MIAMI (AP)—For months, Miami Heat president Pat Riley has been telling Dwyane Wade that he’s “BIW,” his text-message shorthand for Best In the World.
But it’s another acronym beginning to creep into Wade’s psyche.
Let MVP talk begin. LeBron James, Kobe Byrant, Wade?
“I’m just happy to be in the discussion,” the star Heat guard said. “Coming from where I came from last year, my team winning 15 games to where we are now, it’s a blessing.”
Wade is on a tear since the All-Star break, pushing his season averages up to 29.3 points and 7.5 assists. MVP-worthy? Maybe, in the sense that only two players in the last 35 years— Michael Jordan in 1988-89 and Allen Iverson in 2004-05—have finished a year with numbers better in both categories.
Of course, neither won the MVP in those seasons, primarily because their teams didn’t rank among the NBA’s elite.
“MVP is for what you do as an individual,” said James, Cleveland’s superstar and this year’s odds-on favorite. “He’s having a great season. He’s one of the best players that we have in our league today, so absolutely, he should be in that race.”
Excluding a strike-shortened season, only two players in the last 34 years— Moses Malone (twice) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—have won MVPs while starring for teams that won fewer than 50 games.
The last player to win MVP for a team with no more than 50 wins in a full season was Jordan, nearly two decades ago.
For the Heat—who are vying for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race—to get to 50 wins, they’d have to finish 18-4. Given that, Wade’s candidacy might be doomed already.
“You’ve got to take a guy off a team and say, if he wasn’t on there, how would this team be and see everything he brings to his team,” Wade said. “That’s my interpretation of what a most valuable player is, but everyone has their different takes.”
New Orleans point guard Chris Paul would have been Wade’s 2007-08 MVP.
“I’m not taking anything from Kobe last year. I thought he was unbelievable,” Wade said. “I thought he should have won MVPs in previous years. But I thought Chris Paul was the most valuable player to his team last year, from the way he played and what he meant to that team.”
Wade has been invaluable to the Heat. He entered Thursday games among the league’s best since the All-Star break in several categories:
— Points: 35.8 per game, the best in the NBA. Among qualifying players, Bryant, the reigning MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers, is next at 30.4.
— Assists: 10.9 per game, third only to Utah’s Deron Williams (13.0) and New Orleans’ Chris Paul (12.0).
— Steals: 2.8 per game, tied for fourth-best in the league, with Golden State’s Monta Ellis leading at 3.5.
Add up his points, assists and rebounds per game, and Wade is at 52.0 since the break. Next on that list? James, at 41.2.
“D-Wade is 6-3, and he jumps and leaps like myself and some of the other taller guys in this league,” James said. “The way he creates space from defenders and makes shots and makes plays to the rim, he’s an unbelievable talent.”
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Wade is exploding right now. He is so sick I cant even believe he had a reverse dislocation on his shoulder(from what I heard) and and a season ending knee injury
Edited by Shade, March 07, 2009 - 06:21 AM.