A lot of critics and less knowledgeable fans, usually those who dislike Wade, seem to think that the reason the Heat won that championship was not because of Wade's domination against the Mavericks, but because of the almighty 18/8 Shaq. Besides around 18 points, 7 or 8 boards, a couple of blocks, Shaq is just a massive presence in the post with leadership capabilities and playoff experience. I'm not implying that Shaq was useless in the series, he wasn't. I'm implying that some people were overrating his valubility. I'm say it loud and clear, right now - Dwyane Wade dominated the Dallas Mavericks almost by himself. Besides the obvious team help with other people scoring and rebounding and what not, that's common sense of course, Wade pretty much did it himself. He scored, he assisted, he blocked, he stole, he rebounded, he dominated. Averaging 37PPG in the Finals wasn't because Shaq was there - it was because Dwyane Wade flat out man handled the Dallas Mavericks from Game 3 and on. That's something Lebron is yet to do.
In the entire Heat Finals series, Shaq wasn't spectacular. He averaged a grand total if 13.6PPG and 10.1RPG. Less than phenomenal. Besides 13/10 and a 300lbs presence and Finals experience, he wasn't extremely useful, besides his veteran leadership, but the Heat have more than enough of that. Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, Pat Riley, so without Shaq, they’d be legit in that department. Shaq was in foul trouble in every game except 2 and 3. He played only 27 minutes in game 2, resulting in 5 points. He played only 29 minutes in game 4, and he played 30 minutes in game 6 resulting in 9 points. Dwyane Wade? I shouldn't even have to explain what he did in every game. He was beyond amazing for the whole series.
Lebron James, in the Finals, shot 34% while averaging almost 6 turnovers. Talk about showing up in the Finals. And there's really no excuse for it. You can't say Bowen locked him down, because he didn't. Lebron decided to shoot jump shots when he could have plowed his way into the lane and scored, so it was his own fault. His highest shooting percentage output was 42% in game 2. His worst? 25% in game one. Oh, and we can't forget, he got swept. I just had to put that out there, because it matters. Before all of that, he beat the injured Wizards almost easily, beat the semi-injured Nets, and defeated the Pistons in one of the greatest Game 5 performances in NBA Playoff history.
As for Dwyane Wade getting swept against the Bulls, he had dislocated his shoulder prior to the series and wasn't even 100%, so really, it wasn't his fault. The Heat were lucky he even decided to play instead of taking surgery immediately. He got swept by the Bulls because he wasn't 100%. You could tell by his numbers and percentages. His FG% went down because he couldn't attack the rim as much like he always did without risk of injuring himself even further. Before he got injured he was averaging 28/5/7 on 50% shooting.
Now as for actual comparison of the two, let's break it down. Lebron James averaged 27.3PPG on .476% shooting. Dwyane Wade averaged 28.9PPG on .491% shooting, all the while even averaging less shot attempts than Lebron.
Lebron James' eFG%: .493%
Dwyane Wade's eFG%: .491
Lebron James' TS%: .543%
Dwyane Wade's TS%: .566%
Lebron James' FT%: .733%
Dwyane Wade's FT%: .777%
Lebron James' 06-07 Efficiency Rating: 24.5
Dwyane Wade's 06-07 Efficiency Rating: 28.9
Lebron James' Career APG: 6.4
Dwyane Wade's Career APG: 6.4
Lebron James' Career BPG: 0.7
Dwyane Wade's Career BPG: 0.9
Dwyane Wade does all that in less minutes per game than Lebron. (41 to 37). He shoots a higher percentage, even as a guard, while Lebron shoots a worse percentage as a forward. Lebron averages more rebounds simply because of size and strength, but what's even more amazing is the fact that Dwyane Wade is a better blocker AND stealer than Lebron. Dwyane Wade was an All-Defensive team selection once. Lebron James was an All-Defensive team selection never.
Passing wise, it's pretty even, but I give the slight edge to Wade because of the fact that he's a guard and is an extremely, extremely good decision-maker. Watching many Heat games I've heard commentators say he's the second best decision maker in the league behind Steve Nash. Other than Nash, Wade is a keen and spectacular decision maker, while Lebron is not exactly my first choice as a player to take a clutch shot.
I remember last year when the Cavaliers were facing the Heat, and in the fourth quarter, Wade was the point guard and they continued to run the same isolation play at the top of the key for him over and over and over again. Nobody could stop him, not even Lebron. He kept scoring at will and kept getting to the line at will. He led the league in 4th quarter PPG averages last year. He's a 4th quarter and clutch player, and any coach would want their point guard/shooting guard to be a clutch performer.
Then we get to the fact that Dwyane Wade can get to the line at will. He attacks the rim more than any player in the league - Kobe, Iverson, Lebron, you name it. Wade slashes more than anybody and he relentlessly attacks the basket more than anybody, which is why his FG% is so high. Common sense - the closer you shoot the ball to the basket, the more likely it is to go in. Lebron decides to pull up for fadeaways like Kobe Bryant and fails miserably, which is why his FG% isn't quite as high as Wade's. Dwyane Wade can get to the line at will because he knows how to create contact. He proved it when he set the new free throw attempts record in the Finals against the Mavericks. But other than that, watching games of Wade, people should realize that he is a master at creating contact. He attacks the rim so much, and he gets to the line so much. The more you attack the rim, the more free throws you'll get, simple as that. He creates contact at will and is even a good free throw shooter. (.777%).
As for shooting, I really don't know who to pick. Wade has the higher FG% and FT%, but Lebron has the higher 3PT%. But Wade has money spots where his mid-range shot almost always goes it, and Lebron doesn't really have a consistent shot at all. Wade's mid range shot is coming along nicely since his rookie season, and so is Lebron's, just not quite as well. Lebron's 3PT% is higher because he attempts more 3's. The more you attempt, the more likely you are to get one in. Wade scored more three pointers in the playoffs alone in '06 than he did in the entire regular season - that's proof that his 3PT shot is coming along nicely and that it will be solid one day. He just simply doesn't attempt them, because he knows attacking the rim is more efficient. Coaches want their guards to slash and get to the line and attack the rim, not shoot 30 footers, for the most part. Wade knows slashing is more efficient than 3PTing, therefore he does that more. Like Carmelo Anthony. He shot 50% from 3 land in the Playoffs against the Spurs. Yet he still doesn't jack'em up like a Gilbert Arenas. Why? Because he knows attacking the rim beats 3 point shooting. You're more likely to score, and much more likely to get to the line. Carmelo's 3PTer is pretty good, but he doesn't do it much, like Wade, because his game is built around attacking the rim.
So there, I've stated reasons why a lot of coaches would rather have a clutch guard that can get to the line, score, block, steal, assist, lead, be clutch, and play defense. I've always thought people say Wade is overrated because of the "D-Whistle" stuff and the fact that he got injured. In the basketball society today, apparently, if you get injured, you're suddenly a lesser player. Doesn't make sense at all.
If I'm starting a franchise and need a superstar, I'd probably pick Lebron, simply because he doesn't get injured as much and is more valuable and has more potential. Valubility and skill are two different things. But if it's the 4th quarter of Game 7 of the NBA Finals with everything at stake, give me Dwyane Wade in a heartbeat.
The guy on the left wins in my eyes.