How does Anthony Edwards compare to young Dwyane Wade?

Is Anthony Edwards on 2006 Finals MVP Dwyane Wade's level?
2023 NBA All Star Game
2023 NBA All Star Game / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Some of the most absurd Twitter (X) conversations aren't worth mentioning. The original tweet suggesting that Anthony Edwards is already a superior player to Dwyane Wade is a prime example that would make my thumb instinctively swipe up.

User @JoestarJokic quickly slammed the door on that nonsense, using a popular meme to show his displeasure with that notion. His tweet reminded fans how sensational D-Wade was, taking nothing away from the budding superstar Anthony "Ant" Edwards.

I'm not here to pile up on Ant as he got sent home by the Luka Doncic Kyrie Irving-led Dallas Mavericks. It takes time to win in this league, and losing is the best teacher.

We're here to see why the Anthony Edwards/Dwyane Wade comp exists in the first place. They're tenacious drivers and defenders with crafty footwork from the guard position. Their generational athleticism has/had them leading their teams far before their frontal lobes were fully developed.

Anthony Edwards, Dwyane Wade
2023 NBA All Star Game / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

There's Beauty in Rushing Greatness

Technically speaking, both Dwade and Ant took their lumps in the playoffs. The Miami Heat were eliminated in the second round during Dwade's rookie campaign. The lights were never too bright for Flash, as he made a game-winning basket in his first playoff game vs. the Charlotte Hornets in the first round.

Wade displayed more brilliance as a sophomore. He led the Heat to the conference finals, averaging 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and 2.7 stocks. The Detroit Pistons knocked off the Heat in seven games after Wade missed game 6 with a strained rib muscle. Miami wins this series with a healthy Wade, no questions asked.

Anthony Edwards's playoff career has been similar in a sense. Even in losses, we've never questioned whether Ant would fold in these pivotal moments. During his first playoff stint in 2022, the second-year star averaged 25 points, shooting 40% from deep on ten attempts. Ant wasn't rattled in a losing effort and looked like the best player on the floor at times. He averaged 32 points a game in last year's playoffs and led his team to the Conference Finals in his third trip to the playoffs this season after losing in the first round back-to-back years.

Dwade did that, too. Except he led his team to the championship in his third try at the playoffs. Wade was named Finals MVP at just 24 years old. Ant is just 22 and already putting his name in the best playoff performer hat. The sky is the limit. He and Dwade were so excellent and so young that it seems like they never struggled in the postseason. But both took losses early and had to overcome adversity.

How did they skip the line and lead their teams far so early?

Basketball is so cool because when you've watched the game long enough, you'll start to see players games you watched as a kid in the players coming up today.

You also heard many Michael Jordan/Anthony Edwards comparisons throughout these playoffs. Ant's attitude and charisma may remind you of Jordan, but he plays more like Dwade when you peel back the layers.

Wade and Ant share generational athleticism. Wade was the undisputed fastest player in the league for a half-decade, and Ant is one of the most explosive jumpers we've seen.

D-Wade didn't need a running start at all; his first step consistently left players stationary. But he was just as scary in the open court. Before guys could even react, Wade was at the rim executing nifty finishes.

Enjoy this nostalgic 2005 footage that illustrates one way why Wade was such a tough cover. You don't expect a man to get up the court that fast. He didn't have ridiculously long limbs relative to the league. But he was a blur.

The springs in Ants' legs need to be studied. `He's already one of the best in-game dunkers, and the nickname "Poster Child" is fitting.

The power, the grace, the finesse—it's all just filthy. Ant's bunnies, coupled with his strength, aid his driving ability. Another thing he and Wade have in common is that they were both two of the best slashers in the league at that time. Another factor in their fierce paint game is their footwork.

Wade stands at 6 foot 3 (probably), and Ant is listed at 6 foot 4. These aren't behemoths terrorizing the floor. Though they have physical gifts, their skills always had to be up to par. Footwork is one of the best skill measures because one doesn't inherently have light feet. You have to put in your 10,000 hours to achieve those moves. The euro step and and and under finishes are in both shooting guards games.

Wade made three All-Defensive teams in his career. Accolades aside, as a young pup, he was much more locked in off the ball than Ant is right now. Wade was a cleanup artist, helping teams when they got beat. He's the only guard with 100 games to average one block a game for his playoff career.

Wade was no slouch on the ball, as he always took the best perimeter matchup. He and Kobe have some legendary matchups, including the time Kobe scored 16 points on Christmas in 2006. Wade helped hold Kobe to 4-17 shooting.

Ant has shown he's a terrific on-ball defender this season. The Timberwolves had the number one-ranked defense, and Ant did more than hold his own. We saw him match up with Devin Booker in round one, and Book struggled. Ant uses his chiseled frame to cut offensive players off when they attempt to blow by him. His lateral speed is second to none when he's locked in.

That's just it, though. You should always be locked in. Ant can grow as an off-ball defender and decision-maker on offense. Wade wasn't perfect at those things at Ant's age, but he was good enough to will his team to the promised land.

Some were living in the moment, stating that Ant was better than Wade when the Timberwolves were cruising in these playoffs. Maybe Ant will get to that level. Maybe he won't. For now, I'll keep on enjoying Ant and his development. I love that I see a lot of my favorite players in his game.