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Wade-Bosh, and Other Wing-Big Combos

Posted by Neil Paine on July 7, 2010

Last week I looked at the possibility of a LeBron James-Dwyane Wade "Big Two", as well as a James-Wade-Chris Bosh "Big Three", and now it looks like a Bosh-Wade combo is going to happen at the very least (whether it includes LeBron or not is still an open question). Wade & Bosh combined for 63.3 % of their teams' possessions last season, so let's look at other newly-formed Wing/Big combos from the past to see if they're the highest-usage inside-outside duo ever put together.

The rules:

  • The combo must consist of 1 "Big" (C, PF) and 1 "Wing" (SG, SF).
  • The combo had to play at least 500 minutes during both the season in question and the year before.
  • The combo must include at least 1 player who wasn't on the team the year before.


...And the list:

Rank Year Team Player A Pos Prv%Poss Player B Pos Prv%Poss Total
1 2005 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 34.7 Chris Webber Big 28.5 63.2
2 2004 ORL Tracy McGrady Wing 34.1 Juwan Howard Big 25.4 59.5
3 2004 LAL Kobe Bryant Wing 32.0 Karl Malone Big 27.0 59.0
4 2010 CLE LeBron James Wing 34.2 Antawn Jamison Big 24.8 58.9
5 2003 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 35.8 Keith Van Horn Big 22.9 58.7
6 2001 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 30.7 Isaiah Rider Wing 27.7 58.4
7 2009 MIA Dwyane Wade Wing 33.6 Jermaine O'Neal Big 24.6 58.2
8 2006 MIA Dwyane Wade Wing 31.6 Antoine Walker Big 26.6 58.2
9 1989 ATL Dominique Wilkins Wing 32.8 Moses Malone Big 25.4 58.2
10 2002 DET Jerry Stackhouse Wing 34.1 Clifford Robinson Big 23.9 58.1
11 2010 CLE LeBron James Wing 34.2 Shaquille O'Neal Big 23.8 58.0
12 2008 LAL Kobe Bryant Wing 32.6 Pau Gasol Big 25.3 57.9
13 1991 UTA Karl Malone Big 30.9 Jeff Malone Wing 26.9 57.8
14 1983 PHI Moses Malone Big 29.4 Andrew Toney Wing 27.9 57.3
15 2005 HOU Tracy McGrady Wing 32.4 Yao Ming Big 24.7 57.1
16 1999 NYK Patrick Ewing Big 29.1 Latrell Sprewell Wing 27.7 56.9
17 2008 BOS Paul Pierce Wing 29.7 Kevin Garnett Big 27.2 56.9
18 1997 MIA Jamal Mashburn Wing 29.1 Alonzo Mourning Big 27.7 56.8
19 2003 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 35.8 Kenny Thomas Big 20.9 56.7
20 1983 PHI Moses Malone Big 29.4 Julius Erving Wing 27.3 56.6
21 1963 SFW Wilt Chamberlain Big 32.7 Willie Naulls Wing 23.7 56.4
22 1994 ATL Dominique Wilkins Wing 29.9 Danny Manning Big 26.1 56.0
23 1994 LAC Dominique Wilkins Wing 29.9 Danny Manning Big 26.1 56.0
24 2008 NYK Zach Randolph Big 32.3 Jamal Crawford Wing 23.6 55.9
25 1976 LAL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 29.4 Gail Goodrich Wing 26.4 55.8
26 2002 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 33.8 Derrick Coleman Big 22.0 55.8
27 2007 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 35.1 Joe Smith Big 20.2 55.3
28 2005 HOU Tracy McGrady Wing 32.4 Maurice Taylor Big 22.3 54.7
29 2006 HOU Tracy McGrady Wing 30.4 Stromile Swift Big 24.2 54.6
30 2006 IND Jermaine O'Neal Big 34.4 Peja Stojakovic Wing 20.1 54.5
31 2007 DEN Allen Iverson Wing 35.1 Marcus Camby Big 19.3 54.4
32 1999 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 31.1 Glen Rice Wing 23.3 54.4
33 2010 DAL Dirk Nowitzki Big 28.3 Caron Butler Wing 26.0 54.3
34 2002 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 31.3 Mitch Richmond Wing 23.0 54.2
35 1978 NOJ Pete Maravich Wing 32.0 Truck Robinson Big 22.2 54.2
36 2001 POR Shawn Kemp Big 29.7 Bonzi Wells Wing 24.5 54.2
37 1997 NYK Patrick Ewing Big 29.9 Allan Houston Wing 24.3 54.2
38 2008 MIA Dwyane Wade Wing 35.0 Mark Blount Big 19.0 54.0
39 2003 ATL Glenn Robinson Wing 27.2 Shareef Abdur-Rahim Big 26.7 54.0
40 2007 LAL Kobe Bryant Wing 36.5 Vladimir Radmanovic Big 17.4 53.9
41 2003 PHI Allen Iverson Wing 35.8 Todd MacCulloch Big 18.1 53.9
42 1976 LAL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 29.4 Cazzie Russell Wing 24.4 53.8
43 2007 DEN Allen Iverson Wing 35.1 Linas Kleiza Big 18.7 53.8
44 2010 DET Charlie Villanueva Big 27.3 Richard Hamilton Wing 26.4 53.7
45 1993 PHO Cedric Ceballos Wing 27.7 Charles Barkley Big 25.8 53.4
46 1995 HOU Hakeem Olajuwon Big 28.6 Clyde Drexler Wing 24.8 53.4
47 2005 LAL Kobe Bryant Wing 28.5 Lamar Odom Big 24.9 53.4
48 2000 CLE Shawn Kemp Big 28.7 Lamond Murray Wing 24.7 53.4
49 1980 SDC World B. Free Wing 29.2 Joe Bryant Big 24.2 53.3
50 2000 NYK Patrick Ewing Big 26.9 John Wallace Wing 26.3 53.3

