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Sports

Lakers Kobe Bryant is All-Time Great, Heat's Dwyane Wade Isn't

| by David Berri

An all-time list should by definition be exclusive. Wade doesn’t belong on it, not yet at least. A great player should be defined by their legacy. Looking at a player’s prime is a good thing, but I’m not quite sold on it. The fact that John Stockton played almost two decades at the top level is a major accomplishment.

I decided to add yet another volley into the greatest of all time debate. Using my ever standard 10.0 Wins Produced as a metric for a star season, I looked for players with multiple years as a star. I found a list of 25 players I think deserve greatest of all time consideration.  And Wade isn’t one of them.

Table 1: Top Players Ranked by Number of 10+ Wins Produced Seasons

 

Player Star Seasons Best Season Star WP* Star MP* Star WP48
John Stockton 17 23.2 303.9 45241 0.322
Kevin Garnett** 15 30.7 294.8 42764 0.331
Jason Kidd** 15 24.3 283.9 43380 0.314
Karl Malone 14 22.8 261.4 43343 0.289
Tim Duncan** 14 25.0 255.9 38982 0.315
Shaquille O’Neal 13 27.1 233.4 34076 0.329
Moses Malone 13 23.5 215.3 36881 0.280
Robert Parish 13 21.3 178.3 33089 0.259
Magic Johnson 12 29.6 292.7 32287 0.435
Charles Barkley 12 30.2 276.7 32932 0.403
David Robinson 12 28.6 247.2 33444 0.355
Hakeem Olajuwon 12 25.7 225.6 33981 0.319
Kobe Bryant** 12 18.4 158.6 35360 0.215
Michael Jordan 11 32.9 265.6 34768 0.367
Larry Bird 11 27.6 251.7 32592 0.371
Dennis Rodman 11 33.1 231.1 26638 0.416
Dikembe Mutombo 11 24.5 196.9 31783 0.297
Clyde Drexler 11 20.8 187.5 29714 0.303
Buck Williams 11 22.3 166.0 31192 0.255
Mark Jackson 11 15.1 143.0 28825 0.238
Scottie Pippen 10 21.4 166.3 30189 0.264
Steve Nash** 10 19.0 144.3 26637 0.260
Larry Nance 10 16.8 140.9 26537 0.255
Gary Payton 10 20.4 136.8 31831 0.206
Paul Pierce** 10 17.2 136.0 30023 0.217
  • *Player Wins and Minutes for the 1999 Season Adjusted for an 82 game season
  • **Active Player

Longevity isn’t easy. For all of the Kobe hating I do, it’s hard to deny that playing at his level for 12 seasons is no small feat. Every player listed had a decade or more of greatness. Only three of these players failed to hit on the Wages of Wins Top 50 Podcast: Larry Nance, Buck Williams and Mark Jackson. It’s easy to focus on single season or even top players in their prime, but consistency is tough.  And I think consistency deserves to be part of our conversation about all-time greatness.

Still in the Running

In addition to our select set of 25 players from 1978 onwards we have some active players that still have a chance at greatness. Here’s a rundown of our candidates.

Table 2: Active Players with more than 5 Seasons of 10+ Wins Produced

 

Player Star Seasons Best Season Star WP* Star MP* Star WP48
Ben Wallace 9 27.1 171.6 23836 0.345
Shawn Marion 9 24.0 162.2 26765 0.291
Dirk Nowitzki 8 18.5 126.1 23332 0.259
Marcus Camby 8 19.0 124.3 17526 0.340
Andre Miller 8 15.6 93.1 23092 0.194
LeBron James 7 27.2 155.8 22049 0.339
Dwight Howard 7 24.6 141.3 20405 0.332
Andre Iguodala 7 14.4 91.0 21008 0.208
Manu Ginobili 7 16.0 89.7 15204 0.283
Chauncey Billups 7 16.1 87.5 18723 0.224
Ray Allen 7 17.4 81.9 20335 0.193
Chris Paul 6 29.4 117.3 15747 0.358
Dwyane Wade 6 21.0 99.9 16466 0.291
Tracy McGrady 6 20.0 92.7 16624 0.268
Elton Brand 6 19.3 86.8 17318 0.241
Pau Gasol 6 16.8 86.6 16711 0.249
Vince Carter 6 12.6 70.4 17925 0.189

*Player Wins and Minutes for the 1999 Season Adjusted for an 82 game season

I’ll wholeheartedly agree with a point Arturo made in his recent post. Dwyane Wade is amazing.  But there are some more deserving players ahead of him including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Marcus Camby. Wade is the strongest candidate with 6 seasons of greatness and is only a few years away from the decade club. I hope he makes it.

Summing Up

Great players are rare. All-time greats are even rarer. When looking at players it is easy to get caught up in what they could do if they kept going at their current pace. The thing is injuries happen. I just ask when crowning players greatest of all time we take a step back and look at the big picture. After we do that we can all go back to debating why our favorite players deserve in the club and why Andre Iguodala — when his career finally ends — might be a Hall of Fame First-Ballot candidate.

-Dre

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