Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade: Who is Better Shooting Guard?

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Only a few shooting guards are as electrifying as Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade in the history of the NBA. The dynamism is unmatched, but they have different games compared with each other and with guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Is Allen Iverson better than Dwyane Wade, or does the Flash takes one over the Answer? 

Take a closer at this Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade career and player profile comparison and clearly decide who the better player is.

Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade_ NBA Career OverviewAllen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade: NBA Career Overview

Allen Iverson Career Overview: Early Years with Sixers and Trip to the Finals

Allen Iverson entered the NBA in 1996, about seven years before D-Wade did. They were both members of all-time great draft classes, with Iverson going first in a class that included Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, and Peja Stojakovic, among others. Wade belonged to the same draft class as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh.

Both players follow the same career arc from the get-go. Iverson was immediately handed the keys to the Sixers’ franchise. Philadelphia had only won 18 games the year before, so it only made sense to move on. Miami also made Wade the cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts after missing the playoffs with only 25 wins in 2002-03.

Here’s the main difference, though. While Iverson improved the Sixers upon his entry, it was only a meager four-game win increase. It’s still progress, but they didn’t make the postseason in 1997. On the other hand, Wade carried the Heat to the playoffs in 2004 after leading the team to a 17-win upswing. Remember that even that year, LeBron James could not do the same for the Cavs.

After his rookie year, The Answer looked like the real deal, only if he had a better team around him. They still did not make the playoffs in his second year but won 15 more games. The lockout-shortened 1998-99 season was the first of Iverson’s many playoff appearances, a run that pretty much culminated in a stint to the NBA finals in 2001. Iverson did not experience the same success at any point in his career after, but he undoubtedly established himself as an icon on and off the court.

Allen Iverson’s Career Overview: Unhappy Ending

After 10 seasons in Philadelphia, AI was traded halfway into his 11th to Denver. After a short stint in the Mile High City, he had stops in Detroit, Memphis, and back to Philly again before his NBA career was over. He received offers to come off the bench for different teams, but Iverson didn’t want to, so his career ended where it began.

Dwyane Wade Career Overview: Championship Run with Shaq, Big 3 Era, and Retirement

Now for D-Wade, his career can be divided into three phases. First, he was the undisputed face of the franchise in Miami. This was an eight-season stretch where Wade was at his physical peak and consistently in the MVP discussions. He also gave Miami its first ring in 2006 after averaging almost 35 points and eight rebounds in the NBA Finals.

The next phase of D-Wade’s storied career was the Big 3 era alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh. After a failed 2011 championship run, the trio went to three more Finals appearances and won twice, in 2012 and 2013. Those Heat teams terrorized the league with incredible defense, thanks to D-Wade’s length and quickness from the guard position that often spilled in the paint.

At this point in his career, Wade was still a 20+ PPG scorer. He didn’t have the ball in his hands often because of LeBron, but he wreaked havoc on defense while maintaining decent rebounding, assist, steals, and blocks rate. 

When James left Miami to return home to Cleveland in 2014, Wade was in the last phase of his career. His knee issues are taking a toll, and rumor has it Bron knew what’s up and “exchanged” Wade for a younger Cavs team that included Kyrie Irving. Whatever it was, Wade was nearing the tail end of a Hall of Fame career.

After two seasons with Miami without LeBron, Wade signed with his hometown Bulls in 2016. He reunited with James in 2017 at Cleveland, but it didn’t go as well as expected. D-Wade returned to Miami and hung up his sneakers for good in 2019 in South Beach. In 16 seasons, Wade only missed the playoffs three times and won three championships.

How Does Allen Iverson Compare to Dwyane WadeHow Does Allen Iverson Compare to Dwyane Wade?

AI was an electrifying performer, maybe even better than Wade in that regard, but he was much less efficient. Wade can penetrate with the best of them while having a lethal midrange game, and his defense in his prime was at an All-NBA level.

