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.

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

 

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It turns out President Trump's budget has $2 trillion error in it:

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