Austin Rivers Passionately Defends Dwyane Wade Being a Top 10 Player of All Time'
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Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers had some strong feelings about ESPN’s list of the top 74 basketball players of all time.

In particular, Rivers felt that former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was criminally undervalued at No. 26 overall.

“If you are a current player in the NBA, I’ll have this discussion with you,” Rivers said in a video with Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry. “If you coached in the NBA, I’ll have this discussion with you.

“If you did not play in the NBA or coach in the NBA, I don’t care what your opinion is about the all-time greatest. I really don’t care. I don’t give a f— if you’ve studied the game of basketball or whatever the case may be. You’ve never played, you don’t know what it’s like playing or working on your craft at that level or competing against those guys.

“This list was clearly made by guys who didn’t make their JV basketball team,” Rivers continued. “You have Dwyane Wade 26th all time.”

Rivers took extra offense to Wade being ranked below current Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard.

“Kawhi Leonard’s a great player,” Rivers said. “Unbelievable player. I love Kawhi Leonard. He’s one of my favorite players in today’s game. You can put him easily top five. He’s [No.] 25.”

Curry interjected saying that Wade is a “top-three shooting guard of all time.”

“The disrespect is just like — and then Giannis [Antetokounmpo] is 27. There is no way — Giannis is on that way, he’s an unbelievable player — there is no way Dwyane Wade should be slotted one slot in front of Giannis, he’s just done too much.”

Rivers acknowledged that this list will change five years from now, but that there is no way Antetokounmpo and Wade should be this close right now.

“Dwyane Wade should be somewhere around the top 10,” Rivers said. “That’s just my current — that’s just my opinion, maybe not the top 10 but either in the top 10 or around there. Top 15, something like that.”

Wade is a 13-time All-Star, three-time NBA champion and eight-time All-NBA selection. Rivers believes that the “experts” at ESPN shouldn’t be the only ones who make these lists.

“I think everybody has the right to have an opinion,” Rivers said. “I think everybody’s opinion should be valued to a certain extent, including these so-called experts at ESPN.

“But I think with that being said, these experts are the same guys who probably didn’t make their JV basketball team. And these are guys who didn’t play in the NBA.

“I do think players should make this list. I think ex-players should make this list. I would love to hear from whatever former NBA player, I wish that they did a panel together and made this list. That’s the type of experts that I would like to listen to.”

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.