As you can see, Wade-Bosh will be the highest-usage newly-formed wing-big combo in NBA history.

Also, just for fun, here are the most potent single-season Wing/Big combos in NBA history by Win Shares, to give Wade & Bosh something to aim for:

Rank Year Team Player A Pos WS Player B Pos WS Total
1 1972 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 25.4 Bob Dandridge Wing 9.1 34.5
2 1967 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.9 Chet Walker Wing 10.1 32.0
3 1992 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 17.7 Horace Grant Big 14.1 31.9
4 1971 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 22.3 Bob Dandridge Wing 9.5 31.9
5 1968 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 20.4 Hal Greer Wing 11.2 31.6
6 1971 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 22.3 Jon McGlocklin Wing 8.9 31.2
7 1972 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 25.4 Jon McGlocklin Wing 5.8 31.2
8 1966 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.4 Hal Greer Wing 9.5 31.0
9 1991 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 20.3 Horace Grant Big 10.3 30.6
10 1987 BOS Larry Bird Wing 15.2 Kevin McHale Big 14.8 30.1
11 1973 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 21.9 Bob Dandridge Wing 8.1 29.9
12 1965 BOS Bill Russell Big 16.9 Sam Jones Wing 12.8 29.7
13 1967 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.9 Hal Greer Wing 7.6 29.4
14 1962 PHW Wilt Chamberlain Big 23.1 Paul Arizin Wing 6.3 29.4
15 2000 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 18.6 Kobe Bryant Wing 10.6 29.3
16 1966 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.4 Chet Walker Wing 7.8 29.2
17 1971 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 22.3 Greg Smith Wing 6.8 29.1
18 1967 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.9 Billy Cunningham Wing 6.8 28.7
19 1968 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 20.4 Chet Walker Wing 8.2 28.6
20 1961 PHW Wilt Chamberlain Big 18.8 Paul Arizin Wing 9.7 28.5
21 2009 CLE LeBron James Wing 20.3 Anderson Varejao Big 8.0 28.2
22 2003 LAL Kobe Bryant Wing 14.9 Shaquille O'Neal Big 13.2 28.1
23 1972 LAL Wilt Chamberlain Big 15.8 Gail Goodrich Wing 12.3 28.1
24 1988 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 21.2 Charles Oakley Big 6.7 27.9
25 2000 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 18.6 Glen Rice Wing 9.0 27.6
26 1994 SAS David Robinson Big 20.0 Dale Ellis Wing 7.6 27.5
27 1962 PHW Wilt Chamberlain Big 23.1 Tom Gola Wing 4.4 27.5
28 1972 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 25.4 Greg Smith Wing 1.8 27.2
29 2005 PHO Amare Stoudemire Big 14.6 Shawn Marion Wing 12.5 27.1
30 1973 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 21.9 Jon McGlocklin Wing 5.2 27.1
31 1990 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 19.0 Horace Grant Big 8.0 27.0
32 1997 UTA Karl Malone Big 16.7 Jeff Hornacek Wing 10.2 26.9
33 1960 PHW Wilt Chamberlain Big 17.0 Tom Gola Wing 9.9 26.9
34 1974 MIL Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Big 18.4 Bob Dandridge Wing 8.4 26.9
35 1986 BOS Larry Bird Wing 15.8 Kevin McHale Big 11.0 26.8
36 1968 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 20.4 Billy Cunningham Wing 6.4 26.8
37 1964 SFW Wilt Chamberlain Big 25.0 Gary Phillips Wing 1.7 26.7
