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Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 12:58 pm  |  128 responses

Decade’s Best: Offensive Player

The Hugh Hefner of this sh*t…

by Myles Brown/@mdotbrown

2002-03: Scored 40+ points in 9 consecutive games and averaged 40.6 PPG in February.

2005-06: Scored 62 points in 3 quarters against Dallas, the only time in the shot clock era one player has outscored an entire team.

Scored 81 points versus Toronto, the non-Wilt record for a single game.

Scored 45 + points in four consecutive games, the first occurrence since 1964. Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor are the only other players to do so.

Averaged 43.4 PPG in January, the eighth highest total in league history and the non-Wilt record.

2006-07: 4 consecutive-and ten total-50+ point games, both non-Wilt records.

2008-09: Scored 61 points in Madison Square Garden on 61 percent shooting, highest total in the stadium’s history.

Honestly, are there even any other candidates?

Shaquille O’Neal as we knew him faded away in 2005 and Steve Nash as we know him didn’t arrive until then. Unfortunately LeBron James was drafted four years too late for this discussion and Allen Iverson…well, don’t get me started on Allen Iverson.

Kobe Bryant became the greatest offensive player of this decade by mastering the fundamentals and principles of basketball. The aesthetic appeal of his scoring is not in its flash and flare, but in its sheer brilliance. While his remarkable athleticism was an advantage, it was also merely the complement to a completely sound game honed through a tireless work ethic. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to estimate that practically every shot of his that leaves your mouth agape is one he’s taken more than a thousand times. He can score from anywhere on the floor under any circumstances and is a criminally underrated distributor. Best offensive player of the decade? Psssh. The question should be whether he’s the best offensive player ever.

And to think that it all began like this…

While the mention of Michael Jordan’s mantra, ‘I can’t accept not trying’ has certainly become cliched, it was was apt nonetheless. Both in this situation and almost any other regarding Kobe’s scoring mentality. Shaq acknowledged that the 18 year old Bryant was the only Laker with the ‘guts to take those shots’ on that fateful evening in Utah and it is worth noting that such failures have crippled the confidence of countless others.

But to some, despite his growth, this was an early indication of his Achilles heel . To some, despite proving himself to be an uncontainable offensive force, Kobe Bryant limited himself with his uncontainable ego. Much was made of his indomitable will, but that will is also what drove him into triple teams and turnovers. To some, his need for personal glory superseded what was required for team success.

However the fact of the matter is that he is capable of things most cannot even imagine, much less accomplish. Can you blame him for trusting himself more than his teammates? Well, in some instances, yes. His shameless performance in the 2004 NBA Finals cost the Lakers a ring and the ensuing fallout has been well documented. His epic scoring binges while seemingly necessary, were not always conducive to the development of his teammates. Instead of empowering them, his greatness was a repellent. Whether he-and Phil-were right or not, his play clearly stated that no one else was worth sharing the ball with.

Now that the burden has been lightened and he’s back to his winning ways, these arguments may not be as prevalent, but the divide remains. For every fan who incredulously exclaims ‘How did he make that?’ there is a critic wondering ‘Why didn’t he pass it?’. Of course a host of other issues have contributed to his likability-or lack thereof-that influence our perception of his decision making, but ultimately the only thing that matters is that we all watch.

Because like it or not, when it comes to putting the ball in the basket, no one has been better than Kobe Bryant.

Ever.

***

For more Decade Awards, check out the archive.

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  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    That last “Ever.” is gonna generate a TON of comments on this post all by itself.

  • http://myspace.com/rsaenz24 RoG23

    Obvious choice. I would probably say ai 2nd. But not even close. Kobe stayed healthy and consitent on the offensive end. Ais last couple seasons ended this discussion

  • BeeBopLIVE

    I agree totally no1 is better offensively than kobe bean bryant

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The debate is whether versatility outweighs effectiveness.
    I think there can be NO debate the Kobe is the most versatile scorer in the history of th NBA. That’s just obvious.
    But, is he the most effective?
    Is he really more effective than Wilt or Kareem? Hell, I wonder if he’s more effective than Shaq.
    I don’t think so. Those players were more unstoppable, they caused greater shifts in defensive schemes, and ultimately, they had a larger impact on the games of their teammates by their presence.
    In my opinion.
    Kobe was more complete on offense than the three guys I names, but that doesn’t make him a better offensive player for his era.

  • Captain Jean Luc-Picard

    of course its Kobe…smh

  • Justin

    “2005-06: Scored 62 points in 3 quarters against Dallas, the only time in the shot clock era one player has outscored an entire team.”

