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Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 am  |  283 responses

Scouting Report: Kobe Bryant Vs. LeBron James

How they compare in the skills that matter.

by David Friedman

Comparisons of Kobe Bryant to LeBron James often generate a lot more heat than light. This is because there is one camp that cannot even conceive of the possibility that James is better than Bryant and another camp that cannot even conceive of the possibility that Bryant is better than James.

Some people base their arguments on statistics, some people compare the supporting casts surrounding each player and other people offer vague generalizations about selfishness, killer instinct and other qualities that are very hard to quantify in a meaningful way.

I compare players—not just Bryant and James, but all players—by skill set. Statistics can be affected by a player’s position, his role on the team and other factors; the numbers are important to consider but they don’t tell the whole story.

For instance, according to BasketballReference.com in NBA/ABA history 24 different players have had a total of 61 seasons in which they averaged at least 20 ppg and eight apg. Not surprisingly, Oscar Robertson leads that group with 10 such seasons, but do you know who has the second most 20-8 seasons?

Stephon Marbury (6).

I hope we can all agree that Marbury is not an all-time great point guard just because he put up some gaudy scoring and assist totals.

Let’s compare the respective skill sets of Bryant and James:

1. Shooting

Bryant is a much better free throw shooter than James (.839 to .728) and Bryant has a better jump shot from both the midrange and three point areas. Shooting is James’ biggest weakness but despite his much publicized work to improve his touch he actually has regressed during his career: his free throw percentage declined for three straight seasons, from .754 as a rookie to .698 in 2006-07, before bouncing back slightly to .712 last season.

Against many NBA teams James overcomes this with his sheer athletic power, bulling his way to the hoop to score in the paint (that is why his overall field goal percentage is higher than Bryant’s, much like Shaquille O’Neal’s field goal percentage is higher than Hakeem Olajuwon’s even though Olajuwon had greater shooting range). However, in each of the last two seasons when James went up against the eventual NBA champions those teams built a wall around the paint, sagged off of James and dared him to make jump shots.

The result was that James averaged 22.0 ppg, shot .356 from the field (including .200 from three point range) and committed 5.8 turnovers per game as the Spurs swept his Cavs in the 2007 NBA Finals; he averaged 26.7 ppg, shot .355 from the field (including .231 from three point range) and committed 5.3 turnovers per game in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals versus the Celtics.

In contrast, Bryant averaged 29.2 ppg, shot .533 from the field (including .333 from three point range) and committed just 2.4 turnovers per game as the Lakers beat the Spurs in five games in the 2008 Western Conference Finals; he averaged 25.7 ppg, shot .405 from the field (including .321 from three point range) and committed 3.8 turnovers per game versus the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Note that James’ turnover numbers skyrocketed because defenders could simply sit in the passing lanes. Opposing defenders are also more apt to foul James because James is not a reliable free throw shooter.

Advantage: Bryant

2. Rebounding

James has a career rebounding average of 6.9 rpg, while Bryant has a career rebounding average of 5.3 rpg but the only logical way to look at this is by position.

James is a small forward who is nearly as big as Karl Malone was, so he naturally shoulders a bigger rebounding burden than Bryant, a shooting guard who plays on the perimeter. James is one of the best rebounders at his position and Bryant is one of the best rebounders at his position.

Of course, sometimes they guard each other and near the end of Cleveland’s 94-90 win over the Lakers, Bryant did a remarkable thing: he beat James to an offensive rebound after an Andrew Bynum miss, giving the Lakers a crucial late game possession.

After the game, someone asked Bryant how he did that but he just laughed and said, “I’m not giving up my secret. I told him (James) I was going to get it. That’s just years of experience.”

Yes, that was just one play but Bryant does that kind of thing fairly often; he knows all of the angles, his footwork is impeccable and he does not shy away from contact. When Andrew Bynum was out of the lineup and before the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, Bryant averaged 10.4 rpg in a five game stretch without a decrease in his scoring or assists averages.

Advantage: Draw (James has the edge in size, Bryant has the edge in savvy)

3. Defense

Bryant has made the All-Defensive First Team six times, while James has yet to earn an All-Defensive Team selection.

Keep in mind that the voting in this category is done by NBA head coaches (who cannot choose their own players), not media members. I often hear fans criticizing Bryant’s defense but NBA head coaches have consistently recognized him as a top defender. Bryant has the ability to play lock down, denial defense against any shooting guard in the league but the realities of an 82 game schedule during which he also is asked to score 30-plus ppg mean that he does not play lock down defense on a nightly basis; however, that does not mean that he is playing poor defense the rest of the time.

Bryant understands what the opposing team is trying to do and he is very disruptive not only to his own man but also as a help defender. During the NBA Finals, Boston Coach Doc Rivers made an observation that did not get nearly as much play as it should have, namely that Bryant is the best help defender the league has seen since Scottie Pippen.

When James first came into the NBA he did not understand the finer points of NBA defense but he has been an avid student and quick learner at that end of the court. Cleveland Coach Mike Brown has a defense-first philosophy and James has bought into that completely, which inevitably leads to the rest of the team falling in line behind him.

Even when James makes an incorrect read he can often make up for it due to his incredible athletic ability. At the rate that James is improving it is only a matter of time until he will merit recognition as an All-Defensive Team player, possibly as soon as next season.

Advantage: Bryant

4. Passing

Many people simply look at career apg averages (6.6 for James, 4.6 for Bryant) and award this category to James in a landslide—but it is not that simple, as the Robertson/Marbury example indicates. As I noted during the Spurs-Hornets series, the assist may be the most subjective statistic in the boxscore.

That is one reason that the Cavaliers also track “hockey assists,” the pass that leads to a scoring pass (James gets plenty of those, too). Although I cite assist numbers when I write game recaps because those totals give a “quick and dirty” idea of who is doing the playmaking, when I compare the passing abilities of two players I consider the following factors: court vision/ability to read the defense, ability to make all of the fundamental passes, willingness to pass.

James has remarkable court vision but Bryant is a lot better in this regard than some people may think. It was not easy for him to display this when Kwame Brown was the recipient of his passes but when Andrew Bynum stepped up last season and especially after Pau Gasol arrived Bryant demonstrated that he can run the pick and roll and deliver a pass as well as the best point guards in the NBA.

James has a unique pass in his repertoire that few if any other NBA players deliver on a consistent basis: the crosscourt, bullet skip pass that punishes a trapping defense by finding the open man like a heat seeking missile. Bryant is capable of making this pass and he does so at times but James does this several times a game. The point is not whether or not this results in an assist but rather that defenses have to take this into account. James’ poor shooting takes away some options from him but his crosscourt passes give the defense something to worry about if their rotations are not crisp.

In terms of bounce passes, chest passes, outlet passes, no look passes and various kinds of feeds off of pick and roll plays, Bryant and James each have the full repertoire.

Most people understand this about James but a lot of people fail to recognize Bryant’s skills as a passer. James is generally considered a “pass first” player while Bryant is called a “shoot first” player, but last season James led the NBA in scoring and averaged 21.9 field goal attempts and 10.3 free throw attempts per game, while Bryant averaged 20.6 field goal attempts and 9.0 free throw attempts. By necessity, both players are “shoot first” players for their teams.

Hypothetically, if both players were placed on the court in a situation that was truly a 50-50 read—meaning that the player could justifiably either shoot the ball or make a pass—I agree with the subjective evaluation that Bryant may be more of a “shoot first” player than James is. However, the reality is that both players are expected to lead their teams in scoring while also being the primary playmaker. Their assist totals reflect the areas on the court where they receive the ball and the kinds of passes that they make in their respective offenses.

Advantage: Slight edge to James

5. Footwork/fakes

Bryant has arguably the best footwork in the NBA and this is no small matter: his ability to pivot, his use of the jab step and his cutting/ability to use screens are great assets offensively, while his footwork defensively is equally outstanding. Michael Jordan increasingly relied on footwork as he got older and you can already see Bryant going down that same path, even though Bryant still retains a lot of athletic ability at this point.

People get mesmerized by Bryant’s shotmaking but they don’t pay attention to the finer points of how he consistently gets open against the NBA’s best defenses, the subtle fakes and moves that Bryant uses to throw defenders off balance. Bryant can score in the post against bigger or smaller defenders because his footwork is so good and he is almost impossible to guard facing the basket for the same reason.

At this stage, James’ footwork is much more rudimentary.

He uses some jab steps but basically he simply gets by people with brute force and stunning speed. There is nothing wrong with that but those tools don’t work in every situation. James is also not nearly the postup offensive threat that he should be considering his size and athletic gifts. He is capable of getting in a defensive stance and sliding his feet but sometimes he plays a bit too upright, relying on his athletic ability to bail him out if he gets beat.

Advantage: Bryant

6. Ballhandling

Bryant and James are both excellent ballhandlers. They each prefer their right hand but are able to dribble and finish in traffic with their left hand if necessary. James is a bit more apt to try a risky pass that could be stolen, while Bryant is more apt to lose the ball in traffic when he drives to the hoop. Bryant’s ballhandling style relies on finesse and precision, while James takes full advantage of his size and strength to overpower his defenders and get into the lane.

Advantage: Draw

There is not a huge gulf between Bryant and James at this point. It seems that most of the people who believe that James is already better than Bryant fall into two camps: fans who are speaking from the heart more than the mind and stat heads who strictly look at (certain) numbers without considering any context. If you talk to NBA executives, coaches, players and scouts their evaluation will generally resemble the one that was offered above; it may differ in certain specific details but people who look at the game from a technical, objective standpoint realize that Bryant’s skill set is more well rounded than James’ skill set at this point. James’ size and athletic ability mitigate those skill set factors to some extent, so one could make a case that James is better than Bryant in that sense but I’d have to see an improvement in James’ shooting and/or a greater decline in Bryant’s athletic ability to agree with that take.

Consider what Larry Bird recently told Dan Patrick about Kobe Bryant: “I think he’s the best player in the world. I think he’s probably one of the best players that could be compared to Michael Jordan since Michael Jordan retired. He’s no Michael Jordan but he’s the closest thing.” I know that a lot of fans don’t want to hear or believe that, but what Bird said is a fair representation of what knowledgeable NBA people think about Bryant.

To read more of David Friedman’s basketball articles, just take a 20 Second Timeout.His general sports commentary can be found at BestEverSportsTalk.

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  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Overkill. Where is the Team USA live blog?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    WOW! That was a great read and I really enjoyed it. I’ll have to go over it again it was that detailed. Just so you know, you’ve gone and stirred up a bees nest David.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    The game doesnt start for two hours though does it TAD?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Yeah Hursty, I just saw that myself. Spain/Lithuana is on right now.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Well, Im watching Brazil play Belarus for the bronze medal in mens soccer. Ronaldinho(sp) is overweight. So, no coverage of the game for me yet but I’ll be round for the USA vs. Argentina game but its at 12:15am over here.urgh.

  • neaorin

    Yet I would still take LeBron over Kobe if I had to start building a team today.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    No sh*t neaorin. 90% of people would do the same thing.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Kobe. I’ll hit yall back third period I got to go to class. peace.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ryne, seriously, this sh*t is getting pretty old. There are other dudes to talk about and everyday this week there has been a comparison piece between them. Let it go, at least until the season starts again. Or to be fair, compare their international play.

  • k.o.

    nice piece. it went down well with my morning coffee and donut

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    And David, that’s not a slight to your piece. Nice work, pretty thorough analysis.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I’d like to hear Bill James’ thoughts on this as well.

  • LAN

    ……. kobe sexually assaulted some1…..

  • LAN

    agree with eboy.. but forreal every1 forgets about that

  • matt the jazz fan

    It’s BELGIUM not Belarus.

    Sort of like confusing USA and UAE…

  • dfrance

    @Lan, what does that have to do with basketball???

    I don’t think their styles are really comparable, but I would have to give James the flat-out edge in passing ability. If you watch Kobe, he gets a lot of what I call bail out assist, where he’s trying his hardest to shoot, but has to dump the ball off because he’s swarmed by defenders. His athletic abitlity allows him to contort and hang until an open teammate presents himself. In one of these USA games, he got a steal under his own basket, tried to go 1 on 3 and got hung up in the air, James saved him by diving to the basket and he was able to dump it off at the last second. It looked great and he did a no look kind of thing, but if James didn’t cut, he would have forced it up or threw it away.

  • LAN

    it has nothin to do with anything…. just felt like bringing it up lol

  • http://www.friendster.com/sesa Sesa

    this sh*t has to stop. It’ll lead to never ending discussion until someone found a surefire method on how to measure the best player on earth

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Eboy: You didn’t know this was our unofficial LeBron/Kobe week? :-)

  • starbury&stevey

    can you compare m.redd vs ray allen too??it sould be nice…

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    The theme weeks are allright Ryne (like Caputo’s AND1 week) but the subject matter can be a little more fulfilling.

