With all the maximum salaries, mid-level exceptions and Bird rights clauses being thrown around in NBA off-season discussions, it’s safe to say even the casual basketball fan is walking away from this summer with a little more knowledge about NBA bookkeeping and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Over the past few months, a lot of statistics and numbers have been thrown out as to forecast how teams will perform, what kind of future roster flexibility will be available and even what players might be on the move come this time next year and the year after. But weeding through the entire matrix of formulas and figures, one very underpublicized and underreported stat shines through in the evaluation of the 2010 free agency period: Dwyane Wade is only 6 months younger than Joe Johnson.Granted, right now Dwyane Wade is a much more high impact player than JJ, and if you could guarantee the same continued output going forward, it would seem Wade’s value greatly exceeds that of Johnson. Johnson’s deal is actually larger than Wade’s, as Wade, LeBron and Bosh all accepted reduced contracts in order to play together, however in talks leading up to their signing, no one in the NBA, from analysts to GMs to even fans, seemed to bat an eye at signing Wade to a max deal. Johnson’s contract on the other hand was declared “the worst in the NBA” before the pen had even touched paper. Considering their two vastly different styles of play, in three years can you absolutely say you would rather have Wade than Johnson?The undersized Wade is famous for his “Fall 7 Times, Get up 8″ scoring mentality, crashing towards the basket with a general disregard for his body. But in 3 years is that really what a team wants from an over-30 guard with 20 million a year on the books? Once Wade’s age and reckless flair finally catch up with his body, most likely starting in the knees, how will the rest of his game hold up? Historically, Wade has struggled with his jump shot, particularly pedestrian from long range, struggling to hover around 30 from 3 (28.9 career). Johnson on the other hand, makes his living below the rim, using his 6’7” frame to get off his shot, and since JJ is predominantly a jump shooter, a la Ray Allen, he should expect to have a fairly elongated window with respect to performance over time. Sure, right now Wade over Johnson may be a slam dunk pick (no pun intended), but starting in say 2013, which would you rather be committed to paying?
Atlanta KrunkBallin' it up in the ATL
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