LeBron James vs. Dwyane Wade: Who Is the Better Player?

Imaz ACorrespondent IIAugust 5, 2011

LeBron James vs. Dwyane Wade: Who Is the Better Player?

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    Not only are Dwyane Wade and LeBron James the two best players on the Miami Heat, but they are both, arguably, the two best players in the entire league.

    But, what does the term, ‘best’, actually mean? ‘Best’, in my opinion, embodies an individual’s talent level.

    When you are the best at something, you are the most talented at it.

    Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are extremely close when it comes to their talent levels, which is why it is so fascinating to compare the two players.

    Who is, in fact, the better player of the two?

    In order to find the answer, I compared the superstars’ talent levels using six criteria: shooting, athleticism, handles, passing, defense and rebounding.


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    Dwyane Wade:

    48.5% FG 29.2% 3FG 76.9% FT

    LeBron James:

    47.9% FG 32.9% 3FG 74.4% FT


    Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are very close when it comes to overall shooting. While Wade has a higher field goal and free throw percentage, James is a slightly better three point shooter.

    Their true shooting percentages—a statistic that displays shooting efficiency—do not help settle the argument either. Wade’s true shooting percentage is 56.7% while James’ is 56.6%.

    However, there is a more conclusive difference between their true shooting percentages in the playoffs.

    Wade is a 57% true shooter in playoffs while James is a 56.1% true shooter.

    Thus, it is clearly evident that Wade, although by a very slight margin, is a better overall shooter than LeBron James.


    WINNER: Dwyane Wade


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    This category was much more definitive than the shooting category.

    Although Wade is an exceptional athlete, James’ athleticism is unprecedented, especially at his size.


    WINNER: LeBron James


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    Both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have great handles, so, again, it was difficult to decide which player had the best.

    Because of his 6’9”, 250-pound frame, LeBron James can get to the rim at ease, shoving defenders out of his way.

    On the other hand, because of his smaller size, Dwyane Wade must rely on a variety of moves, including crossovers, spins, etc., to get to the rim, and he makes it look very easy.

    Because of this, hands down, Wade has the better handles. 


    WINNER: Dwyane Wade


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    Dwyane Wade:

    6.3 APG in regular season, 5.6 APG in playoffs

    LeBron James:

    7.0 APG in regular season, 7.0 APG in playoffs


    The numbers say that James is a better facilitator than Wade.

    In this case, I have to agree with the statistics.

    James has a transcendent passing ability, which is why he is often compared to Magic Johnson.


    WINNER: LeBron James


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    Dwyane Wade:

    1.0 BPG 1.8 SPG in regular season, 1.1 BPG 1.6 SPG in playoffs

    LeBron James:

    0.8 PG 1.7 SPG in regular season, 1.0 BPG 1.7 SPG in playoffs


    Statistically, Dwyane Wade is a better defender than LeBron James—he blocks more shots and steals more.

    However, James has the unique ability to guard four different positions. He completely shut down the league’s MVP, Derrick Rose, in the playoffs.

    Despite the numbers, I have to go with James by a hair in this category.


    WINNER: LeBron James


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    Dwyane Wade:

    5.1 RPG in regular season, 5.7 RPG in playoffs

    LeBron James:

    7.1 RPG in regular season, 8.4 RPG in playoffs


    This category may be somewhat unfair because of James’ size advantage.

    However, King James is clearly a better rebounder than Dwyane Wade.


    WINNER: LeBron James

WINNER: LeBron James (4 to 2)

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    LeBron James wins the challenge of talent 4 to 2.

    However, there is a big difference between being the 'best' and being the 'greatest.'

    As I stated before, ‘best’ solely involves talent.

    Greatness transcends this. It not only includes talent, but it embodies one’s ability to use their talents to reach the ultimate goal of winning.

    LeBron James may a better player than Dwyane Wade, but is he a greater player?


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    There is no doubt that Dwyane Wade is more of a leader than LeBron James.

    In fact, James, the more talented player, follows Wade.

    Wade’s leadership was truly shown in the 2006 NBA Finals, when he carried the Miami Heat to victory, and his leadership is still seen today.


    WINNER: Dwyane Wade

Closing Ability

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    This doesn’t really deserve an argument.        

    Wade is clearly a better closer than LeBron James.

    He’ll defend, knock down key jumpers, get to the rim and draw fouls on a consistent basis.

    He doesn’t shrink from the limelight like James has in the past.


    WINNER: Dwyane Wade


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    Although LeBron James achieved great success with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the regular season, he failed to win in the most important games.

    Wade embraces challenges and strives to succeed.

    He was able to accomplish the ultimate goal in the NBA when he won the championship in 2006.

    There is no level of winning higher than that.


    WINNER: Dwyane Wade

WINNER: Dwyane Wade (3 to 0)

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    Wade takes the challenge of greatness 3 to 0.

    Although LeBron James is a better player than Dwyane Wade, Wade is greater, which is what truly counts, because greatness or the lack thereof, is what defines legacies.