Grant Hill is NO Dwyane Wade

Posted on August 21, 2011 by


Arturo Galletti is the Co-editor and Director of Analytics for the Wages of Wins Network. He is an Electrical Engineer with General Electric in the lovely isle of Puerto Rico, where he keeps his production lines running by day and night (and weekends) and works on sport analysis with his free time.

After all, the earth moves around the sun – isn’t it best to turn the other cheek? Does it make any difference whether the earth is standing still or moving around the sun? We can expect conflict again. Science is developing and new things will be found out which will he in disagreement with the present‑day metaphysical theory of certain religions.
– From “The Relation of Science and Religion” a transcript of a talk given by Dr. Feynman at the Caltech YMCA Lunch Forum on May 2, 1956.

One of the really fun parts of the Wages of Wins network is how often we disagree. We are not a homogeneous community but rather a diverse group of individuals who all bring our  unique viewpoints to the table. We tend to spend long hours arguing over a lot of details and the specifics of the work we do. Generally, this ability to challenge and question ourselves leads us to better models and answers.

It makes for great copy as well.

Case in point, last weekend Mosi, Devin and myself argued over updating the NBA top  50 on our weekend podcast.  After arbitration (by yours truly), the WoW Network’s 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time were (in no particular order, with changes to the NBA’s original list marked by an asterisk):

  1. Bill Russell
  2. Bob Pettit
  3. Charles Barkley
  4. Clyde Drexler
  5. Dave Cowens
  6. David Robinson
  7. Dolph Schayes
  8. Elgin Baylor
  9. Elvin Hayes
  10. Gary Payton
  11. George Mikan
  12. Hakeem Olajuwon
  13. Jason Kidd
  14. Jerry Lucas
  15. Jerry West
  16. John Stockton
  17. Julius Erving
  18. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  19. Karl Malone
  20. Kevin Garnett
  21. Kobe Bryant
  22. Larry Bird
  23. Magic Johnson
  24. Michael Jordan
  25. Moses Malone
  26. Nate Thurmond
  27. Oscar Robertson
  28. Patrick Ewing
  29. Robert Parish
  30. Scottie Pippen
  31. Shaquille O’Neal
  32. Tim Duncan
  33. Walt Frazier
  34. Wes Unseld
  35. Wilt Chamberlain
  36. Grant Hill*
  37. Paul Pierce*
  38. Billy Cunningham
  39. Dirk Nowitzki*
  40. Rick Barry
  41. Steve Nash*
  42. LeBron James*
  43. Artis Gilmore*
  44. Mark Jackson*  Dwyane Wade*
  45. Bob Cousy
  46. Ben Wallace*
  47. Willis Reed
  48. Dikembe Mutombo*
  49. John Havlicek
  50. Dennis Rodman*

Now I made some interesting calls in that post. Particularly as related to including modern and active players on the list based on their achievements so far. The final one was to include Dwayne Wade as one of the greatest 50 NBA players based on his career thus far. I believe this was clearly the correct call and I found general agreement from my podcast partners. (Editor Dre’s Note: two out of three aint bad but Devin didn’t agree)

All time greats?

My co-editor Dre did not think it was quite that clear cut. He compared Dwyane Wade  and  Grant Hill (another player we included on the list).  His conclusion? Neither had done quite  enough . . . yet.

Is he right? Let’s examine the numbers (as a poster of course):

The poster was prepared by looking  at every player’s career from 1978 to 2011, and doing a composite ranking using total wins produced and wins produced per 48 minutes for all players with at least 8000 minutes played. The poster then shows the top 100 players. Dwayne Wade sits at number 39 overall, 13 amongst all guards and 12th the amongst all active players in this ranking. Grant Hill does not quite come out as well (68th overall, 31st amongst forwards and 23rd amongst active players).

Given that there are 20 eligible and worthy players from before 1978 (full or partial career), Grant Hill is a no-go.

Good but not Great

Dwayne Wade is an interesting case though. If I hold that there should be thirty slots for modern players then he also sits just outside of consideration range. But that’s not really comparing apples to apples.

Dwyane Wade has played in the NBA from the ages of 22 to 29 and if I compare him to players from 1978 onward in that age range he comes out 24th overall and 10th amongst guards. By those numbers, I am very much willing to give him a pass onto the NBA top 50 on one of the modern player slots.

The more interesting point to me is that Shawn MarionDwight Howard and Chris Paul  (17, 18 and 24 on the career list for modern players) clearly deserve to be considered for the top 50 as well. Who might need to go?

Don't look at me like that

We may just need another podcast.


Editor Dre’s Note: This isn’t over!