  • Scott

    Hursty I think you’ll find Brazil played Belgium for the bronze medal, not Belarus!

  • Shawn Kemp Child#18

    I agree with dfrance. Lebron gets the edge in passing hands down. Have you watched Kobe “pass” up many opportunities to shoot the rock when he gets it in Beijing?
    Also disagree with ballhandling decision. Kobe’s handle is nice – real nice. Ild give Kobe an edge in handling for sure.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Agree with Eboy, also with LAN although that doesn’t have anything to do with his game. Also it seems to me that this article was biased, I’m sorry but James is a better rebounder and a far better passer than Kobe. Also what what’s up with negating size as a factor, after all you can’t teach size. If you put Shas (in his prime) through this analysis he would be one of the worst centers in the league. Although I agree with Bryant being more skilled in all the categories mentioned (except rebounds). The writer left out a category like finishing which should be included, what about strength, leaping ability, quickness, teamwork all categories James would have taken easily. In my opinion this article seemed biased, and no matter what you cannot judge a player from his different skills it the sum of those skills that make the player. As this Olympics clearly shows their is no equal to Mr. James, no matter Kobe’s better skills in a lot of categories.

  • Shawn Kemp Child#18

    Yea, I would give rebounding to James as well. Piece did seem overly pro-Kobe, except in the ballhandling section. Draw? What player in the league (who is not a point guard) has a better handle than Kobe?

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    To further underline my argument, go check their head-to-heads from last season. James outplayed Kobe in every single on. True Shawn’s kiddo Kobe is the better ballhandler.

  • http://nba.com/celtics/ Moose

    this article seemed suspiciously pro-kobe . . .

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Actually you should give rebounding to James, passing to James by a large margin, and unexplainably there was no “scoring” catagory which James than Bryant at (if there is a shooting catagory, why can’t we talk about how well they get to the basket?). Kobe should have beat James hands down in ball-handling.
    I would argue that whlie Bryant is a better one-on-one defender, James is a better shot-blocker and team defender. And for God sakes, why does James get a slight edge on Bryant in terms of passing? I was happy when I saw this, but like… this was a very badly written article.

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    It’s stupid. The way to compare them is not to analyze them skill-wise, but view the GM’s angle:
    Market value, value to the team, how you could compliment him with other players and a few other things (decision making, how can they adjust when stuff go the wrong way, versatility in different game styles etc). Kobe is still better, but very slightly so.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    CORRECTIONS:
    Rebounding: Lebron (what is this savvy crap? Lebron averages more rebounds. It doesn’t matter for position. Your rebounds don’t count for twice as much if you’re a shooting guard)
    Passing: Lebron by a LARGE margin (this article only covered finding the open man, it had absolutely nothing to do with creating passing lanes, something Kobe has NOT done in his career, period. It became painfully obvious in the Celtics game)
    Ball-handling: James (I have not seen more players try to dribble the ball behind their back and lose it than James. Come on, now.)
    I also find it moronic that footwork/ball-handling are separated when they go hand to hand, yet shooting/scoring inside is combined, all different types of defense is combined, etc.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    whatever. I knew it was wrong as soon as I posted it but they are both pretty average teams. Olympics are a poor indicator of a nations soccer skill since it has age/club restrictions applied.

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    And by market value, I mean the way Bogut is more valuable than Luol Deng, because it’s easier to find a SF, even though Luol is the better player.

  • Jweev

    How can you use the position difference for boards and not for passing…Lebron does handle the ball a lot, but not as much as Kobe! Slight edge to Bron in passing…please.

    I guess since Kobe is a guard, he is better than Dwight Howard at rebounding…again, just silly.

    Sesa, I think we found a surefire way to measure…the olympics. Same caliber team around them, in an atmosphere where they actually care and are making an effort, and Lebron is thriving…Kobe is not.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    This was biased as a mother. Slight edge to Bron in passing and on the boards? Really? REALLY? Come on now, let’s get real. Bron is a much better passer because he sees the floor and flow of the game better as a passer. He’s thinking one to two passes ahead and understanding where other players need to receive the ball to be in the best position to succeed. Bryant does not see passing in the same way. He can pass, he can understand what the correct pass is, but he doesn’t see the game as a passer. He sees the game as a scorer. There is a huge difference.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    This was a piss poor “objective” comparison. Of all the articles on the topic this one bothered me the most because it presented itself as some sort of unbiased breakdown when it was really very biased. And like the other posters said, scoring and shooting need to be too separate categories.

  • KA

    pretty good read. I like the bits about kobes clutch rebounding. reminds me of that larry brown comment, about Kobe being the best missed FT rebounder. also about footwork, nobody talks about that aspect of the game anymore. I don’t think its that hard to comprehend. Kobe just has the more complete game at this point…he still sucks tho.

  • B. Long

    David Friedman is a very intelligent human being.

  • http://antwonomous.blogspot.com Anthony Wilson

    I just wanted to comment on Kobe’s defense. I think Kobe’s help defense is the most underrated part of his game. Even if he’s not locked into someone, he’s bringing help (doubling down, sliding over to cover for his teammate) getting steals, making the occasional block, barking out directions to his teammates, etc., and basically just making an impact all over the court. Doc is right: Kobe is the best help defender since Pippen. He’s not AS disruptive as Pippen was, but there hasn’t been a better all-around perimeter defender since Pippen, and I don’t think it’s much of an argument.

  • Justin

    ^Agreed. Kobe is the better player right now. It’s stupid to bring up the Olympics because they aren’t playing in the same roles they would in the NBA.

    The only thing I disagree with is rebounding and passing which LeBron is better at. Ballhandling definitely goes to Kobe. I’ve seen him do some ridiculous things no 6’6″ person should be able to do.

  • Aaron

    This is obviously overly biased towards Kobe. I mean, to analyze footwork and pumpfakes? To balance it out, why not have a category for AND 1′s. Surely LeBron would take that category.

  • Michaelbchnn

    This is by far the best article I Have read on this subject.

  • Bruno

    can’t believe i just read that!
    really i’m gonna copy and save it on my pc, cause that was just beautifull.
    at least 1 person here not just taking stats (read this ryan) to compare players.
    i would include leadership here too, and clutchness, both wins for bryant… but anyway, GREAT, GREAT STUFF.
    congratulations. alex something looks more dumb every time i think what he wrote.

  • Bruno

    “As this Olympics clearly shows their is no equal to Mr. James, no matter Kobe’s better skills in a lot of categories.”

    - i really shouldn’t be reading this kinda comments…

    “Lz – Cphfinest3 says:
    To further underline my argument, go check their head-to-heads from last season. James outplayed Kobe in every single on.”

    - the fu(ki ng 1st line on the article says ITS NOT ABOUTS STATS, but there are people… they are so limited…

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Jesus Bruno, do you have brain damage? He compared ALL the abilites of a player that bring about stats and compared NO intangible, non-statistical abilities.
    Also, James outplaying Kobe is not about stats. Is ‘intelligence’ not your first language?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I really can’t believe that about passing. This is the one area that Lebron totally demolishes Kobe in, I have never seen Kobe create for a player in my life. Lebron does it all the time. This is just shameful.

  • rand33p

    why do people keep bringin up the olympics.. are wade and melo the best in the world then?..is bosh worth more than howard now?

  • Bruno

    and you know what… just to know that i’m in the company of larry legend here… makes me feel good.
    well, actually i’m in the company of anyone that knows anything about bball… i didn’t see michael talking about a 1×1 vs lebronha anyway…

  • http://MSN.COM CWALK

    YEP..ANOTHER CRAZY ARTICLE TRYING TO SAVE KOBES LEGACY. FACE IT, NO MATTER HOW YOU TILT IT..KOBE IS FLAT OUT STRUGGLING IN THE OLYMPICS. LEBRON IS SHOWING BY HIS PLAY THAT HE IS THE BEST ALL-AROUND PLAYER ON THE PLANET. P-E-R-I-O-D!!! KOBE NEEDS HELP FROM RETARDED SPORTS WRITERS TO COME TO HIS AID. LEBRON DOESN’T NEED THAT BECAUSE HIS PLAY HAS SPOKEN AND IS THE FINAL WORD. STEP YA GAME UP KOBE..THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHIN AS LEBRON JAMES PASSES YOU BY AT AGE 23…HOW SAD

  • Bruno

    agreed with rand33p… its so obvious, but people and Jukai don’t think so…
    jukai knows stuff…

    oh man… thats getting boring….
    isn’t eboy here? at least he is better discussing

  • B. Long

    @Jukai:Did you watch Team USA play Greece? Kobe was the best passer in that game by far and was dropping sick dimes to DWade. Your closing in on Eboy for the coveted Hater of the Year Award. hate, hate, hate, hate, etc.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    B, I hate cause I can. Bruno, this piece is extremely biased. Case closed. I think you are way more intelligent than your comments come of to not realize that. The hype thing you have been touting against Lebron is fair, so it’s understood. But let’s be sort of objective if you’re trying to REALLY make fair arguments.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    If we are making comparisons strictly on FIBA play then Scola might be the best forward in the world. Obviously, this piece strictly is limited to NBA rules/competition.

    Regarding Kobe’s passing/decision making, during the LAL-UTAH series, Hubie Brown mentioned that he broke down 48 game three possessions from game three in which Kobe was the primary ballhandler and determined that Kobe made the correct read 45 times. He said that Kobe’s decision making is off the charts good. I give LeBron a slight edge in this area, but Kobe is an underrated playmaker/decision maker.

    If I subjected Shaq in his prime to this kind of analysis then I would weigh his physical dominance as a positive versus his weakness in certain skill areas. In his prime, Shaq’s dominance outweighed his skill set deficiencies. For a similar reason, I consider LeBron to be pretty close to Kobe even though I gave Kobe an edge in the majority of the categories.

    I addressed LeBron’s athletic advantages and his ability to bull his way to the hoop a few times in the article and mentioned those things as mitigating factors that compensate somewhat (but not completely) for LeBron’s inconsistent shooting stroke.

    I separated footwork from ballhandling because I included off the ball cutting, fakes without using a dribble and postup moves in the footwork category. I also included defensive footwork. Ballhandling referred strictly to actually handling the ball–mainly dribbling, since passing is a separate category.

    Head to head games are interesting but in 2007 the Cavs beat the Spurs in the regular season and got swept in the Finals. By the way, in the game I cited in which Kobe beat LeBron to that free throw line o-reb, the Lakers outscored the Cavs by eight when Kobe was in the game and the Cavs were outscored by seven when LeBron was in the game (they played virtually identical minutes). The game turned when Kobe sat out briefly at the end of the third and the early part of the fourth.

    Strength, leaping ability, etc. are all part of athletic ability and I clearly stated that I give LeBron the edge in such areas and that this edge somewhat mitigates Kobe’s advantages in skill set areas.

    Market value and other non skill set factors do not interest me in player evaluation, though there is certainly a place for such considerations.

    If you watch the Lakers and Cavs play, the Lakers run the Triangle and Kobe is often off the ball, while LeBron brings the ball up on almost every possession. That is not a criticism of either player, just an observation.

    Footwork and fakes (not merely pump fakes, but various fakes with and without the ball that enable a player to get open) are extremely important parts of the game.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    David, curious, are you a ballplayer by trade, at some portion of your life? Not an introduction to an insult, just asking.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    I love free speech and the glory of the internet:

    One person says:

    “This is by far the best article I Have read on this subject.”

    Another responds:

    “This is obviously overly biased towards Kobe.”

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Obviously, I meant “48 possessions from game three” not “48 game three possessions from game three.”

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Eboy:

    If “by trade” means playing in the NBA/CBA/NBDL, etc., the answer is “No.” I have played ball virtually my whole life, though.

  • dfrance

    Your playing position should really only affect the number of rebounds you get, not your ability to rebound. Look at JKidd, as a PG he’s been one of the better rebounders in the league, in terms of ability, for years.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I wish “Friendliness” has been one of the areas David broke down.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Then David, I’m surprised at the way you broke the guys down in your piece.

  • Alaska

    Man get off Kobe’s nut sac. All he is, is the best we have compared to Jordan. But that is it; he is a imitation of Jordan. I don’t even compare Lebron to MJ. Lebron is a majic,pippen,domiq

  • Bruno (Lebron Hater)

    eboy, does my nick now makes you happier?

    i can agree, and weel, its pretty obvious how good lebron is, but, i just HATE what i listen/see/read about him…
    you can’t call this guy king, best in the planet and not hear arguments against that
    just can’t. he is way too far from that.

    gotta go, see you guys later.

  • Alaska

    Sorry he is a magic, pippen, oscar, and wilkins all rolled into to one but better. He is something we have never seen before. He is the first of his kind. A Hybrid

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Jason Kidd is obviously an exception and a remarkable one at that.

