Was Dwyane Wade Robbed Of An MVP In 2009?

Was Dwyane Wade Robbed Of An MVP In 2009? 


I’ve recently read a debate that Dwyane Wade was robbed of the 2008-2009 MVP award by LeBron James. It’s time to settle it here.

Yes, it’s undeniably true that Dwyane Wade was absolutely ridiculous in 2008-2009—it was one of the best seasons of his career. He was dropping 30-40 points on a nightly basis, and was a menace on the defensive end. Wade was absolutely an MVP-caliber that year, no doubt. BUT, was he robbed of an MVP?


2008-2009 NBA Statistics:

Dwyane Wade – 30.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 3.4 TO, 49.1% FG, 31.7% 3PT, 76.5% FT.

Wade’s 30.2 points per game won him the Scoring Title, and his 100 blocks that year was the most in a single season of his career.


LeBron James – 28.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 3.0 TO, 48.9% FG, 43.6% 3PT, 78.0% FT.

Like every year since he was drafted, LeBron James once again carried the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back—James led his team in points, rebounds, assists, and many other categories.


That particular season, Dwyane Wade beat LeBron James in PPG, APG, SPG, BPG and FG%. Wade easily had a better case to be the MVP that season.


Advanced stats:

LeBron James led the league in Offensive Win Shares, Defensive Win Shares, Win Shares, Win Shares Per 48 minutes, Box Plus/Minus, Offensive Box/Minus and Value Over Replacement Player. He was 3rd in Defensive Rating, 2nd in Defensive Win Shares and 5th in Defensive Box Plus/Minus.

Dwyane Wade was 4th in Offensive Win shares, 3rd in Win Shares, Box Plus/Minus Offensive Box Plus/Minutes and Value Over Replacement Player.


Team Impact:

Dwyane Wade Team Record: 42-38 (5th seed) Previous Season Record: 15-67 (30th, worst in the NBA) Difference: +27 wins.

LeBron James Team Record: 66-15 (Best record in the NBA), 39-1 (Best home record) Previous Season Record: 45-37 (13th in the NBA) Difference: +21 wins.

Both of them had a huge impact toward their teams; both did more with less.


By seeding:

Prior to 2009, Only three players on a second seeded team won MVP. No player on a 3rd seed team or below has won MVP except Michael Jordan in 1988, Moses Malone in 1979 & 1982, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976. History has shown us that players on conference winning teams has absolute advantage over players on less seeded teams. Cleveland won 66 games (best record in the league), while Miami was 5th seed in the East.


By win shares:

To tell you more about win shares; win shares are a good metric to determine how many wins a player is contributing to his team—not a perfect one but it isn’t meaningless. Prior to 2009, and since 2000, history has shown us that 10 out of 14 MVP awards were given to the player who had the most win shares. LeBron James had 20.3 Win Shares (Most since Michael Jordan in 1996, 12th All Time), while Wade only had 14.7 win shares.



Although Dwyane Wade put up incredible numbers that season, LeBron James, historically, had one of the best seasons in NBA history. The two players—who would become a dynamic duo a few years later—put on a show in the 2008-2009 season, and both had seasons to remember.

LeBron leading his team to the best record and having the 12th most win shares of All Time, the most since MJ in 1996, enhanced his MVP case by a large margin. Additionally LeBron’s 31.67 PER rank 4th All Time, only behind MJ’s PER in 1988 and Wilt’s PER in 1962 and 1963.

To add some arguments to LeBron’s MVP status; LeBron finished 2nd in DPOY voting that year and in terms of Player of the Month awards, LeBron beat Wade 4 out of 6 times.

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