By Mark Paulette,
Last night in Brooklyn, Dwyane Wade signed off on his Hall of Fame career by posting a triple-double in his final game at the ripe young age of 38.
Last week, Paul Pierce proclaimed on the airwaves of ESPN that he had a better career than Dwyane Wade.
Few people who have played in the NBA this millennium can hold their resume next to Wade’s, and sorry to all you Celtics homers, but Pierce is not among the select few.
Pierce was an all-time great Celtic and a perennial all-pro at his peak. There’s no argument there. From 2000-2007, Pierce averaged 24.8ppg. He was instrumental in bringing Boston its first title since 1986, deservedly got his number raised to the rafters last season and awaits a call from Springfield in the near future.
But even as a Celtics fan, and one-time D-Wade hatter (when he viciously arm-barred Rondo in the playoffs, neutralizing the C’s biggest threat) there’s no way to spin it. Wade’s career is undoubtedly better than Pierce’s.
From age 23-30, Wade averaged 25.6ppg, led the league in scoring in ‘08-’09 (30.2ppg) and single-handedly led the Heat to the ‘05-’06 title, averaging 28.4ppg throughout the playoffs. And let’s not forget about the other two rings Wade claims. Yeah, I know LeBron was in town for those two, but as we’ve seen, playing with King James isn’t the easiest thing in the world, yet D-Wade made it work.
Sure, all told, Pierce has a sizeable edge in the career numbers:
Points: Advantage Pierce, 26,397-23,165
Rebounds: Advantage Pierce, 7527-4933
Steals: Advantage Pierce, 1752-1620
3’s: Advantage Pierce, 2143-546
But part of that is because of how long the former Celtic played. And there’s no counterargument to be made when I say Pierce hung on waaaay too long. While he was compiling overall stats, his ppg average dropped from 18.6 in his final year in Boston, to 3.2 in his last season with the Clippers, with stops in Brooklyn and Washington in between.
Pierce has the overall numbers, but he did so playing 289 more games than Wade. That’s over 3-and-a-half full seasons more.
Karl Malone scored nearly 5000 more points during his playing days than Michael Jordan…that doesn’t mean he had a better career.
While Pierce was a reserve at the end, appearing in just 25 games for the Clips in ‘16-’17, Wade just wrapped a 72-game farewell tour, in which he averaged 26 minutes per game, 15/4/4. Not to mention the 30 points he scored in his South Beach finale to go with the 25/11/10 effort last night.
Despite not eclipsing 20ppg since ‘14-’15, Wade retires averaging 22ppg for his career. Meanwhile, Pierce torpedoed his career average so much so, that when he left Boston, he was averaging 22ppg for his career, compared to the 19.7 figure he retired with.
At 37 years old, Wade is retiring from a game he can still play at a high level, while Pierce, who hung them up at age 39, was a fossil of his former self.
I love #34 as much as the next Celtics’ fan. But sorry, Paul, the truth hurts.
Mark Paulette is the executive producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine