Regarding Kobe Bryant, NBA analysts have talked about his superior one-on-one defense and defensive footwork, his outside shooting ability, his post-up moves, his cold-blooded killer instinct, and his knowledge of the game. Of course, eight selections each to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team also help his case.
When analyzing Wade’s game, analysts refer to statistics such as a higher field goal percentage or his excellent team and help-defense.
Oftentimes people compare the two players’ PER scores. Kobe Bryant has a respectable 23.5 rating, good for 17th all-time. However, Dwyane Wade’s score of 25.7 is good enough for being ranked 6th all-time.
Many fans argue that Wade is a more efficient player, and point to his impressive performance in the 2006 NBA Finals. During that series, Wade led his team with a stat line of 34.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 2.7 SPG.
The second highest scoring teammate was an aging Shaquille O’Neal, who averaged only 13.8 PPG in that series.
Without a doubt, both players have had legendary careers and I’m sure most teams would gladly take either player on their rosters.
Each year, the NBA surveys all of the team executives around the league in its annual preseason GM survey. Over the years the survey has been handed out, an interesting trend has developed regarding Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
This year, 86 percent of NBA GMs voted Bryant to be the best shooting guard in the NBA. This selection has been consistent, as Kobe is currently the only player who has been selected as the best at his position in every year the survey has been done.
In addition, 79 percent of the GMs said Kobe Bryant is the best player at taking game-winning shots. Kobe has been given this distinction nine consecutive years.
Some metrics, such as those used by 82games.com, tend to point out that Kobe is not the most clutch player in the league. However, these statistics can be misleading in determining what counts as clutch shots.
Perhaps these GMs think about highlights of Kobe’s career in the clutch. For instance, he’s had several game winners in the playoffs against teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers.
His play down the stretch of the second half of the 2008 Olympics Gold Medal game led Team USA to victory. And, of course, Kobe’s seven game-winning jump shots last year is still fresh in everyone’s minds, including the one against Wade.
Kobe Bryant may have more career accolades than Dwyane Wade thus far, but Kobe has played twice as many seasons. Teamed with Lebron James and Chris Bosh, Wade may one day be able to catch Kobe Bryant with five NBA championships.
So do the NBA GMs know what they are talking about? Do their opinions matter and carry any weight?
In any case, this debate between Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade is sure to rage on.
(For a similar debate regarding the top point guards, please see featured columnist Rich Fernandes' article)