Re: Peak Dwyane Wade vs Peak Tracy McGrady
Extremely close, too close to say one was definitely better, but I'll give '03 T-Mac the edge over '09 Wade. T-Mac was better offensively. He was clearly a better shooter and he had an incredible 3 point shooting season in addition to his all around scoring skill set second to only Jordan and Kobe among shooting guards, imo. He could get his shot off at any time, from any distance. He also had an excellent footwork, an array of moves, and was one of the best off the dribble, finishing, plus he could post up. Wade had the advantage going to the basket, but T-Mac didn't settle that season and could get to the rim and finish whenever he wanted. So I'd definitely call T-Mac the better scorer, not by a huge margin, but enough to not change my opinion. Playmaking is close, but I prefer T-Mac for pure passing and court vision. He also turned the ball over very little for a player who had to carry the entire offense almost by himself. Defense is definitely an advantage Wade had, and it's bigger than the gaps between them offensively, but offense is more important for a 2 guard, imo.
Both were easily at their best these seasons. I think Wade was at his best in just about every facet of the game, except his post game and slashing. He regained his explosiveness and was stronger than when he was young, but he mixed up his game much more and played more under control. This was why becoming so much better as a shooter elevated his game so much. Not only was his mid-range game excellent, but he became a legit 3 point threat for the first time. He wasn't a great 3 point shooter, but you had to respect that part of his game now because it wasn't uncommon for him to step into a 3, and he was capable of making 4-5 in a game when he was hot. He shot them really well after the break. I also think he did his best job as a playmaker, and as I mentioned before, he was more under control which cut down on his turnovers. When Wade was younger, you pretty much knew he was going to the basket, but there was more to his game at that point. It was also easily the best defensive season he's had.
With T-Mac, he obviously developed a lot from his early years with his shooting improving dramatically, his handle getting tighter and his footwork getting a lot better, though he was already pretty damn close to his '03 level as far as skills and ability by '02. I'd say his defense was better in '02, actually. But the difference between '02 and '03 for T-Mac was mainly becoming a more prolific 3 point shooter, just being on target more consistently with his shooting and being more aggressive. Plus, he had to pick up some of the slack of Orlando's deteriorating backcourt with Darrell Armstrong aging.