38 1985 BOS Larry Bird Wing 15.7 Kevin McHale Big 11.0 26.7
39 1996 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 20.4 Dennis Rodman Big 6.2 26.6
40 2009 LAL Pau Gasol Big 13.9 Kobe Bryant Wing 12.7 26.6
41 1996 SAS David Robinson Big 18.3 Vinny Del Negro Wing 8.3 26.6
42 2010 CLE LeBron James Wing 18.5 Anderson Varejao Big 8.1 26.5
43 1959 STL Bob Pettit Big 14.8 Cliff Hagan Wing 11.7 26.5
44 1966 PHI Wilt Chamberlain Big 21.4 Billy Cunningham Wing 5.0 26.4
45 1993 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 17.2 Horace Grant Big 9.1 26.4
46 1973 LAL Wilt Chamberlain Big 18.2 Gail Goodrich Wing 8.1 26.3
47 2001 LAL Shaquille O'Neal Big 14.9 Kobe Bryant Wing 11.3 26.3
48 1989 CHI Michael Jordan Wing 19.8 Horace Grant Big 6.4 26.2
49 1964 BOS Bill Russell Big 17.3 Sam Jones Wing 8.9 26.2
50 1995 SAS David Robinson Big 17.5 Sean Elliott Wing 8.7 26.2

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18 Responses to “Wade-Bosh, and Other Wing-Big Combos”

  1. john Says:

    in the coon article that you guys referenced he mentions that miami wont have max space for 3 players even if they move mario and beasley yet its being reported everywhere like lebron might join them. surely nobody thinks he would be taking less than a max contract right?

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    The theory I've heard is that LeBron has so much off-court earnings potential that he can afford to take less than the max in salary in order to fit in under Miami's cap. I think that's pretty unlikely, but I guess it could happen.

  3. AYC Says:

    Seems like a pipe-dream to me. Why would Lebron go to a team where he isn't automatically the man? There are only two such situations in the league: Wade in MIA and Kobe in LA. Also, why go to a team where players 4-15 are all going to be scrubs?

    I don't get why nobody's talking about Chicago anymore; if Bron leaves CLE (which I hope he doesn't), the Bulls seem like the best fit; they have Rose, Noah and Deng, plus enough space to sign both LBJ and Boozer

  4. Neil Paine Says:

    My guess is that they will be talking about Chicago tomorrow night at 9 PM. I think that's the likeliest destination, either that or Cleveland.

  5. john Says:

    I guess that makes sense but wade AND bosh would be making more than him? Seems unlikely.

    AYC i think chic is out because bosh was really the post player they needed. brons post game is still nonexistent and while it may sound good on paper two wings dont win championships.

    I would think this makes a strong case for NY right? they might not win a championship but that wasnt going to happen in CLE anyways.

  6. Jason J Says:

    John - I think what AYC was saying is that Chicago could sign Bron and Boozer (reunion!), and Booz would give that post presence. Also, Chicago fans might disagree that two wings don't win championships.

  7. john Says:

    knew that was coming. im still impressed how great the first 3peat team was all things considered (they did have hgrant thought :) ) but for the next three they needed a freak of nature that avg 14 boards and played big d in the paint. what i was getting at was defense wins rings...two awesome scorers is not enough.

    with that in mind booz is kind of a turnstyle i dont know how much tibs or bron would like that.