    My point about Kobe’s rebounding is that his numbers in that area are determined by his position on the court/role on the team. As I noted, when Bynum and Gasol were not playing he averaged more than 10 rpg during a five game stretch. MJ did something similar one time when Rodman was suspended (or hurt) and the Bulls were shorthanded (I’m not saying that Kobe is equal to or better than MJ; I’m just making a point about rebounding and roles and this is a good example to illustrate that point).

    LeBron is a top five rebounder for his position, as is Kobe. When Kobe absolutely, positively had to great that free throw rebound, he beat LeBron to the ball–after telling him before the play that if Bynum missed he was going to do just that (shades of the time when Bird told Xavier McDaniel that he was going to shoot the game winner right in his eye).

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    @David: That’s ridiculous, are you basing the passing nonsense off one game? I guarentee if you look at the six Celtics game, you will find that Kobe, in 48 minutes, is the worst point guard in the entire world. Seriously. Kobe is a GREAT passer, no doubt. When he sees the open man, he can get that guy the shot. That’s why a lot of his passes come in the fast-break, where there’s far fewer players, and Kobe can look around and find the best option. However, Kobe’s court awareness suffers when the offense is stagnant (once the triangle failed in the Celtics game, Kobe looked totally lost with the ball in his hands), and the MASSIVE FACTOR IS THAT KOBE CANNOT CREATE FOR OTHER PLAYERS. He can’t. Don’t say “he doesn’t because he plays off the ball,” that’s crazy, he can’t. Kobe does not bullet-pass often because he can’t see the passing lane. When Kobe drives, he rarely kicks out, he will usually look around and find the man near the basket. When Lebron drives, he purposely drives in an area to pull defenders away, and then gives up the ball to the man he frees up. Lebron will throw the bounce pass or the behind the back pass twice as often as Kobe, NOT because Kobe is incapable of doing it, but because Kobe cannot see. Also, I mean, Lebron has a highest assist number. I think it’s absolutely crazy for you to deny statistics existance but that is not what angered me in the article.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Lang:

    That will be in Part II, along with “works and plays well with others.” :)

  • Bruno (Lebron Hater)

    damn it… now i got moderation for the nick
    :S
    see ya

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    And if you felt it so “critical” to divide ball handling and footwork (which is ridiculous, you glossed over moving around screens which Kobe can’t do, causing constant movement of the defender which Kobe sometimes refuses to do,e tc.), why not divide up defensive catagories? Lebron is a far better shot blocker, why not point that out? Lebron is much better playing the passing lanes than Kobe is, and while that is more cause of their ‘role’ on the team, you had no problem pointing out that Lebron controls the ball more.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Lang, can you fire David before he writes it?

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Jukai:

    I am not basing my analysis of anything on one game; that was an example. If I cited every example that proved my points then my article would be 10,000 words instead of 2000. Do you really think that Kobe was merely a great decision maker in one playoff game against the previous year’s Western Conference Finalists and the rest of his career he has not known how to make good decisions?

    What happened in the Finals, as I detailed in my game recaps, is that Gasol stopped setting his screens and rolling to the hoop with the same aggression that he did in earlier series. There was one play in which Gasol set the screen and rolled late. Kobe threw the ball to where Gasol should have been for a wide open layup but the pass sailed out of bounds. In the boxscore that is a turnover for Kobe, but Gasol immediately tapped his chest as if to say “My fault.” The Lakers killed San Antonio, Utah and Denver with Kobe-Gasol screen/roll plays in which Kobe consistently made the right read, either shooting, driving, passing to Gasol, hitting Odom on the back side or reversing to open three point shooters (depending on what the defense did). Gasol and Odom both played very soft in the Finals. On many possessions, the Lakers ran their screen/roll action and got nothing, leaving Kobe with the ball in his hands as the shot clock ran down. Of course, Boston should also get credit for playing great defense.

    I am not “denying” statistics but rather explaining what is happening in various game sequences.

  • Alaska

    David: Kobe can only play the 2 maybe the 3 if the other team plays small. Lebron can play the 1-4 on any given night and still drop the sames numbers.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Also, making them “even” in rebounding is absurd, you’re once again judging all of this seemingly off ONE game. BTW, during a pre-season game against Sacrementon, Kevin Martin ran up infront of Kobe and grabbed an easy rebound that Kobe could of prevented if he had boxed out instead of just raising his hands. Is Kevin Martin a better rebounder than Kobe Bryant?!?!

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Wow, what’s up with this pick-and-roll offense you keep describing? Yes, Gasol stopped going for the pick-and-roll but that’s cause Garnett absolutely shut him down. It’s inexcusable for a player to suddenly lose ALL OF HIS DECISION MAKING ABILITIES when the pick-and-roll is gone. These were all set-plays done by Phil Jackson that Kobe made the final decision on. This tells me nothing about his actual court awareness. Lebron has NO ONE to set the pick and role for him. Not to mention, Lebron’s team runs the pick and role horribly but Lebron tends to create his ‘own’ pick and rolls by going around a player who doesn’t even know he’s in the play. Saying that the Celtics took away the pick-and-roll and that crushed Bryant’s ability to pass shows poorly on Bryant.

  • Bruno

    david, forget, Jukai will never get it
    very, very good article, btw
    thanks

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    And I’ll throw the pick-and-roll right back at you. While this was clearly evidence in the Celtics game, you also saw a LOT of it in Utah which let Deron Williams go buck wild at times against the Lakers: Kobe CANNOT defend against it. He’s horrible at it. It’s what got Ray Allen hot, because Kobe kept losing him going around the picks. It’s what gave Pierce all those free-throws at the end, cause Kobe would lose him and foul him. This should have been mentioned in your ‘footwork’ section, but of course you did not.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai, did Ryan put you up to this?

  • Alaska

    Individually kobe’s skill set for defense and scoring are better. That is it, the rest is all Lebron ‘s. But at 23, Kobe weather under the shadow of shaq or not was not even close to the progression of lebron. Both came into the leauge at 18. Kobe had magic,glen rice and names go on and on. Lebron had tractor taylor and danny ferry.

  • andrej

    kobe>>>lebron for now lebron will definatley be better in 2 or 3 years

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I’m not just saying you were wrong the Lebron side: Kobe gets the ball-handling bill hands down. If you notice, Kobe likes to dribble in the paint, while Lebron likes to dribble at the top of the key. Which one do you think takes a helluva lot more ball control to do right?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I’m sorry Eboy, I’m just very offended by this article. It’s totally one sided. He cited Hubie Brown, for chrissakes.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Jukai:

    Again, footwork involves offense and defense and mainly refers to things a player does either without the ball or without putting the ball on the floor. I thought that I made this very clear.

    On what basis do you say that LeBron is better at playing passing lanes? Last year, Kobe had 151 steals in 82 games, LeBron had 138 steals in 75 games. The stats don’t tell everything but in this case they fit in with what I have observed, namely that both players play the passing lanes well and get steals (and, just as importantly, they get deflections and they discourage certain passes from even being attempted).

    LeBron is two inches taller and six years younger, so he better have an edge in shotblocking. That said, shot blocking is not a critical component of either player’s game and that is why I did not mention it; I’m not picking my sf or sg based on shotblocking. A scouting report on a post player would of course place greater emphasis on this category.

    Thinking logically and objectively for a moment, consider the possibility that there is a good reason that the league’s head coaches have put Kobe on the All-D First Team six times while LeBron has yet to make the squad. Also, although this is not about FIBA play, keep in mind that Kobe was added to Team USA primarily for his defense and that it has been widely reported (and can be seen visually) that this version of Team USA plays far better defense than the recent squads when Kobe was not on the roster.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    If I did a scouting report on bloggers/writers, Id give the edge to David in the “putting up with self-righteous, contrary windbags” category over damn near anyone. Jukai knows better than anyone. About everything. Lets just shut the site down and hand the keys over to him.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    David, while I can’t give you the “statistic” for this, Kobe makes most of his steals by playing man-to-man defense. He will guard a player one on one and knock it out of his hand. Lebron, on the other hand, gets most of his steals by intercepting passes. I never said Lebron was a better ball-thief, I said he played the passing lanes better, which is half because his role on the team demands him less to be a one-on-one defender, and half because his court awareness is four times better than Kobe’s. Also, tell me, how many AMAZING defensive forwards can you name? Well? About 30-40. Now, how many amazing defensive guards can you name? Three. That’s why Kobe gets put on those All-D first team so many times. You’re all about that rebounding comparison, well get this: guards just don’t play much defense. Raja Bell got it for chrissakes, and you see how great Phoenix is as a defensive juggernut. Finally, it not only offends me that you claim you looked at this from a scouting perspective, but scouts look at EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of basketball. Lebron averaged a block a game last season. For a guy who does so much, this is spectacular. He can jump higher and swat the thing out of the sky. Oh man, if you give me more lip about team roles on this, I’ll just laugh in your face.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I wish David would have included the information in his first comment in the actual article. I wouldn’t have been as aggressive in my earlier comments. I still would have disagreed, but more respectfully.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @Jukai

    Yeah, why would I cite Hubie about anything? He’s just a HoFer, a multiple Coach of the Year award winner and arguably the best NBA analyst on TV. What does he know about basketball :)

    Instead of addressing the specifics of what I am saying, you just keep throwing out things that are irrelevant to the subject. What does D Will have to do with Kobe and LeBron? What does a preseason game have to do with anything? The rebounding example that I cited was Kobe getting an o-reb on the free throw line in a critical, late game situation against a taller, bigger opponent–after telling him that he was going to do just that.

    If you want to compare Kobe’s decision making against Boston with LeBron’s, then look at their shooting percentages and turnover rates for starters. The same thing held true when Kobe played the Spurs: against elite defenses (past two NBA champions) Kobe shot better than LeBron and turned the ball over less frequently. In part, the reason for that is how teams defend each player because of the difference in their shooting abilities, which is why I included that category as opposed to “scoring,” which is too generic: they finished 1-2 in scoring but what matters is what skill sets they can employ to score against elite defenses.

  • Alaska

    What about the fatigue factor. Lebron has to play 42 plus mins a game. He has to grab the rebound ignite the offense, set up the offense, make the assist and score the basket. He also has to guard the best player on the team in the second half. I said this before he so much impact on the game it is hard to place him in a box. you can just break down individual facets of their games and just decided you have to look at the supportability cast and their overall impact on the game.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Hey, sorry I’m not going to give a sarcastic comment and giggle to myself and say nothing else. How’s the widn up their on your pedestal, Myles?

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    And MJ averaged eight rebounds a game for a whole season. Along with eight assists and 32 points. On 50 percent shooting.

  • Alaska

    Blank out that last sentence. typing while at work. Bottom line: You cannot label Lebron because he broke the mold.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Allenp:

    I’m not sure which info you are talking about but some of the info is in the pieces that are linked to in the article.

    I could do a whole article just on the passing/decision making/assists issue (not just about Kobe-LeBron but in general).

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    The best analyst on TV? Jesus christ… I was giving you counter-examples for all the one-time examples you are throwing out. Did you read? Deron Williams, on the pick and roll, destroyed Kobe on defense during the Utah game, and the same thing happened with Ray Allen and picks. Do you get it now? Also, let’s not bring up the game against Boston now. Looking it up, Lebron averaged 6.4 rebounds and 7.6 assists in seven games, while Kobe averaged 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists. I guess that makes Lebron much better than Kobe getting assists and rebounds against “elite opponents”

  • http://MSN.COM CWALK

    Have you noticed..people have to argue for Kobe but not for Lebron?? Lebron doesn’t need any help from any of us, his play speaks volumes. The Lakers haven’t beat the Cavs in two years!! And Lebron shot his “suspect” jumper right in Kobes mug for the game winner the last time they played.

    If Kobe has such a great “skill set”, why is he struggling so much against inferior competition? He SHOULD be thriving but he’s not. He takes bonehead shots and last I checked.. Lebron leads the team in scoring, steals, blocks..2nd in steals and 3rd in rebounds. You watch the games and you can see that the other team FEARS Lebron they don’t fear Kobe because all he is going to do is jack up a jumper..wow. Lebron is running people over and dunking with power. He is playing the passing lanes better than Deion Sanders. He is embarrasing the competition by pinning shots to the glass or jumping so high he catches a JUMP SHOT WITH TWO HANDS!!! GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK…WHO IN THE WORLD DOES STUFF LIKE THAT??? LEBRON JAMES THATS WHO

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Alaska:

    Both players are shouldering a heavy work load in terms of minutes and what their teams ask them to do.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Sorry, I didn’t make that clear. The “D-Will/Ray Allen destroying Kobe on Pick-and-Roles” was referring to the footwork catagory. Which wasn’t mentioned.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai, reel in the stiffness. David’s being cool to rebutt, do the same. Just saying.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    CWALK just made the commenter hall of fame.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    David: But Lebron is shouldering more. Statistically and otherwise. “By an edge.”

