Miami Heat: Another look at Pat Riley’s Dwyane Wade better than Kobe take

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to block a shot by Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to block a shot by Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) /

With live actual Miami Heat basketball out of reach, we’ve been watching quite a bit of classic hoops. This led us to reimagine a Pat Riley take from 2019.

The Miami Heat are not playing basketball right now. It sucks and although we didn’t need a reminder, fully embracing it on a daily basis makes the pain of realizing it suddenly at some point throughout your day a bit more endurable.

With that being the reality though, we must find some way to get our dose of basketball, our hoops fix. A ton of us have turned to classic basketball, whether that be from what the networks have offered over the past week or so, or whether we go out and find it ourselves on the web.

It was during a rewatch of a classic Miami Heat game from 2006 when this thought was sparked. It revolves around a comment that was made by Pat Riley, actually and almost a year ago exactly. Here is the comment from a piece written by Howard Beck for Bleacher Report.

"For about a three-year span Wade was, in Riley’s view, “the best player in the world.”“Dwyane was better than Kobe at that time,” Riley says. “He had a better year by having the impact on winning—in the Finals, in the biggest moments, on the biggest stage. And you get that moniker.”"

While saying that prime Dwyane Wade was essentially better than Kobe is something that is heavily debatable and not because it isn’t true, but simply because it’s about preferences of styles, that is exactly where our thoughts will live today. Here we go.

When thinking about prime Dwyane Wade and prime Kobe Bryant there is a link between the two. His name is Michael Jeffrey Jordan. When looking at both of their respective games in their primes, this is what you see.

In his prime, Dwyane Wade was early Michael Jordan. In Kobe Bryant’s prime, he was later Michael Jordan. That is the best way to put it.

When thinking about Flash‘s prime, it was built on his ability to get to the cup or in the paint at will and explode on the rim like three sticks of dynamite once he got there. When thinking about Bean‘s prime, it was his ability to not only be four steps ahead of you at all times but to know how to execute those moves and steps as efficiently as possible, until needing to make you look bad with his sheer athleticism.

Dwyane Wade and early Micahel Jordan didn’t care how you defended them. When they wanted to get into the paint or near the rim, basketball Jesus himself wasn’t going to be able to stop them. They would also risk leg and limb to convert the basket as well.

Kobe Bryant and later Michael Jordan didn’t care which defensive set you got established in front of them. They had always already figured out the most efficient way to attack it before even crossing half-court.

It doesn’t hurt that they were both doctoral candidates in Phil Jackson‘s Triangle Offense, which means that they already knew all the finer details, movements, and nuances, they just had to apply that knowledge to whatever the opposition was doing at the time. It was a piece of cake because if it didn’t lead to one of those patented fall-away or fade-away jumpers, it was definitely something nifty about to occur near the rim.

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While trying to make the case that prime W.o.W was better than prime Black Mamba is a tough hill to climb, although not impossible, that wasn’t the mission here. Instead of analyzing the differences in, we decided to focus on how they parallel and that might just be a more revealing story.