  8. Spree Says:

    Is it the case that LeBron also has an escalator on his Nike contract that pumps up his money in endorsements if he lands in a giant media market?

    To go to Miami he would lose that opportunity. He would not get the 30 million or so from the max he could get in Cleveland, and he would get paid less in general to accomodate Wade and Bosh?

    How much would he be losing overall with this Nike incentive, losing the max, and taking less than he could at other cities just to play in Miami?

  9. Spree Says:

    I think LeBron is going to New York. The attempt to get Bosh proves that if he stays in Cleveland he's not getting help. Bosh was offered the most money he could get this year and still wouldn't go to Cleveland. So Cleveland is only chosen if he chooses love of home over legacy.

    Chicago with Boozer is no guarantee. Chicago would have to sell LeBron on the idea that they can get Boozer which is uncertain. Second, any knock anyone has on Amar'e Stoudemire goes double for Boozer. Boozer is undersized, injury prone, and not a great defender. He also struggles in the post due to his size when he plays the elite PF's in the league. The only thing he does better than Amar'e is rebound. He can't attack the basket like Amar'e and doesn't shoot any better than Amar'e. So not only is LeBron needing to be sold that Chicago will get Boozer, but also that Boozer is an acceptable sub for Bosh or Amar'e.

    Miami would demand LeBron leave a ton of money on the table to become Wade's sidekick. Hardly appealing.

    New York offers LeBron everything. A great coach. A system ideal to his skill set. A great PF scoring maching as back-up. And plenty of cap space to make moves this year and next. Keep in mind also that the Nike contract escalator would kick in and LeBron wouldn't take a minimal pay cut compared to what Cleveland could offer.

    I say LeBron's going Gotham.

  10. Jason J Says:

    That's a good point, John. A champion can usually get by with one subpar defender (a Paxson or Kukoc in this scenario), but Rose is also not the greatest, so it would put a ton of pressure on Bron and Noah if Boozer didn't buy into the defense. He is a strong rebounder though. I think the combo would give them a chance to win. The bigger worry IMO is outside shooting. They need a specialist at the 2 to give Rose and Bron room to operate, and Deng is neither a shooting specialist nor a 2 guard.

  11. john Says:

    Yeah. And pax was one of the greatest 3pt shooter ever so he brought something other than defensive liability. The real problem with booze isnt buying into the defense it just doesnt seem like his ball iq is very high. IMO having the greatest defensive mind in the league is a great reason for lebron to WANT to go to chicago but brining in boozer seems to tarnish that shine.

    Deng is an albatross that chicago will be lucky to get rid of. I dont envy lebron. If bosh is out of the picture in chiacgo it seems like any team he picks is too messed up to make a run at a ring in the near future.

  12. AYC Says:

    I don't get all the Boozer bashing. He has the best shooting touch of any PF not named Dirk, and he's a beast on the boards; CHI couldn't use that? If CLE hadn't let him slip away they'd probably have a championship or two already....

  13. AYC Says:

    I made that last post before I saw Chi just came to terms with Boozer. Hard situation for Lebron to resist

  14. P Middy Says:

    Hearing Wade say that he was willing to take less pay to get the right pieces was very heartening. If all three of them took $10 a year, they could get the right squad around them. Of course, that's leaving a LOT of money on the table.

  15. Rashad Says:

    I still think it's a bit silly to look at individuals based on usage, since for any given individual the usage/efficiency tradeoff is not at all entirely clear, despite the larger trend.

  16. themojojedi Says:

    So if LeBron joins the party in Miami the all-time record for team FTA/FGA (or FT/FGA if you prefer) gets obliterated right?

  17. Neil Paine Says:

    Oh yeah. The sound of referee whistles will be the NBA equivalent of the vuvuzela during Heat games. :)

  18. Jim Says:

    Looks like LeBron took the easy way out to me. Taking on the challenge of winning a title for his hometown in Cleveland would have been worth several championships with the new, stacked "Big Three" in Miami. He should have stayed the course in Cleveland, and his popularity would continue to soar, which automatically increases his income with more endorsements!