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    In addition to continually engaging in the most petty arguments possible with practically every writer on the site, Jukai thinks Hubie Brown isn’t a worthy source of information or an acceptable reference point. But IM the one living on a pedestal. Gotta love it. Have fun David.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Eboy: I guess his ill-acknowledgement about any of this is just getting to me. Sorta got to me when he gave me a boatload of one-time examples then I gave him examples back and he actually asked me what they had to do with anything. I can’t keep this up much anymore cause work is backing up.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    *sarcastic average Myles disagreement comment*

  • Alaska

    David: Yes, they carry a heavy work load. But if Kobe has an off game the lakers can still win. Lebron has a off game the cavs might as well not show even play. You can see a letdown in the quality of play win lebron sits down for two mins. Everything goes through lebron in Cleveland. How can you measure that stat?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Alaska, you can’t.

  • Alaska

    sorry for the typos, typing fast

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Alaska, I got your back boy, I got your back!!!

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    David, why do you keep falling back on statistics to make points, the most recent case being comparing the stats of Kobe and Lebron versus Boston, but then say stats aren’t important in other instances. I think Jukai is making good points (mainly because I agree with them) and I think that you seem to be cherrypicking your criteria instead of sticking with one standard. You used a citation from Hubie Brown that wasn’t as cut and dried as it seemed. Kobe is not a “bad” decision maker, but that doesn’t make him as good a passer as Lebron. Chauncey billups isn’t a “bad” decision maker, but he’s nowhere near the passer of Steve Nash or Jason Kidd. I firmly believe Lebron sees the game differently than Kobe, and because of that is a better passer. Conversely, Kobe is far more skilled as a scorer and sees the game better as such. (Good point on Kobe’s footwork as well. I”ve been saying he has the best footwork outside of Duncan for years.) Lebron has a better balance between passer and scorer than Kobe in my mind.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Jukai:

    We could probably go back and forth about this forever but the gist of what I get from your comments is that Kobe can never do enough to suit you. His decision making against Utah was impeccable, his shooting numbers were off the charts and the Lakers beat the 2007 Western Conf. Finalists but the fact that Kobe did not completely shut down D Will on every single possession “proves” to you that Kobe is a poor defender.

    In the Finals, Kobe at various times guarded Allen, Rondo (as a roamer to disrupt Boston’s other players, which is why Doc Rivers compared Kobe to Pippen) and Pierce. Did Allen lose Kobe once or twice after a well set screen? Yes. Did Allen do most of his damage versus Vujacic and others? Yes. Were the Lakers short on defenders who could adequately guard Allen, Rondo and Pierce, meaning that Kobe had to try his hand with each at various times? Yes.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Hubie Brown is the best tv analyst. Jeff Van Gundy is second. I just noticed that argument. Gotta agree with David on that one. Nobody imparts more knowledge during a basketball game then Hubie.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I hate agreeing with Allen. :)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    David, to your point of Kobe having to guard Ray, Paul and Rondo, shouldn’t the games greatest perimiter D player have no problem making said switches?

  • chap

    well i agree with most of qhat you said and i agree that up to this point bryant is the better player although i am a huge lebron-fan but i don´t agree with your draw in rebounds. in basketball size is always a factor and for that lebron is just the better rebounder. due to brant´s size he ended up as shooting guard and because of that he got an amazing jump shot

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    CWalk:

    I don’t think that either player needs much “help” from anyone.

    Kobe’s team ranks in scoring, assists, steals, rebounds are comparable to LeBron’s, though I’m not sure what that proves.

    Do you honestly believe that other teams/players don’t fear Kobe? I think that both players are feared but for different reasons. LeBron is an athletic freak of nature, while Kobe is a player whose complete skill set makes him very difficult to deal with at both ends of the court.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    And Lebron’s skill set is only getting better.

  • Alaska

    When are people going to realize that the kobe vs. lebron argument is not valid. Kobe game is based off of Jordan’s principals. let’s get something straight, Kobe will never be as good as jordan. but lebron is measured on a different scale. He does not register. He is different. The nike slogan is true ” we are witnesses”.

    I know one thing Jordan would not of let know 24 point lead dissapper in the 4th quater.
    Kobe=imitation

    There is only one Jordan and there is only one Lebron

  • Alaska

    man i suck at typing fast

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Allen:

    I am not “falling back” on statistics to make my points; I am citing numbers in context that illustrate a wider point. Kobe and LeBron’s numbers versus Boston and San Antonio are meaningful because of why they produced those numbers (i.e., shooting percentages and turnovers): elite teams guard Kobe and LeBron differently because Kobe can shoot from the outside and LeBron cannot. This is something that I talked about/predicted before the Lakers/Spurs series. That is why those numbers are meaningful but they are just one piece of the larger picture that I tried to paint in my article.

    I did not say that Kobe is as good a passer as LeBron; I gave LeBron the edge in that category. I simply made the point that Kobe is a better passer and decision maker than a lot of people think and cited Brown’s comments as an example of this. JVG also spoke highly of Kobe’s decision making during the playoffs.

    How can you illustrate/prove your contention about how LeBron and Kobe “see” the game? Their field goal attempts and free throw attempts are similar; they both shoot a lot and ranked 1-2 in scoring. They also both led their teams in assists and had a lot of “hockey assists” to boot. I think that Kobe and LeBron both “see” the game better than just about anyone else in the NBA, other than maybe a couple elite pgs.

  • Anton Chatman

    It is obvious that you’re a “Kobe Fan”. Anybody in their right minds know that you’re bias in this article. The catergory that you did acknowledge LeBron was only a “slight edge” come on Kobe and passing. Then you called it a draw with rebounding because basically LeBron has more size but Kobe more sight let’s be real. Hands down LeBron is a better rebounder and passer, no draws and no slight edges. Kobe is a better all around player including his defense but as I recall Kobe was all defense his first couple of years either but I didn’t read that in your bias article. You didn’t want to mention their players as if playing with Shaq didn’t help him improve his defensive skills quicker it sure didn’t improve his passing at first. There is one thing that everyone fail to mention when we argue who’s better: Kobe or LeBron. LeBron is only 23 compared to Kobe’s 30. So to be comparing LeBron to Kobe as who’s the best player now says a lot about LeBron and I’m not talking about “slightly”.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    David, dispute this fact if possible. Lebron in the last two seasons, faced two of the most hard nosed defensive teams of the last decade in the Pistons in 07 and the Celts this season. The Celts D is supposedly on par with legandarty teams of the past and the Pistons squad has beend doing it for the better part of half a decade. Lebron WILLED his team to beat the Pistons and get to his first Finals all while making their vaunted D seem like an afterthought. This season, he bareley missed (it was a seven game series that was just eeked out by Boston yes?) pushing his way less superior team past a Celtics team that basically made Kobe and his squad seem quite ordinary. If we are talking about TODAY, again TODAY, and where these guys rank inf there was a numerical gauge, anyone that doesn’t look at those two examples and not fall back on previous incarnations of Kobe and his rock solid game aren’t (a being truthful and b) arguing just to be heard.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Eboy:

    I was not suggesting that Kobe had a problem doing this. My point is that Kobe was not “responsible” for all of Allen’s points (i.e., Allen put up a lot of his numbers while Kobe was guarding someone else).

  • http://MSN.COM CWALK

    The Lakers lost by 40 the last game of the finals…that’s just as bad as getting swept because that too says YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!

    I’m sorry guys..I really do like Kobe but he doen’t have his OWN game. He gets compared to MJ BECAUSE HE TRYS TO PLAY JUST LIKE HIM!!! The pump fakes, the fade-aways, the way he walks, talks..he even tried to ruin his marriage just because Jordan did. Lebron has his OWN unique style of play that most of us have not seen all in one player if we are totally honest. His God-given talents mixed with his off-the-charts basketball I.Q. really make it hard to argue against him.

    By the way, we have been arguing this “best player in the world” thing for 2 years now…BACK WHEN LEBRON WAS ONLY 21 YEARS OLD. He is only going to get better..Can we say that about Kobe???

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Pau and Sasha didn’t deserve to be there, that’s for sure.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    No mention of Tracy McGrady anywhere.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Everyone and their mother also remembers that Flip Saunders didnt bother to double team LeBron, who is too quick and strong for any one defender to stay between him and the basket. The Pistons were a great defesive team, but not in that instance. More importantly, as time has shown, theyre not knowing for giving their best effort on the big stage either. And As David has already said LeBron broke records for ineptitude with his field goal percentage in the first three games or so against the Celtics. The same reasons that David has cited in giving the edge to Kobe are the same reasons that most NBA players and coaches cite when discussing the two. Footwork, shooting and defense. If it were conversation about who is the more remarkable physical specimen there is no argument. LeBron is probably the best ever. But there are other aspects of the game to be mastered that Kobe has and Bron has yet to fully develop. When he does, Ill be the first in line to say hes the best. Until then, um, no.

  • Alaska

    David, you did make me think about it. While Kobe is one of the best players in the league. He is still confined to Jordan’s standards. I am not saying that Lebron is better than Jordan. But, no man has ever been asked to do so much with so little and exceed all of are expectations. The have been following Lebron since his AAU days at the tender age of 13. They call this man the “king” the savior of this league. Arguably he is all of that and more. He has his flaws, but he is just in a league of his own. Right now the only person who can stop lebron is lebron. Kobe sure can’t.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Eboy:

    1) What LeBron did against Det in 07 was great but Det is not as good defensively as the Spurs or Boston (two teams that won titles). If you remember, most of LeBron’s points against Det. came by dunking on people because Det. did not keep him out of the lane. What LeBron did against Det. was epic, fantastic, wonderful–but Det did not play the same defense that San Antonio and Boston did.

    2) Cle. forced Boston to seven games largely on the strength of their great defense. In the first four games, LeBron set numerous records for lowest field goal percentage. In game seven, LeBron was fantastic, but there would not have been a game seven without Cle’s great defense leading up to that point. LAL’s defense versus Boston was not good and Gasol and Odom were soft on offense.

    Basically, I am saying that Kobe is slightly better than LeBron because Kobe’s more complete skill set outweighs LeBron’s advantages in power/athletic ability. This is not a simplistic “Kobe is great, LeBron sucks” rant. I’ve got Kobe 1a and LeBron 1b in the NBA right now.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Very disappointed in you, Sports Gal. I thought you’d leave well enough alone.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    PS, Jukai loves sarcasm. Hit him with some.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    I know Jones, D’Evils just get the best of me sometimes.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    PPS, There’s a bunch of freshman girls getting orientated (no, seriously) on the lawn outside my office, and they’re trying their best not to stare at the tattooed construction workers replacing the sidewalk and staring at them. Also, every minute or so, the girls all go “WHOOOOOOOO!” in response to something. Classes start Monday. Holla.
    Alright, back to whatever you people were talking about. Losers.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Failure on David Friedman: Kobe was taken OFF Allen when he could not guard him and put on Rondo. Also, you completely ignored my rebounds/assist point when both Kobe/Lebron played against Boston, but you keep ranting about their points and shooting percentage against Boston. Also, right now you’re arguing with seven people who absolutely disagree with you. And Ryan just showed up.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Alaska:

    You seem to be more interested in comparing Kobe to MJ but that was not the subject of the article. MJ is retired; MJ was better than Kobe.

    Kobe and LeBron are the two best players in the NBA right now; that is why I selected them as the subjects of the article.

  • mookie

    it used to be kobe vs vince, kobe vs tmac, kobe vs dwade… and now kobe vs lebron. I don’t hear talk about those previous guys being the best in the NBA anymore… im just saying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Nov. 1, Myles. Treat it like opening night of the Dark Knight. I expect you to be in line a week early. Sh*t will be EPIC.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I was here at 8:58 a.m., Jukai, you lazy f*ck.
    Sincerely,
    Farmer Jones

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    David, you should have typed the 1a-1b in your piece then, it wuld have saved you a shi*tload of rebuttal time and kept Myles off the ledge. :)

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Jukai:

    Kobe was taken off Allen when various players could not guard Pierce.

    Kobe was later put on Rondo so that he could double team whoever was getting beaten.

    In the article I already explained why straight comparisons of rebounding and assist totals are not meaningful; the shooting percentages and turnovers are directly the result of having an outside shot or not having one.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai, to be fair, David is correct about several of his points. It’s just that anything against Kobe is made to be haterrific. I had the same battles with people when Mike playe……oh , no I didn’t there was never these discussions. FTW!!!!!! :)

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Nov 1. it is then. I refuse to discuss this any further until then. Or Monday.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    @ Eboy:

    First sentence, second to last paragraph of the article:

    “There is not a huge gulf between Bryant and James at this point.”