    That’s absurd. lol

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

    That was what I was getting at re: versatility v. effectiveness. Shaq and Wilt were monsters, but they couldn’t make their free throws and thus weren’t as much of an option in the latter stages of a game. And like every other center, they were chained to the basket and entirely dependent on teammates to get them the ball. They didnt create for others as well either. Id rather have a player with greater range, an ability to create for himself and others, and all the other things that go along with choosing a player like Jordan or Kobe over a Wilt or Shaq. in those respects, versatility trumps effectiveness.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I can’t disagree. Kobe has been one of the most prolific scorers of this decade. But keep in mind Kobe’s first 2 seasons he didn’t get much shine. Averaging around 8 ppg and 15 ppg. If Lebron continue’s being Lebron, he may very well surpass Kobe in the future. As people have said over and over, Kobe is now, Lebron is the future.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    And if you’re talking about versatility well, it doesn’t get more versatile than Lebron.

  • d.j.

    lebron is better than kobe now, was better last year and the year before, and will surpass kobe in every stat line by the time he finishes his career, so yall can start hating on that now….

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    You know what’s crazy about Kobe’s passing? If you put together a list of the top 10 plays in Kobe’s career ever, 2 at least would have to be passes. The lob he threw to Shaq in Game 7 against the Blazers and the spinning over the shoulder pass he threw to Gasol last year in game 5. I’m not sure anyone else could’ve made that pass.

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    Can someone help me out here? I can’t detect whether d.j. was being serious or what? Anyway, nice article

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I agree.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Myles
    I agree with you on Shaq and Wilt as far as free throws, although I noticed you left out Kareem, who is neck and neck with Wilt as the best scorer in league history.
    However, I disagre with you about whether Wilt and Shaq created for teammates. Shaq regularly averaged just as man assists or close to as many assists as Kobe when he was in his prime. Right abut 4 to 5 a game. Plus, Shaq made the careers of players like Rick Fox, Dennis Scott and, even, Derek Fisher. He created open looks for them. He allowed them to shine in ways that Kobe was never able to duplicate.
    For his part, Wilt once led the league in assists at better than 8 a game, and he still grabbed 20 boards and had a pretty nice scorin average. Plus, while Wilt has a rep as a ball hog who never made players better, I think that’s false. Clearly he made the game easier for other players.
    Kareem did all of these things as well. No, none of this big guys were the facillitators who ran the offense like Kobe once did in LA, but they created opportunites by the way they played in the post. They opened up space, opened up shots and ultimately made things. It’s still a big man’s game. If you have a dominant big man, you have something special.

  • http://www.runninglikwidworks.com Mr. RLW

    360vue, I don’t know the man (dj), but I will step up and say, I think he was definitely serious.

    This was a very good article, because it’s good to be able to read over a list of offensive accomplishments like this all in one place. No disrespect at all, but like another poster said, this was a no-brainer. NO ONE comes close. I look at Kobe, the same way I looked at MJ. I was not a fan of either, but I respected them for the ultimate greatness they both possess. As usual, someone found a way to slide Lebron into a Kobe discussion. Those two are completely different players. They are both other-worldly offensive players. But in my personal opinion, Lebron is a threat, because his game is built around scoring and getting his teammates involved. Like he almost HAS to have them both, because of the way his offensive game is structured (his mindset). Where Kobe is simply an assassin. And getting his teammates involved is something that comes off of his offensive prowess. And co-sign on the ultimate versatility in Kobe’s offensive game.

    Kobe = a violent scorer
    Lebron = a willing scorer

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Greater range is nice. It really is.
    But, I don’t think that made Kobe or Jordan more effective than Wilt, Kareem or Shaq.
    Jordan gets the nod over those three players because he was the undisputed man on six teams that won championships. Since people use championships to determine greatness, Jordan gets the nod, although I would argue that Kareem’s rings and Wilt’s ring were just as impressive even if their weren’t as many of them.
    Centers are more dependent on other players to get them touches, but they also are better at making things easier for other players than a dominant swingman, in my opinion. The kind of shift needed to deal with a big man who can score effectively close to the basket from a variety of angles puts way more pressure on a defense. I think Kobe and Jordan’s decisions to get in the post later in their careers are proof that they realize that it’s much easier to effectively put pressure on a defense when you start from closer in. The more pressure you put on a defense, the more effective you will be.
    I don’t think Kobe or Jordan were more effective scorers than Wilt or Kareem. They may have been more effective than Shaq, particularly Jordan, but even that is debatable.