Check out this Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade comparison based on their team and personal achievements.

Allen Iverson’s Accomplishments

  • Iverson was not a part of any championship team. He led the Sixers to the NBA Finals, and showed a valiant effort, but fell short to the mighty Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
  • Because of his all-year brilliance, AI became league MVP in 2001. He was the first Sixer since Moses Malone in 1983 to win the Ward.
  • The Answer was selected as an All-Star 11 times, winning ASG MVP in 2001 and 2005. He was also a part of seven All-NBA teams (three first, three second, and one third-team selections).
  • As a prolific scorer, AI was scoring champion four times while also leading the league in steals in three consecutive seasons (2001-03).
  • Iverson was voted to on the 75th Anniversary Team and was the Rookie of the Year in 1997.

Dwyane Wade’s Accomplishments

  • Wade got three championship rings in his collection and was named the Finals MVP in 2006.
  • Unlike Iverson, D-Wade did not win MVP although he was close to getting one in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, the votes swung in favor of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, respectively.
  • “The Flash” was selected to the All-Star Game 13 times and named the MVP in the 2010 ASG. He was also a member of eight All-NBA Teams (two first-team, three second-team, and two third-team selections).
  • Defense was one of Wade’s calling cards. He was a lockdown defender who can jump passing lanes if needed. His efforts made him a member of three All-Defense Second teams. 
  • Wade was the league’s scoring champ in 2009 and was named to the 75th Anniversary team. He also had his jersey No. 3 retired by the Miami Heat.

Allen Iverson’s Stats Compared to Dwyane WadeAllen Iverson’s Stats Compared to Dwyane Wade

There is no Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade comparison without looking at their stats. Iverson’s counting numbers were flashier, but Wade was an efficiency darling. Both were not known for great three-point shooting, but you have to take the good with the bad.

(Regular Season)  Allen Iverson Dwyane Wade
Points Per Game 26.7  22.0
Rebounds Per Game 3.7 4.7
Assists Per Game 6.2 5.4
Steals Per Game 2.2 1.5
Blocks Per Game 0.2 0.8
Threes Made Per Game 1.2 0.5
Career FG% .425 .480
Career 3FG% .313 .293
Career FT% .780 .765

As previously pointed out, AI’s counting numbers looked better than D-Wade’s. But here’s an important thing to note: Wade willingly took the backseat for a chance to compete for more championships, while AI never did. That means Dwyane Wade’s averages fell off with James and Bosh on his team. Before the Big 3, Flash averaged over 24 points in seven straight seasons while never shooting below 47%.

On the other hand, AI averaged at least 26 points for nine consecutive years but never hit 45% shooting. Included were two sub-40% shooting seasons, which can sometimes be painful to watch.

Now, what about an Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade stats comparison in the playoffs?

(Playoffs)  Allen Iverson Dwyane Wade
Points Per Game 29.7 22.3
Rebounds Per Game 3.8 5.2
Assists Per Game 6.0 4.9
Steals Per Game 2.1 1.5
Blocks Per Game 0.2 1.0
Threes Made Per Game 1.7 0.6
Career FG% .401 .474
Career 3FG% .327 .338
Career FT% .764 .780

Their playoff numbers reflect their regular season stats, but the difference in points can be explained by one thing. AI attempted 26.5 shots per game in the playoffs, while Wade is at 17.3. That’s almost 10 FGA more per game for Iverson at a brutal clip, even by the standards of the era he’s played on! 

Allen Iverson’s Impact on the NBA

Allen Iverson’s Impact on the NBA

There is no one in the NBA quite like AI. He had a major influence, not only on the basketball court but outside of it as well.

Basketball-wise, Allen Iverson showed everybody how to play fearlessly despite his small stature. He played relentlessly like he was the toughest guy on the court, and most of the time, he was. AI didn’t care if someone twice his size got in the way; the only thing that mattered was how to get through the obstacle.