    Another way of saying 1a, 1b :)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    True, David.

  • mookie

    jordan wasn’t ranked very high in “Friendliness” did he…. im just saying

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    David: I already said that your entire rebounding/assists piece was incredibly flawed and biased, but you can keep using that as a shield to explain why two statistical catagories mean more than the next. Lebron, because he was not shooting well, began getting his teammates involved instead. Kobe, on the other hand, decided to keep forcing shots. The result? Lebron’s Cavs played seven VERY TIGHTLY CONTESTED games and lost game seven without their best spot-up three point shooter. Kobe’s team was absolutely blown out three out of the six games, and the two that the Lakers won were nail biters. Of course, this will never be mentioned in your article.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Eboy: out of curiosity, what parts do you agree with me and what parts do you agree with David?

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Let me sum this up for everyone. Thus far into their careers, Kobe is by far a superior basketball player. However, as of right now, any edge that Kobe may have is a very narrow one, and LeBron appears to be closing it year by year. When LeBron is done, he will most likely go down as better than Kobe. Until he gets there, Kobe at his best is better than LeBron at his best, and, so far, Kobe brings it more often than LeBron. We’ll see what happens this year.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    As much as you type and like to crtique others efforts, it seems like youd have a blog of your own. But then that would mean that someones creating something from scratch is easier than your picking it apart. Of course thats just how it looks from my pedestal.

  • mookie

    Chris Kaman sums it all up: “People are going to hate you no matter what you do. People hate Kobe Bryant, and he’s the best player in the world,”

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Bodie, irrational as usual.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I agree with David’s shooting and defense categories in favor of Kobe. The rest I have fliers out on.

  • Mike Brown

    I love how its a draw for rebounding because James is bigger and taller and plays the 3.

    LBJ gets more rebounds. Period. Advantage LBJ.

    If you’re going to use that rationale for rebounds, you should apply it to every category.

    Same with assists. LBJ has more assists per game, from the small forward position no less.

    Advantage LBJ. Period.

    Next time, take the subjectivity out of the article and stick with the stats. Or, just stop comparing the two. The play on different teams, in different systems, and at different positions. That means they are asked to do different things to help their teams win. Kobe is asked to shoot more. LBJ is asked to facilitate the offense more. That is going to result in a different ‘picture’ statistically for each player.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Oh cool, it’s Myles again!!! The warrior of injustice! It’s cool, but where were you when it was five of us arguing with David instead of one? Hmmm…

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Bodie, still the douche, and thanks for the wife insult the other day.

  • Alaska

    David: I was trying to illustrate a point. If John Stockton was in the nba right now. You would not compare him to Chris Paul. Because they are different CP3 represents the new direction of where the league is headed. He is a different type of guard. Likewise with Kobe and lebron, Kobe is held to the standard of jordan. Lebron does not fit in that mold. Kobe represents the best of the old. Lebron, well we will just have to see what he comes up with next. Kobe best is right now, 5 years from now lebron will just be peaking. Who would you rather have a 5 man team of lebrons or Kobes.
    That is the real answer to you question. I think you know who would win.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    “Shut up! F*ck you! You f*cking d*ck!
    Always nay-saying, everything I create! You piece of sh*t!
    YOU create something…! You f*cking sh*t!
    You f*cking sit in your tower!…
    What’s funny? You f*cking b*tch! F*cking… f*ck you!
    F*ckin’…c*ck *ss!!

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Pretty much.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    That’s from a song called “Inward Singing” by Tenacious D. It’s sort of what Myles said at 3:13 p.m., only using fewer words. And better ones.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Someone has to fill Russ’ void.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    C*ck ass seems like an improper term in light of the Amechi press this week.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I assume Russ recognized the lyric.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    And the sentiment.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Sorry Eboy – Like Kobe in a hotel, I couldn’t help myself.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Eboy: of course Kobe is a better scorer and defender than Lebron, Of course his ball-handling and footwork are better. This is why anyone could argue that he is a better player than Lebron. My actual main point of contention is the assists, which really change everything. It’s Lebron’s superior passing that let’s Bron Bron get away without having an outside shot, which is something David wont stop harping on. It’s Lebron’s ability to see everyone everywhere and be able to get them involved at (most, cause it is Cleveland) any time. Kobe just doesn’t have that great court awareness, but people slack off him on offense because of his outside shot. By suddenly making the bold claim that Kobe is such an incredible decision maker (which is being incredibly disproven in the Olympics, which David has said multiple times is not the NBA so we should ignore it), it takes away something totally unique to Lebron’s game that is alien to Kobe’s game, the sole reason there is an ARGUEMENT for why Lebron is the better player. And 75% of the people who have commented here agree with me. Still, myles has to single out me. S’cool, though, it’s cool.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    David, I’m not commenting on this Kobe/Bron stuff because I think it’s pointless, but I did want to say I enjoy your 20 Second Timeout blog very much. I also appreciate all of the responses you’ve been giving to comments. Good stuff!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I emailed John to ask if this was in fact the site he came across. Response:
    “I am sure it’s been mature, but I don’t read the comments! I want to keep my faith in humanity…”
    Look at me name-dropping again.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Now, now Bodie, no reason to downtalk your boy for sh*ts and giggles. Just keep it salty between us.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    WHOA BODIE… whoa… I…

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Jones – While it seems likely that the age of consent in the backwoods of PA is probably around 14, you might want to explain that these are freshmen in college that are getting you worked up. Or perhaps it was the construction workers that caught your eye – who knows. Also, is “orientated” a word?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai says:

    Of course his ball-handling and footwork are better.

    I don’t think that is a 100% accurate.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Bodie:
    1, I assume all the regulars around here know I work at a university.
    2, According to Microsoft Word spellcheck it is. That’s enough for me!

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Elaborate, Eboy.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    If you join in this discussion Eboy, Myles wont single me out again and then he wont post and everyone will be happy!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Oh, I remembered what I was going to say: I think Chris Paul is better than both of them. Mull it over.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Lest we forget that Lebron is roughly the same size and weight as Karl Malone, who was not ever, never ever a perimiter player. Meaning Brons handle and footwork for what amounts to be a prototype power forward body is off the charts ridiculous.

  • Alaska

    Jukai: I gotta get back to work hold this thing down.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Right, but taking away that, which is irrelevant, who has better footwork and ball-handling?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    You’re wrong Jukai. Myles hates me equally, he’s just focused on you this afternoon. He’ll call me a stupid “loyer” or a “lawry” in a minute or two.

  • mookie

    And over 75% of the players in the nba would agree with David… and some hof’ers (larry bird) would too.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    “That’s what I love about these college girls, man. I get older and they stay the same age.”

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Alaska: Farmer Jones is here, meaning everything I write is susceptible to a snarky comment. And I can’t have that happen to me. I’m viewed too highly here for that.

  • Alaska

    Eboy: Great point, The man is 6″8 260 and has the skill set of a point guard.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    That movie’s on cable a lot. I may have to watch it again soon.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    In my eyes, at their respective positions, they are equal. Kobe with an edge in post footwork and Lebron in ball handling and the ability to get to the rim at will because of it and his strength.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Q: “Right, but taking away that, which is irrelevant, who has better footwork and ball-handling?”
    A: Chris Paul, of course.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Jukai – If Kobe is such a horrible decision, then how the f-ck did he lead the league in assists from the 2-guard spot, with the likes of Kwame and Smush in his starting line-up?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Jones: Chris Paul should have won MVP. There, I said it. I was wrong. Are you happy now?

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Insert maker after decision.

  • Alaska

    Appreciate it
    Last word:
    Kobe is like Clinton
    Lebron is like Obama

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Bodie: You answered your on question. Smush was the point guard. Who the hell else was going to do it? Also, I should specify since sometimes when I’m arguing one side, I downplay the other: Kobe is a FANTASTIC PASSER. When he sees the open man, he can get the ball to that open man, no question. What I argue is that Kobe does not have the court awareness that Lebron has, and when the offense stops, and Kobe’s game isn’t on, he can’t do anything to get his team involved. He can’t see the person who is open for a split second, he can’t create for Sasha if Sasha isn’t opened. Y’know?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Kobe’s drive game is kind of on the “pick and choose” channel for the last year or so, because of his reliance on his jumper. Look at the Olympic games as the most recent example and the Celtics series as the ultimate tell tale sign. Kobe is not really a slasher as he was when he was 23-24. Age shouldn’t be an issue either. He’s only 30. Mike did the same thing in his career, but not until his comeback from the minor leagues.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    ATLiens just came up on iTunes. Two Dope Boys in a Cadillac. We should get them to reshoot the video for this with LeBron and Kobe driving around in an El Dorado. Whoever comes out alive, wins.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Sh-t, JJ Reddick has better footwork than all of them. Lot of good it does him.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Sigh. You two are so persecuted. Once again for the record, I dont know either of you and probably never will, so I certainly dont harbor any genuine hate towards you two more than anyone else. What I do hate is the manner in which people behave as though disproving a SLAM writer or stinging them with one liners is going to earn them some sort of e-props that are worth anything. Contrary to popular belief, I have no problem with dissenting opinions, what I do have a problem with is disrespectful and unnecessary behavior. People provide free content here everyday and it frustrates me to see it turned into some kind of play/proving ground. Its weak. So disagree with whoever you want, as often as you want. But when the whole “Ill laugh in your face” or “You dont know what youre talking about” behavior comes out, then thats when I do. And I dont see why bringing attention to it is my living on a pedestal. David, Im sorry for having to have this convo in your post, but well…yeah.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Bodie: also, raping a women wasn’t a wise decision now was it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai, that’s one thing I do disagree with you on. Kobe is a good passer and does have good court vision. Yes, Bodie is coreect that Kobe was passing to Kwame and Smush for a short time, but to make it seem like Lebron is looking for John Paxson and Craig Hadges is kind of odd.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    And Jones, havent you been listening to that sh*t all day?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Myles is a stupid doody head.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    It’s been longer than that, Eboy. Kobe has been losing a step for about 3-4 years now, and the energy he expended in the first 3 A.S. years (2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007) have certainly taken their toll. I am hoping he has enough left in the tank if and when Bynum gets healthy.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Ya mama.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Myles, my joke was in jest. Don’t take it personally…. well you can for Jukai. :) I also don’t think I said “I’d laugh in your face” or the other one so maybe I should leave you alone now. Sorry.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    It was Aquemi before, doody head. My sh*t is arranged alphabetically by albums, so:
    “Amorica,” Black Crowes
    “Appetite for Destruction,” GNR
    “Aquemini,” Outkast
    “Around the Fur,” Deftones
    “AOI: Mosaic Thump,” De La Soul (Full disclosure: I FF’d thru most of this)
    “ATLiens,” Outkast
    My work day will probably end somewhere in the middle of “Attack & Release” by the Black Keys. Happy Friday.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    @Eboy: when’s the last time you have seen Kobe create for a player?
    @”I think I’ll go eat on the veranda…since you’re obviously already on the cross”

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Is Craig Hadges in Bon Jovi?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Typing that out, I’d forgotten just how awesome my taste in music is.

  • http://www.nbagauntlet.com Harris

    Kobe just has the flashier moves, and may be more skilled in areas that make a highlight reel, but simply does not get the job done as well.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    @Eboy: Disagree with you bud. When I saw the triangle totally fail against the Celtics, I saw Kobe totally unable to pass to anyone who was open. I just don’t think he has that court vision that Lebron has.
    @Myles: “I think I’ll go eat on the veranda…since you’re obviously already on the cross”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I don’t think he’s lost a step Bodie, I think he plays to the jumper way too much and the triple pump fake sh*t that annoys the piss out of me. I seriously doubt he couldn’t get to the rim at will for as long as he wanted to if he chose to but that takes a big toll he doesn’t seem to want to do any longer.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Ben Harper at the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight, Jonesy. You a fan?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Damn, tried to stop the last one I posted in time. It did not work!

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    See?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Also, I would laugh in Myles face. For real.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I saw him once about 10 years ago in some festival lineup, but never felt compelled to buy any of his CDs. If I got stoned, though, I imagine his show would be a good place to do it. Particularly in SB.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Myles would totally punch you. He’s always punching people, I hear.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jukai, no you wouldn’t. Stop sh*t talking. I would laugh in Bodie’s face as I looked in my reflection in his forehead though!!!!! :)

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    And Jones is missing AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Around the World In a Day & At Last. Which is why he doesnt know sh*t about anything.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    We’re even now, Bodie. I do love you.

