll say they win four—that would give Wade the same amount of rings and one more Finals MVP than Kobe.

Accomplishing this would make Dwyane Wade, in my opinion, the second-best shooting guard in the history of the game, just behind His Airness.