It's Friday so why not have ourselves another quality NBA Twitter Quarantine debate. This time we're talking about some legends at their absolute peak. It's important to separate that from "primes" in my opinion because that can span over multiple years. For the purpose of this exercise I'm going to decide the best individual season of all three. You may disagree with the year I choose, but I think it'll be pretty clear. As always, we'll look at each individual player and their case before coming up with our final order
2008-09 Stats: 30.2 points / 5.0 rebounds / 7.5 assists / 2.2 steals / 1.3 blocks / 49% FG% / 31% 3P% with 1.1 3PM / 115 Ortg / 105 Drtg
For my money, this was Wade's best season which came at the age of 27. He won his only scoring title which is also the highest average of his career, as well as the most 3PM he's had in any season. Same with assists, steals, blocks, and Ortg. He made All NBA First Team, All NBA Defensive Second Team and came in 3rd in MVP voting. Absolute monster like you read about. Wade also led the NBA in FGM, Points, was 2nd in steals, 7th in assists, and 3rd in win shares. It was a nice bounce back year of 79 games after playing just 51 the previous two seasons
2008-09 Stats: 20.6 points / 13.8 rebounds / 1.4 assists / 1.0 steals / 2.9 blocks / 57% FG%/ 113 Ortg / 95 Drtg
Coincidently, in my opinion Dwight's best season was also 2008-09 which was his age 23 season. This was the first of his 3 DPOY seasons and he helped carry them to the Finals. He led the NBA in blocks, it was the highest block average of his career, he was 6th in FGM, made both First Team All NBA and First Team All Defense. He finished right behind Wade in MVP voting coming in at 4th. This season Dwight led the NBA in rebounding, and was 15th in points, but also led the league in turnovers. He played 79 games this season as well.
2008-09 Stats: 22.8 points / 5.5 rebounds / 11.0 assists / 2.8 steals / 50% FG% / 36% 3P% with 0.8 3PM / 124 Ortg / 103 Drtg
Well would you look at that! It just so happens that all three of these guys had their best seasons in 2008-09. That makes this a little easier if you ask me. During this season Paul played 78 games and led the league in both assists and steals. It was the second highest assist average of his career and highest steals average while also being the only season of his career he shot over 50%. He made All NBA Second Team and was First Team All Defense, and came in 5th in terms of MVP voting. He finished the year 10th in FGM, 7th in points, 2nd in triple doubles, and 2nd in win shares.
So how would I rank em?
Start: Dwyane Wade
Bench: Dwight Howard
Cut: Chris Paul
I know, that might sound crazy but look. Wade is the easy start choice. He for sure had the best season of the three. Then when deciding between Dwight and CP3, Dwight made both First Teams, won DPOY, and finished higher in MVP voting. I think it's hard to argue that Paul's 2008-09 season was better than that. Plus you then factor in the postseason success (CP3 out in 5 games) and there's too much on Dwight's side to cut him. Plus, I already have a guard so give me one of the greatest defensive bigs the league as ever seen in Peak Dwight.
That's my order. Do you agree? If not, how are you listing them?