  • http://www.nbagauntlet.com LeBron

    Check nbagauntlet.com for analysis of the actual things that matter. This article is extremely biased and anecdotal. LeBron dominates all of the stats- PER, assists, blocks, offensive rating, defensive rating. LeBron has much better shot selection. You can’t say Kobe rebounds better but has lower numbers because of his position, and cite one time that he grabbed a rebound. If you use that argument, then James should be applauded for having such high scoring numbers, assists, and free throws for a small forward. LeBron is a much smarter and less selfish player, and does more with lesser teammates. Watching Team USA shows how Kobe does not know how to play with others.

  • cici

    this writer is a douchebag and is obviously a kobe fan when in fact good writer would know to be neutral on a subject like this now i would give kobe the shooting and a “slight edge” on the defense and i say slight because lbj is definitely getting there especially when he chases down a player on the fastbreak and blocks the hell out of his layup nearly every game but you definitely give lebron the assists and rebounds because he’s one of the best passers in the league and has been since he got in the league and he pulls down 7-8 rebounds a game no easy feat when you’re playing with guys like ilgauskas and gooden/wallace and when it comes to ballhandling that is where i would personally give the draw because both of these amazing athletes basically run the team lebron more so because he doesn’t that second scoring threat whereas kobe arguably has 2 in gasol and odom so lebron basically acts as pippen and jordan and still manages to take the cavs deep into the playoffs even going to finals in his 4th year! To me this is an undeniable tie but if i had to pick a player to build my time around, regardless of age, i would go with lebron because the guys a beast with a high basketball i.q. and the intangibles to boot and oh yeah no offense to kobe but isn’t lebron leading team usa vocally and statistically and it seems like their going to win the gold now remember i wrote this article with a neutral state of mind on the subject and mainly because this writer doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about i mean he’s oobviously a kobe fan when in fact a good writer is never supposed to let their personal preferences overtake their work especially on a much debated subject such as this i’m just calling it like i see it.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    The Internet: Breeding tough guys since 1993.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I don’t have all my sh*t on my office iTunes, Sports Gal. I own at least one of those.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Eboy – I’m not sure it would be noticeable unless you watched just about every minute of every Lakers game. Because you are a fan of the Heat, I imagine you turn in to the Lakers games when they are shown nationally, which is still pretty often. But Kobe has lost a step in his speed and in his quickness, his ball handling has regressed (broken pinky?), and he can’t jump like he used to. It’s subtle, but it’s there.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Based on NBA games-played, Bean is probably closer to 33 or 34 in MJ years.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Ryan, I had to put on my jacket cause it’s just too cool with you here

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Sarcasm.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Unfunny sarcasm, but still.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    You’re not tall enough to see yourself in my fivehead reflection, eboy.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I can’t crap out diamonds daily like you can Ryan. You are the man. No question about it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    See, THAT’s sincere. Don’t think I don’t appreciate you noticing, kiddo.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    If we could compare SLAM commentators and writers to basketball players, you would be Michael Jordan, hands down. Russ would be Kobe and Myles would be Lebron. I am but a Bruce Bowen. Eboy would be Keith Van Horn, and I’m pretty sure Bodie is a J-Ho!

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Perhaps in my college years, Jukai.

  • Jeff Smith

    This article stinks more than diarhea. One question. If you were to start a team, who would you pick? LeBron or Kobe?

    If you think Kobe is better than LeBron, then you are nothing more than a fan of chucking. Kobe shoots 3 for 17 and he’ll continue to chuck. LeBron shoots 3 for 9 and he’ll know when to start driving it in for dunks. He is much more aggressive than Kobe will be.

    Oh wait, how come you added categories like “shooting” but you didn’t add “driving” or “aggressiveness”? What about steals? Blocked shots? What about fast break ability?

    I read the first sentence of your article and saw right through you. Get a real job loser.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    How did I miss all of this? Late, as usual. I must say that David types in the longest responses to answer peoples questions. He is way better than me, that is for sure. I would have probably said “f*ck off” or “meh” or anything in Ryan’s 3:17 pm post.
    Happy Friday all!

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    TADOne, you would be Carmello

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I’m not even sure how take that Jukai.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    *how TO take that (obviously, my mind is elsewhere)

  • B. Long

    Jukai, your more of a Damon Jones Bruce Bowen Hybrid if anything.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I pray one day to be on Ryan’s sarcasm level.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    He should write a book or something.

  • http://myspace.com Bryan

    I believe I wrote all this in a comment before. Including that Kobe is better now but Bron will be better later.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Just a few more random points, in no particular order:

    1) Anyone who wants to depend solely on stats like PER, Wages of Wins, etc., has to also accept bizarre judgments such as Rodman was more productive than MJ (Wages of Wins), Leon Powe is better than Paul Pierce (PER), etc. You can’t just say LeBron’s PER is better than Kobe’s without also co-signing on all the other stuff those stats say.

    2) Kobe was the leading playmaker on three championship teams and the leading playmaker on this year’s Finalists. He is a very good passer and a very good decision maker. What happened in the Finals is that Gasol, Odom et. al did not roll to the hoop and do the things that they were supposed to do and did do in earlier series. Much props to Boston for great defense. Kobe’s decision making options are somewhat limited when Gasol sets a weak screen and is scared to go into the paint as the shot clock winds down.

    The Cavs are a much better defensive team than the Lakers. Their defense enabled them to extend the ECF when LeBron could not hit the broadside of a barn and was setting records for lowest field goal percentage. To LeBron’s credit, he played a great seventh game. The power and athleticism he showed in that game is why I have him at 1b :)

    3) Stats are a function of your role on the team. Please consider the Robertson-Marbury example; there are many others. I am interested in what skill set a player has and what he is able to contribute to the team. LeBron is a great rebounder for a sf, Kobe is a great rebounder for a sg.

    The Lakers run an offense in which Kobe’s first pass/correct read is not always an assist making pass; he passes the ball, the recipient reverses it and the next guy has an open shot. To say that Kobe lacks court vision or has poor decision making skills is simply incorrect. No GM, Coach or scout in the league would agree with that assessment.

    4) LeBron’s court vision most assuredly did not let him get away with not having an outside shot when the Cavs played the Spurs and Celtics. Those teams defended LeBron differently than they defended Kobe, which led to the disparity in their fg% and TO numbers. What is relevant is not so much the numbers but the skill set difference. The numbers are a “quick and dirty” way to make the point, rather than publishing a 10,000 word play by play account of those series that would read, in part, “Z sets a screen for LeBron, both defenders sag into the paint, no one is open, LeBron bricks a j (or LeBron tries to thread the needle but the pass is stolen).” With Kobe, it was, “Gasol sets a screen, the defenders trap Kobe hard, Odom’s man rotates to Gasol, Kobe passes to Odom and (a) Odom scores, (b) Odom passes to Gasol if the defense comes back to Odom, (c) Odom reverses the ball to a three point shooter.” The point being that the defense has to trap Kobe hard or die a horrible death (Kobe J, Kobe drive, Kobe pass to single covered Gasol for layup). Of course, when Gasol stands there and is afraid to go into the paint the play kind of breaks down. For the purpose of this discussion, the point is that defenses trap Kobe hard on screen/rolls but they play LeBron soft because he can’t shoot. Can you find a contrary example? Sure, because defenses will not do the same thing every time (and sometimes players don’t do what they are supposed to do). But, in general, this is the case.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    There is a difference between lacking court vision and having the same level of court vision as Lebron. I think I used a comparision of Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd. And I disagree with you on the trapping of Lebron. Most good defensive teams trap Lebron hard on screen and rolls to force him to turn perpinducalar to the rim so that he can’t a good head of steam going to the basket. If you trap him soft, you allow him to come off the screen and be the aggressor. Trying to handle Lebron while he’s moving towards the basket with open space in between the two of you is damn near impossible. Teams play Lebron the same way they play Tony Parker. They try to turn them with a hedge on the screen, and play them soft when they are iso on the wing. The reason being that it’s easier to control outside variables when a player is isoed on the wing. Just my quick thoughts.

  • Germs

    David, been reading your blog for a long time and love your analysis. Your recent stuff about the play of Team USA was especially spot-on (dont need 3pt shooting/more big men, just great D)
    I have to agree with you on this Kobe/LeBron business as well. People get blinded by LeBron’s freakish athletic ability and don’t see the beautiful nuances in Kobe’s game. His game is technically sounds from every angle. People who critique his game don’t fully understand it. There’s a reason all the players and coaches in the NBA agree with you too.

    Keep it up!!

  • Bruno

    i would bet serious money that Jukai and his fellas like Alaska have no more than 17 years old…
    CWalk less than 14 FOR SURE!

    best sentense of the day for me:
    “teams don’t fear Kobe!!!”

    hahahahahaha
    NO, idiot, they fear Ronnie Turiaf!!!!!
    hahahahahahahhaha
    what a toooooooooooooooool.

  • Bruno

    and David… you have a lot of patience man!
    answering all this bulls*&t coming to you…

    anyway, i agree with 100% of your original post and probably 95% of your answers. very good job.
    and well, last, for the one that said Kobe is an imitation and that Lebron’s style is unique…
    well, have to say that man, is unique and UGLY.
    what an ugly jump shot! kobe has so much class and the right beautifull moves, thankfully, he copies MJ, the best of all time…
    Lebronha plays just based on strenght. one of the ugliest jump shots in the league, and a called “point-forward” that shoots freebies like a center.
    sure he is strong, sure he jumps high, but thats VERY different of being the best basketball player in the planet. veeeeery far from that.

  • cici

    the last reply from mr.friedburg just goes to show you that kobe fans most definitely have their ear to the ground and finally realize that lebron is the better player but cannot come to terms with the fact that lebron isn’t michael jordan because he’s too great be labeled the “next so and so” lbj is in his own class while kobe is still struggling to hit that “next jordan” level which would have been solidified had he beaten the celtics but he couldn’t even do that and he has the best team in the west lbj went further against the celtics and he has garbage players surrounding him, why does he do this? because he’s unselfish yet still manages to score 30 that’s the sign of true greatness unfortunately kobe still hasn’t learned that through 12 years in the nba while lebron has been playing like that and if lbj switched places with kobe in the finals the lakers would have swept the celtics.

  • sdeztroya89

    As far as some of the stats go, you say the position affects their outcome, but then I look at Michael Jordan. LeBron James is the only other player other than the Big O and MJ to average at least 30, 7, 7. Kobe’s never done that and he plays the same position MJ played. I know there isn’t another MJ, but that’s just a thought of mine. Kobe is better than LeBron [right now], skillwise, despite the difference in athletic ability (LBJ is way more athletic/stronger than Bryant). But, if/when LeBron develops a more reliable jumpshot and more finesse to his game, this, added along to his physical prowess, will make him one of the best to ever play. I think he is one of the best to ever play, but if that happens, he will go up much higher in the list, above Kobe Bryant.

  • http://antwonomous.blogspot.com Anthony Wilson

    As far as the passing goes, I would have to say that LeBron is better, just because he’s the more willing passer. Kobe is an underrated passer, an excellent passer, he’s always been great at finding big guys around the basket (even with Shaq when he wanted to) and he’s great in transition to. But Kobe is a born scorer – he just is. And generally speaking, he’s either in scoring mode or passing mode – he typically doesn’t do both at the same time, and he’s usually in scoring mode 70% of the time.

    LeBron, on the other hand, is a natural passer. He’s naturally unselfish. That’s just the way he is. That’s why early on, he got criticized (stupid as it was) because he would sometimes pass in situations where people called for him to have a “killer instinct,” as if there’s really any difference between him kicking out to Damon Jones for an open three that wins the game and making the basket himself. LeBron scores 30 a game out of necessity, not because of his personality. I once asked my dad if Magic could have scored 30 a game if he had wanted; he said sure he could have, Magic could’ve done whatever he wanted to do. I think that’s what we’re seeing with LeBron: he’s like Magic, only if Magic had been drafted by the Clippers instead of the Lakers. Only LeBron could probably average 40 a game if he wanted to.

    But my point is is that LeBron is able to balance scoring and passing so easily – throughout the course of a game, he never stops looking for his teammates. Never. That’s what makes him a better passer than Kobe.

    Well, that’s my two cents, anyway. With that and $4.97 (plus tax), you can buy the SLAM Olympic ’08 Special, on newsstands now! Get it today, before it becomes obsolete!

  • http://antwonomous.blogspot.com Anthony Wilson

    In the previous comment, I didn’t mean to put “usually” where I said that Kobe is “usually in scoring mode 70% of the time.” That could be confusing. I just meant that Kobe is in scoring mode 70% of the time, meaning that if he plays 80 games, he probably takes a scoring mentality onto the court 55 times, or somewhere around there.

  • Jahlamb ‘Rocket’ Sinclair

    Lebron is a beast he is bigger than kobe and younger but Kobe has more skills sometimes he does stuff that u can say jordan did not even do (81 points) i think he even got the record for most 3 pointers in a game or was it consecutive i cant remember plus all those 50 and 60 point games Lebron cant keep up with that oh yeah and five appearances in the championship with three titles plus being named to the all defensive team so many times did yall forget and kobe is older and smaller but Lebron is a beast though cant get that twisted.

