Dwyane Wade is Grant Hill with a Ring

Posted on August 19, 2011 by


Greatest of All Time?

Like Michael and Larry right?

Is Dwyane Wade one of the greatest of all time? Other Wages of Wins Analysts may think so. A simple fact is titles do influence our perception of players. Let’s take a very simple example: Grant Hill. Is Grant Hill one of the greatest of all time? The common response to that is that he was a great talent that could have been an all time great if his career wasn’t hampered due to injury. That’s a polite way of saying no. However I contend if you argue Dwyane Wade is an all-time great then Grant Hill is as well.

Early Careers

Anybody remember these Sprite ads?

Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade both entered the league at the ripe old age of 22 and both were drafted by equally abysmal teams. And here is how each performed early in their respective careers.

Table 1: Grant Hill’s Early Career (1995-2000) with the Detroit Pistons

Season Player Team MP G WP48 WP* Rank SF Rank
1995 Grant Hill Detroit 2678 70 0.176 9.8 31 4
1996 Grant Hill Detroit 3260 80 0.320 21.7 3 1
1997 Grant Hill Detroit 3147 80 0.396 26.0 1 1
1998 Grant Hill Detroit 3294 81 0.239 16.4 10 2
1999 Grant Hill Detroit 1,852 50 0.273 17.2* 6 1
2000 Grant Hill Detroit 2776 74 0.239 13.8 16 4
Total 17007 435 0.296 104.9

*1999 Season Wins Produced Numbers are adjusted for an 82 game season. The actual Wins Produced for Grant Hill was 10.5.

Table 2: Dwyane Wade‘s “Early” Career (2004-2011) with the Miami Heat

Season Player Team MP G WP48 WP Rank SG Rank
2004 Dwyane Wade Miami 2126 61 0.128 5.7 89 22
2005 Dwyane Wade Miami 2974 77 0.205 12.7 17 3
2006 Dwyane Wade Miami 2897 75 0.295 17.8 8 1
2007 Dwyane Wade Miami 1931 51 0.291 11.7 24 4
2008 Dwyane Wade Miami 1954 51 0.146 5.9 84 14
2009 Dwyane Wade Miami 3048 79 0.331 21.0 4 1
2010 Dwyane Wade Miami 2792 77 0.306 17.8 7 1
2011 Dwyane Wade Miami 2824 76 0.322 18.9 5 1
Total 20546 547 0.260 111.5

When we account for the fact that 1999 was a lockout shortened season, we see that Wade in his eight year career has been about as productive as Hill was in his early six year career. The major difference is that Hill became a better player much quicker. Hill was a top 10 talent in the NBA right up until his injury cut him down in the 2000 season.

Wade started a little slower than Hill, but also became a top-ten caliber player. He was then hit with the injury bug as well. He seems to have recovered, and has been an MVP candidate and the best two-guard in the league for the last three seasons (yes, even better than Kobe).

The Difference in Decisions

Funny what playing next to a star does for your image.

Wade has also had the fortune of good players wanting to come to Miami while he has been healthy. In 2005 Shaquille O’Neal hopped on board just in time for Wade to hit his stride and win a title. In 2011 LeBron James decided to join forces with Wade. This helped Wade achieve post-season success and as a result get himself into the greatest of all time discussions.

Both Hill and Wade had very productive primes (the clock is still running for Wade) and have had four seasons as a top-ten talent in the NBA. When calling either an all-time great I would say neither has done enough . . . yet. Hill’s time is up and Wade may get there one day. I just want to wait before elevating an injury-prone player like Wade to the ranks of Michael Jordan or Clyde Drexler – or even Kobe Bryant – just because he’s had four great seasons.