Melvin Hunt is "just" the interim head coach of the Denver Nuggets, but it’s still quite the compliment when an NBA coach calls you the next Dwyane Wade. And that’s just the comparison Hunt made for Victor Oladipo after the Nuggets’ victory over the Magic on Sunday.
Nuggets interim head coach Melvin Hunt said Oladipo is "D-Wade like" and could be the next D-Wade with his ability to penetrate
It’s a rather generous compliment. Oladipo might have Wade’s head for getting into the lane and drawing in a defense, but their statistics to the same points in their careers don’t line up. Oladipo is averaging 17 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per 36 minutes so far in the NBA; through his second season, Dwyane Wade averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 boards and 5.6 assists. Wade was also the superior shooter, with a true shooting percentage of 55% to Oladipo’s 52.3%.
The league has changed since Wade’s second season in 2004-05 to emphasize the 3-pointer, of course, so Oladipo has already hoisted 423 triples in 142 regular season games to Wade’s 98 in 138. But 3-point shooting — both in quantity and rate (33.6% for Oladipo; 29.6% for Wade) — and steals (1.8 per 36 minutes for Oladipo; 1.5 for Wade) are the only areas where Oladipo really measures up to Wade.
Naturally, none of that was really Hunt’s point. The comparison was between skill sets and approaches to the game. But it’s worth keeping the parameters of the comparison in mind to see how much it really makes sense.