  • Buddies

    This is pretty dumb. There are a lot more categories as far as scouting reports go. Where is Clutch Factor? Leadership? Athletic Ability? And why even have rebounding as a category if you’re just gonna make it a draw because LeBron is taller? And yes, Kobe is an underrated passer, but he is not as WILLING a passer as LeBron so it’s not really a “slight edge” just because Kobe has the potential to make good passes but doesn’t. Kobe is also a gambling and overrated defender. This article isn’t good.

  • LAX

    lebron is not better den kobe. Lebron cant take over games like kobe does kobe is a better scorer and a better defender and he shud hve won more mvps not nash or dirk Kobe went further den lebron 5 times finals lebron 1 and lebron is much bigger den kobe if lebron didnt hve size he wud not be da same half of his points r due 2 his size kobe is not dat big and gets 50 easily

  • gwapogi007

    LeBron can play all 5 positions while Kobe cannot

  • Jackie Moon

    David Friedman wins.

  • mookie

    I going with the opinion of one of the greatest players. Larry Legend has forgotten more about bball then any of us knows and he says Kobe is better… I’m just saying

  • http://www.lakers.com JAMes

    this is quite delutional, I think Lebron is the best alla round player in the game and everyone is scarred to admit it

  • Bruno

    i’m sorry but i have to share this story with you guys.
    i was listening to a brazilian swimmer interview and the guy asked her about the parties in the village.
    she said, no, we are trying to keep the focus on but some men are always hunting us…
    reporter: who are the worst?
    her: oh, i gotta say the usa basketball team… they are always going to our building, asking to take pictures…
    that guy Kobe bryant, always asking to take pictures and then he holds us lke this (sexy grab her hips)…
    hahaahhahahahahahhaha

    Kobe is DA MAN of the olympics…
    i’m really jealous of him. did you guys see how many games he attended? do you imagine how many of these gorgeous athletes he must have bang&d????
    KOBE… KOBE… KOBE…
    lol

  • Jackie Moon

    Happy Birthday, Kobe!

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    James:

    Why would anyone be “scared to admit” that LeBron is the best player? Do you think I put Kobe 1a and LeBron 1b because I am “scared” to make LeBron 1a? Kobe’s skill set is more complete than LeBron’s and LeBron’s athletic advantages do not yet outweigh that discrepancy. As Kobe declines and/or LeBron improves, this will change but right now Kobe is still on top.

    Also, in response to some who asked why I did not include “leadership” or certain other categories, the answer is that this is an evaluation based on basketball skill sets. Leadership is a much more intangible thing to evaluate than shooting, footwork, etc. Also, leadership is open to different interpretations: when MJ screamed at teammates he was “intense” but when Kobe yells at teammates he is “self centered” or “not friendly.” If I had to compare Kobe and LeBron in this category, I would give high marks to both: LeBron has clearly taken over the leadership role on his team and has set a good example by improving his defense. Kobe led the Lakers through what I called three “different” seasons: with Bynum but without Gasol, without both big men and with Gasol but without Bynum. Despite all of those changes, the Lakers earned the best record in the West and made it to the Finals. The young players on the team look up to Kobe and they have followed his example in the weight room and on the practice court.

  • Skip Brainless

    Lebron has caught and in my opinion passed Kobe as the best player on the planet. As someone stated earlier, if Lebron was on the Lakers they would of won the NBA championship this year. Lebron would of made the other players on the Lakers better and in turn would of given Lebron less attention when he had the basketball. The Olympics have shown who the best player in the world is, Lebron plays the game the way it is suppose to be played. Kobe is still all about Kobe as he keeps shooting those 3′s in the Olympics. Kobe has a hard time playing a team game where Lebron is all about the team.

    And yes FRIEDMAN your aticle was biased, you keep saying Lebron can’t shoot lol, yet you call him the 2nd best player on the planet lol. Well Lebron is 23, getting better ever year, with more athletic ability than anyone who has ever played the game. His shooting ability will get better in time, and guess what, then the comparisons will go from MJ being the best ever to Lebron. He is a freak of nature and the NBA better hope he never gets a supporting cast and a coach around him. How many rings would Lebron have if he had Shaq in his prime and Phil Jackson as his coach ? Kobe has shown just how great he really is, how many championships has Kobe won when he was the best player on the team ? Compare Kobe at the age of 23 to Lebron at the age of 23, who was better. ?

    As of right now I make Lebron 1a and Kobe 1b, but it’s just a matter of time when Lebron is the clearcut number 1, then after that comes the best of all time debate !!!

  • robert

    C kobe dupang, c lebron team player, no need to compare their statistics, simple lang yan, hindi naman tayo tanga. Time will tell, mind you, it’s lebron better than kobe. No hard feelings folks.

  • Bruno

    congratulations David Friedman, and if you’ve watched the gold medal game, you know what i’m talking about.
    greatest player in the planet shown WHY he is the best of them all, Wade probably chasing him…

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Skip:

    My article was not about who was better at age 23 or who will be better five years from now. I have LeBron as 1b despite his shooting woes precisely because of the athletic ability that you mentioned and that I cited in my article.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Also, with a game-high six assists in the gold medal win, perhaps Kobe was saying to those who question his playmaking/decision making skills, “This is how my pass taste.” :)

  • CaliKuch

    To lead off I’m a Cleveland native and Cavaliers fan living in Los Angeles area.

    Kobe is a better shooter and has a mature jump shot. He supposed to have a great jump shot that why he plays the SHOOTING Guard. Hence the primary scorer in the back court. How is Kobe’s shooting affected when he plays lock down D? How is Kobe’s shot affected when opposing teams gear there defense towards that player?
    Looking at the Boston series stats for both Kobe and LeBron each dropped 13% in FG% from the previous series.

    The difference however is that LeBron must face defenses gear towards him EVERY night. Reason: the players that surround James are not serious threats to score or are streak shooters. The only real offensive threat was Big Z, but he is slow and easily taken out of the game leaving the majority of the scoring duties to James. The mentality in the league is that if you shutdown James you beat the Cavs. Why? Because there are no other players on the Cavs that can create there own shot or breakdown a defender. Without James the offense becomes stagnant. Everything must go through James. He brings it up the court and gets the team into the offenses like a point guard, he is the primary scoring in both the front court and back. I say that due to the fact he plays the 1 through 4 positions at any given time in a game.
    The big difference with Kobe is that defenses are geared towards shutting down the other four players. The mentality here Kobe gets his but won’t win because everyone else was shut down.

    Shooting: Slight edge to Kobe (free throw shooting) By position you wouldn’t think to have your power forward to have the best 3pt% and Kobe(a SG) is only 2% better from downtown than James in career stats. As for career FG% its hard to say cuz each gets there fair share of dunks and layups. Also, if you saw James in the Olympic tune-up games and pre-qualifiers you would see what he is capable of when a defense isn’t geared toward him.

    Agree with the rebounding if you rate it by position aspect. That savvy sh*t is not what makes it even.

    Passing: Lebron by far. Kobe has a well defined skill set and is a very good interior passer. However you need to look at what passing is used for. Lebron uses passing as a way to get his teammates involved in the game. Know that the defense is geared towards him, he uses the pass as tool to make the opposition pay for triple teams they send his way. Those assist numbers would be way higher if he had a consistent scorer on the Cavs. If Kobe was such as great passer he would use it more often. There have been countless games where he doesn’t use the pass due to lack of trust in his teammates to get a score. He may be a good passer but when you don’t use it and force a shot how can you say he is a better passer when he won’t use it?

    Defense: Draw
    Kobe better individual defender. Lebron a better weakside defender and better in team oriented defense.
    Ball handling: Draw
    Footwork: Kobe agree with paragraph

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    CaliKuch:

    Who exactly on the Lakers creates offense for other players besides Kobe? Both Kobe and LeBron are relied on to not only scored 30 ppg but also to create shots for their teammates.

    Elite defensive teams (Spurs, Celtics) guard Kobe and LeBron exactly the opposite of the way that you described. When Gasol set a screen for Kobe, the Spurs/Celtics usually trapped Kobe hard to make him give up the ball and then had the other three players rotating to Gasol, Odom, etc. When Z or other set screens for LeBron, the defense went under the screens, conceding the jumper to LeBron and closing off passing lanes.

    Kobe is a significantly better shooter than LeBron; to suggest otherwise is to defy not only shooting percentages but all visual evidence. LeBron hardly made a shot outside the paint in the first four games versus Boston.

    LeBron’s high fg% in FIBA play is the result of a lot of dunks and inside shots. He also had a high fg% in the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament and that did not translate into improved free throw or jump shooting last season, particularly in the playoffs.

    LeBron is a better passer than Kobe but not “by far.” Kobe certainly uses his passing ability to get his teammates involved; his assist totals reflect the reality that in the Lakers’ offense he often makes a pass that leads to a ball reversal and then a score, whereas LeBron operates at the top of the key and makes passes that lead directly to shots. This is a function of how their offenses are set up, not their passing abilities. Did you notice how Kobe’s assist totals went up when a real scorer (Gasol) was added to his team? Kwame and Smush cost Kobe a lot of assist opportunities the past couple years; I’m sure Kobe would have rather passed to a reliable shooter like Z or even a pg like Gibson or Damon Jones, guys who can knock down an open shot.

    Kobe has more offensive help now than LeBron–particularly with the addition of Gasol–but LeBron has better defensive help; the Cavs are a much better defensive team. A lot of people fail to take this into account when comparing their respective “supporting casts.”

    The NBA’s head coaches, who vote for the All-Defensive Teams, disagree completely with your comparison of their defensive abilities. That said, LeBron is rapidly improving here and may very well make the All-D Team this upcoming season.

  • tim

    The fact that James is a better athletes is one other thing that should count for James. It seems the author gives james negative points for being a better athlete. If you can use your first step and quickness to get into a better position and get better shots or passes, and make yourself more effective then you are a better player for it. Kobe with all his moves is a very inefficient player, he has to rely more on his jumpers and 3 point shots to score which makes him a less effective player than James. Plus the triangle offense gives him more room to operate, unlke James who has to go one on five a lot of times because of the cavs offense. Look at the year where Phil Jackson wasnt the coach, Kobe shot just 27 ppg in the low 4os in FG. This article is misleading somewhat, yes, Kobe has some better skills than James, but just because youre a better shooter or something doesnt mean you are a better player. Jason Kapono’s a better shooter than James too but he aint the better player. THat’s just an extreme example but I do hope you get my point. James is by far a more effective player than Kobe is, that’s why he’s better. But the real best player is Dwyane Wade, he has the skills plus the out of this world athletic ability. Lebron comes 2nd then Kobe. Kobe’s way overrated.

  • CaliKuch

    Wow! Very defensive post to mine and didn’t not address anything from my post.
    “Who exactly on the Lakers creates offense for other players besides Kobe?” – The whole offense Lakers have 5 guys averaging near or @ 3apg. the players for the cavs >3 is west near 3 is gibson. BUT wait those assists mostly go to Kobe right?
    Yes, teams will go under the screen conceding the 3pt shot. But teams will have two if not three defenders on him as soon as he was 20ft out as evident during the Boston series. All to suggest otherwise is to defy all visual logic. They want LeBron to give up the because the rest of the team is streaky and unreliable scorers. The defense is geared to shutting down James. If he doesn’t have the ball he can’t score. And yes Boston also threw double teams at Kobe and fought over picks b/c they didn’t want to give him an open shot. But within the triangle offense he would get the ball back in one ball rotation giving him the opportunity to shoot, drive, put it in the post, or hit the cutter. Boston defensive after the initial P&R needed to rotate to account for all players. Boston dared the Cavs to beat them from behind the arc. There only threat was Gibson who missed the last two games plus part of a third. Wally and Delonte had dismal shooting percentages in the postseason with team shooting at 42%. Who needs to account for ben wallace? He couldn’t hit the broadside of a planet.
    “LeBron’s high fg% in FIBA play is the result of a lot of dunks and inside shots. He also had a high fg% in the 2007 FIBA Americas tournament and that did not translate into improved free throw or jump shooting last season, particularly in the playoffs.” – Well you really need to go back and check those FIBA stats. Because if Lebron can dunk from FIBA 3 land then you need to modify that statement slightly. This might be a range thing. 3pt% 2007 – Lebron 23-37(62%) Kobe – 17-37(46%) 3pt% 2008 Beijing Olympics Lebron 13-28 (46%) Kobe 17-53 (32%) I still believe Kobe is a better shooter but using your argument if you go by position slight edge goes to kobe due to the free throw shooting. Yes it didn’t translate but the dimensions and defensive styles are completely different between the two (NBA/FIBA). Yes Kobe does pass to get his players involved but usually receives the ball in the rotation or the first pass on the wing not the initiator of the offense. That is what Fish’s job is. Kobe is an excellent mid-range wing shooter. And honestly i wonder if you watch any cavs games other than those that are nationally televised. With the incredible court vision and ability to find to open man when in a double team. And a pass that leads directly to a score…isn’t that the point. Is it not the goal of a team to score points? And yes i did notice Kobe’s assist total go up. But I’m gonaa use your arguement on poor passing ability ” (he)makes passes that lead directly to shots.” what a f’d reason. lol. And if the Cavs could shoot from the perimeter LBJ assists totals would also be higher. But wait, we can’t use statistics b/c of the marbury effect. However its a good place to start. Big Z is a reliable shooter. Gibson is a spot up and streaky shooter (not consistent). Damon Jones was a Bench warmer with a whole 26 min played in the playoffs. He is not that reliable.