Iverson also influenced how NBA players carried themselves. He was the first to bring the hip-hop culture to the league, sporting cornrows, visible ink, chains, and baggy clothing. AI was the first to use a shooting sleeve, not for fashion purposes, but to keep his injured elbow warm. And because it’s the Answer, everybody followed suit, and the trend remained relevant today!

Without a doubt, AI’s impact in the NBA, and basketball as a whole, was being the “cool” guy, the ultimate trendsetter. At one point, every basketball player wanted to be like AI, just like everyone once wanted to be like Michael Jordan. Iverson was never the winner Jordan was, but he has that contemporary influence among basketball fans.

Dwyane Wade’s Impact on the NBA

Dwyane Wade’s Impact on the NBA

Dwyane Wade’s career is elite, but his peak is relatively short compared to the top-tier shooting guards like Jordan and Kobe. Maybe he had to take a beating inside more than he needed to because of his athleticism and lack of a consistent jump shot. But at his best, he was as scary as the names mentioned earlier.

He is an elite slasher that could get your entire frontcourt in foul trouble. If you have to deal with him in the open court, good luck, because you’ll need every bit of it. But here’s the rub: If you managed to stop him from getting to the rim, that’s because he somehow found an open teammate to kick out or dump the ball. In short, there is no really stopping a prime Dwyane Wade.

As for his legacy, every NBA fan sees it in each game. The pull-back, the step-back, and the left and right shoulder turnaround jumpers were D-Wade’s staple moves, and you see these being done at every game. Wade did not invent those shots, of course, but he was a great ambassador that served as the bridge from the old Jordan/Kobe era to what basketball is now.

Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade DebateAllen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade Debate

You have two schools of thought when comparing Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade. You either favor Iverson’s relentlessness and gung-ho attitude or Dwyane Wade’s quiet and powerful intensity. Iverson was fun to watch, but so was Wade; the biggest difference is that the latter’s contributions resulted in championships.

Is Allen Iverson better than Dwyane Wade? Not really. Wade was the best player on a team that won the championship, and he did it at 21 years old! Iverson was never close, mainly because he ran into the Shaq-Kobe duo in quest of back-to-back titles.

Iverson was also known as a headcase and would never hesitate butting heads with coaches and teammates. On the other hand, Wade handily gave the “keys” to the team to LeBron and was content to be the second option. Most of the time, accepting a lesser is just as important as being the No. 1 guy. 

Because of that and the fact that D-Wade had more postseason success, most people have no qualms about anointing him as a better shooting guard than Iverson.

Wrapping Things Up: Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade: Who is a Better Shooting Guard?

Fiersome competitors in the NBA come in many shapes in sizes. Allen Iverson was reed-thin but quick as a fox, while Dwyane Wade was a powerfully-built machine that could finish through contact. With these elite abilities, both are considered among the best shooting guards ever.

But when talking about Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade, who is the better shooting guard? Well, Iverson may have one MVP under his belt, but Wade also came close several times. The most significant difference is that D-Wade’s contributions resulted in three championships, one where he was undisputedly the best player. 

Regardless, when comparing how they are as players, neither Iverson nor Wade has a significant advantage. It was the attitude that allowed D-Wade to experience success, while Iverson always wanted to be the focal point. Whether that’s enough to end this Allen Iverson vs. Dwyane Wade is up to you, but that should still account for something.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Explore more NBA player comparison articles below:

> Tim Duncan vs. Dirk Nowitzki: Who Was the Better Power Forward?

> Bird vs. Johnson: Who Was the Better Player?

> Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard: Who is the Better Small Forward?

> Kobe Bryant vs. Lebron James: Who is Better?

> Wilt vs. Kareem: Who is the Greatest Center of All Time?

> Shaq vs. Hakeem: Who Was the Better Center?

> Stephen Curry vs. Damian Lillard: Who is the Best Shooter in the NBA?

> Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden: Who is the Better Point Guard?

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