    “The NBA’s head coaches, who vote for the All-Defensive Teams, disagree completely with your comparison of their defensive abilities.”
    Really? so my statement that Kobe was a great individual defender is incorrect? That Lebron knows defensive schemes and accounts for a weakside defender in order to grab the rebound and start the offense or block the shot of someone Z or Gooden is guarding? That Lebron is a knows his assignment within the team philosophy and is good at it.

    Remember I have taken the fact of the position they play on the court as you (DF) have stipulated in the article.
    How can you rate the skills as they are and say that there is not a hugh gulf between them. (3 bryant, 1 slight James, 2 draw).
    Kobe in my mind is the better basketball player overall but not by much and he should be. He is a elected MVP, NBA champion, and now gold medalist. You have stated several times how ppl underestimate Kobe’s abilities. In my assumption you have done the same when rating Lebron. But it is only natural when “He (David Friedman) is one of the most avid Kobe Bryant (and by extension Lakers) fans you will ever meet.” I hope the Lakers don’t have an extended losing streak. I wouldn’t want you to have to shave that mustache for an extended period.

  • tim

    Plus…I dont see why the author keeps discrediting James for the performance he had against the Pistons. Kobe with a cast that included Gary Payton, Karl Malone and Shaq at his peak, lost so bad to the Pistons in 2004. That is just one inescapable fact that Kobe has to live down. I mean, this was a situation that Kobe could have had his MJ moment or show the world how great he is but it was Shaq who performed well averaging if I remember correctly 28 ppg and 12 rpg in that series while sticking a 33 points 20 rebound game against Ben Wallace in Game 5. While Kobe, as great as he was supposed to be got flustered by the Detroit defense and he shot the Lakers out of that series refusing just to set up Shaq, he just kept shooting atrocious fadeways and even fadewaay 3s. He managed 23 ppg and shooting at a 38 FG clip. Dwade nearly got it done the next year pcking apart Detroits defense with a fast declinging Shaq then the next year killing Detroit with a 69% FG clip. I mean if Dwade can do it wh cant Kobe if he’s supposed to be the best? It seems people keep giving excuses to Kobe when he fails, why not just admit that he’s not that good as the media paints him to be.

  • al

    I disagree about it being a draw in rebounding. the Numbers don’t lie James is the better rebounder and passer while Kobe has the advantage in shooting and footwork. I still think James is the better team player and thats no knock on Bryant

  • hokwei

    There are two things people seem to be missing in the rebounding, passing arguments. Because of the difference in positions, Lebron is often closer to the basket, thus he gets more rebounds. There have been several times in his career that Kobe has been moved to small forward for a few games at a time. Each time he managed to put together a string of games with double digit rebounding. As for passing…James often initiates the offense for the Cavs. He is in the point/forward mold. Kobe plays off the ball more than Lebron does. Thus the lower assist totals. Phil Jackson once called Kobe the best playmaker he ever coached. Pretty high praise from the guy who coached the GOAT. My concern about Lebron is this…with his tremendous physical tools he can neglect certain skills. As he gets older (granted, a long time from now) will his skills develop on par with his tools?

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Tim:

    The article is not about who was the better player three years ago when Kobe missed nearly 20 games due to injury and the Lakers went through two coaching changes. The article is about who is the better player now.

    The difference in Kobe and LeBron’s stats the past couple years versus elite defensive teams shows the fallacy in your idea that athleticism trumps shooting ability. LeBron can use his athleticism to score a lot against most teams but he cannot do this nearly as effectively against elite defensive teams.

    I gave LeBron credit for his athleticism, which is why I rank him as the second best player in the NBA and not lower. You may recall that MVP voters this year placed LeBron fourth.

    Let’s wait until Wade plays a full NBA season at a high level before we put him in the Kobe-LeBron discussions.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Al:

    If numbers don’t lie then do you also believe that Marbury is the second best pg ever because only the Big O has more 20 ppg/ 8 apg seasons? Or is it possible that numbers have to be placed in a proper context?

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    CaliKuch:

    I am not “one of the most avid Lakers fans you will ever meet.” That is someone else’s inaccurate description. If you have read my work then you are aware that I have covered many of LeBron’s games in person, including almost all of the home playoff games in his career. You seem to be confusing length of comment with depth of comment. If you will go back and look, all of your questions/statements were addressed in my article and/or in my initial response to you. I would only add that LeBron’s three point prowess in FIBA play has not as yet translated into the ability to make three pointers or even midrange jumpers against elite defenses in the NBA playoffs. Furthermore, I don’t find it that useful to mix FIBA stats into NBA comparisons. If you believe in doing that then Scola is the best forward in the world and Pau Gasol is the best center.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Tim:

    Karl Malone was playing on one leg by the end of the 2004 playoffs and Payton could not guard anybody by that stage of his career. Payton was also ill suited to the Triangle Offense. By the time the Finals rolled around, the Laker vets from the championship teams were begging Phil Jackson to bench Payton because Payton was so ineffective. Also, as Chauncey Billups noted in a recent ESPN The Magazine article, Detroit’s game plan in the 2004 Finals was to attack Shaq on the pick and roll; the Pistons considered Shaq’s defense to be the Lakers’ main weakness. As for the 2006 Finals, Dallas decided to double team Shaq and force Wade to beat them. To Wade’s credit, he did just that, playing very well, particularly in the final four games. However, D Wade was missing in action this year, so he cannot figure into a discussion of the best players in the league right now; that would be Kobe and LeBron. Maybe by this time next year the discussion will have to include Wade again.

  • Wak3.Up

    face it everyone, Friedmans a biased POS. Think about it, he makes claims that Kobes teams were just as poor as lebrons teams yet kobe still makes championships. Malone on the verge of retirement? an old Payton? Shaq Defensive weakness? F*** YOU FRIEDMAN WHY DONT YOU MENTION THAT LEBRON HAS HAD THE WEAKEST SUPPORTING CAST IN THE NBA FOR 5 YEARS BUT MAKES THEM LOOK SO GOOD. NOPE U HAVENT SAID ANYTHING BUT MAKE EXCUSES FOR KOBE EVERYTIME SOMEONE ON THIS FORUM QUESTIONS YOU. THIS ARTICLE IS TRASH AND SO IS THE WRITER EVERYONE SHOULD JUST STOP RESPONDING HES NOT WORTH IT.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    Yeah, I’m so biased against LeBron that during the 2007 NBA Finals I wrote an article for NBCSports.com titled “The Accelerated Growth Curve of LeBron James” which began with these words: “LeBron James is on a fast track to greatness that is unparalleled in NBA history. He has led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals at just 22 years of age, four years after he entered the NBA straight out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. There have been younger players who led teams to the Finals and there have been players who led their teams to the Finals prior to their fourth season–but no one who is this young and who has only played four seasons has taken a team to the Finals without playing alongside at least one future Hall of Famer.”

    I’m so biased against LeBron that I rank him as the second best player in the NBA even though he finished fourth in the official MVP voting.

    I’m so biased against LeBron that prior to last season I predicted that he would lead the Cavs to a deep playoff run when several prominent NBA analysts were saying that the Cavs would miss the playoffs altogether.

    Yeah, you sure have me pegged.

    The funny thing is, LeBron is biased against LeBron, too, because LeBron has consistently said that Kobe is the best player in the NBA.

  • http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ David Friedman

    I was going through some old 20 Second Timeout posts while researching a post about Julius Erving and I found this interesting quote from Jeff Van Gundy about Kobe Bryant: “(He) is as good a passer off the dribble as there is in the NBA.” Kobe’s abilities as a passer are very underrated by the casual fan but they are appreciated by informed, unbiased NBA observers.

  • Robert

    I can’t believe Jukai keeps saying that Kobe cannot create for his teammates and keeps on citing the Finals as evidence. Are people really that arrogant that they refuse to give the Celtics credit for the defense they played and always cite the reason Kobe didn’t played. And Jukaiwell that’s why the Lakers lost. And Jukai not making enough bullet passes doesn’t make you less of a playmaker.

  • Robert

    Look I love Slam but most guys here just kisses Lebron’s rear too much. I know he’s your boy but I hope most of you here should put some perspective first since you guys help shape up the image of fans.

  • Robert

    Hey wak3.up, and to everybody here. When will you guys wak3 up that basketball is a team game. Kobe, Jordan, and Lebron are being treated like NFL quarterbacks especially with Kobe. When he loses he is always blamed and deemed less even when he wins casual and biased fans refused to give him credit for all his accomplishments while with Jordan and Lebron its always about love. If Lebron was palying in the west could he have carried his team all the way in finals in 07? Did lebron scored all the points for his team in that season and the playoffs. Did his teammates didn’ contribute anything. Last time I checked last season if the Cavs were in the West they wouldn’t have made the playoffs and how come he never got blamed the way Kobe did when they got swept by Spurs? Why odes no one gives credit to Kobe who took a laker team composed of Kwame Brown, Luke Walton, and Smush Parker to the playoffs for two straight years in a wild crazy western conference?

  • Robert

    A example of what a hate on kobe can do to a guy is tim. Seriously tim? Shaq averaging 28 ppg and 12 rpg in the finals against detroit? He only averaged 26.6 ppg and 10.8 rpg in that series. Next time make sure your stats are researched not just on assumption. I give credit to Wade carrying his team against Detroit. But why hasn’t he been healthy and prove that without Shaq he can carry his team without him? Why did he took off on his team last season even though he could still play? Why did he let his team’s record last season be the worst in the NBA and on top of that he is in the weak eastern conference? Did this questions formulate in you mind at all before you assume that Wade is better than Kobe?

  • Robert

    Charles Barkley and Chris Mullin produce more than Jordan in the 92 Barcelona Olympics. Jordan was only the 4th leading scorer in the team so just because Lebron and Wade scored or played better than Kobe in the olympics means they are better than Kobe already? So is Barkley and Mullin are better than Jordan because they averaged more points and probably played better?

  • lebronfan

    i love watching lebron play but sometimes it pisses me off he does his same old drive every time.it works but against good defenses thats not going to cut it. his mid range is quite pathetic and i swear when he is like 32 or 33 he will be a slightly above average player due to the fact he relies on pure speed and athletism. kobe bryant in the beginning of his career was a highflyer then he developed a shot. at age 24 he used speed and athletism with a good shot.but as he aged into his later twenties he is still super athletic but no were near lebron he has a shooting game aswell as amazing footwork and postup game to rely on when he is in his later thirties.heck kobe can probalbly make another ten all star games due to his amazing repetoire.it all depends on whether he stays healthy.u remember when jordan returned he was like 39,40 and he still owned due to his amazing skill set which is almost exactley like kobe bryants. this is why people compare kobe to jordan so much. kobe bryant still has 5 years of dominence left and maybe 3 extra all star years after that.this is one thing lebron will never achieve.lebrons work ethic is good but when kobe was training he had the craziest work ethic. what seperates kobe and lebron is kobe is clutcher because he can shoot and create a shot in so many different ways i bet i cant count. people who say lebron has so much upside he only has a little left in the tank after he is 32.i hope u get my point guys.

  • KG

    and if u tally up everything . . kobe is better than lebron :}

  • KG

    wait wooww ! what about dwayne wade ? ? ? he has the talent of kobe n lebron mixed into one but very under rated in the nba. can we get on to the next rising stars of the nba ?

  • hank

    Lebron is going to be scary when he reaches his prime in the next few years and Kobe seems to be declining with all the miles he has on his legs.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2905114/kobe_vs_jordan_using_statistics_to.html?cat=14

  • Receptor

    What’s with all the Kobe haters out here. You can tell when every argument they have extremely biased. Jukai, I like your argument, but the way you present them is very immature. You’ve made your points, but fail to see David’s points.

    I don’t think you can compare these two players because they play a different position. I can see more of a kobe vs. Mj argument. How about comparing Bird to Lebron.

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