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

    I hear you. I didnt want to discredit their capabilities as passers/creators, but there is a distinct difference between the inside/out passing of a big man and the distribution of a guard, i.e. bringing the ball up, drive & kick, etc. And I left out Cap cause Im not sure what kind of FT shooter he was.

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

    I made a point to notate the “non-Wilt records”, because he was simply in a league of his own. Not that he was that much more talented than todays players, he just was ahead of his time. It was almost unfair and I think thats the source of the ill will he’s received. But had he played today, he wouldnt average 50 points or whatever ludicrous number he tossed out there. He be about as effective as Shaq. More talented, but about as effective. 30 & 12-15 I’d say. And not to avoid Cap, but I honestly dont know much about his younger self and it wouldnt be right to base my opinions on him from what ive seen past his prime.

  • tavoris

    I don’t think anyone can legitimately question this one.

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    Where’s some relativity when comparing Wilt, Kareem, Kobe etc??!? For a start Wilt is regarded as the single most dominant player ever, 7’2 and he weighed between 250-300 pounds through his career, that’s unstoppable on a football field let alone the court. Kareem, 7’2 220+ lbs, came into the L when Russell had retired, Wilt was aged to heck. For both of them, the L was their oyster with almost no-one, if anyone, to even be able to even slightly challenge them for the majority of their seasons. Kobe is a barely over average sized guard in an era where the talent stack is as deep and stronger as it has ever been, and on average the physical development of the players has increased immeasurably too.

  • marvin

    Yeah, outscoring a whole team in 3 quarters? Bar none the best offensive player of this decade and generation if he picks up a few more chips! Drink the haterade fools!

  • jumpman3224

    Great article! I love the line about how he is a “criminally underrated distributor.” Kobe is a creative and gifted passer and it seems like forever Kobe has been dissed for not getting his teammates involved and panned for having lower APG averages than some other stars. The system that he plays in dictates that no one player is going to set the world on fire by racking up assists, the triangle has always been that way. He constantly leads his team in that category. Granted at some times he wasn’t the most willing passer, but as you said can you blame him for trusting himself more than his teammates?

  • marvin

    360vue makes a good point, not taking away from past all-time greats but this generation is stacked with talent, athleticism and physical ability. Current technology and knowledge has offered these athletes developments in physical ability and athleticism that 10 years ago would have been unimaginable. Add to the fact that players are building from the lessons that past greats have left behind on how to play the game and Kobe still dominates everyone on the offensive end? Even when defenses are built around to stop the guy? Discussion is over folks.

  • Jake

    That LeBron comment made me throw up in my mouth a little.People think Kobe is egotistical?Look at Mr.James.I would dare say he only passes the ball so much so that people won’t talk badly about him.If he knew no one else was watching I bet he’d chuck up at least 35-40 shots a game.

  • DJ

    I agree with the whole article, except this one sentence: “His shameless performance in the 2004 NBA Finals cost the Lakers a ring and the ensuing fallout has been well documented.” This is just bullshit. Karl Malone’s injury, Gary Payton’s ineffectiveness, and Shaq’s laziness all contributed as well. When Rasheed Wallace got hot, who guarded him? Slava Medvedenko, that’s who. If Malone had been there, not only would Rasheed Wallace have had some competition at the PF spot, but also Kobe would have had a reliable teammate to pass to. Gary Payton inexplicably lost his game during those playoffs, and so Kobe also had little help in the backcourt. Derek Fisher had a nightmarish season, during which he had shot 35% from the floor, Devean George was Devean George, and Rick Fox was way over the hill. In addition, Shaq must also bear part of the blame for the Lakers’ collapse. While Kobe was undeniably selfish and immature at many points in the Finals, and throughout his career, he always gave his greatest effort, in practice and in the games. Moreover, he played defense. On the other hand, Shaq was out of shape, and reluctant to rebound or defend; this chronic indolence on Shaq’s part was evidenced by the fact that Ben Wallace, formidable though he was, absolutely obliterated Shaq on defense, and on the boards (for example, the fifth game of that disastrous serious saw Wallace grab 22 rebounds to Shaq’s 10). Kobe Bryant, brash hothead that he was, was nevertheless utterly devoted to winning, and he could not stand the fact that O’neal never gave 100%, and so he took it upon himself, perhaps foolishly, to win the game himself, because it killed him that Shaq had such a poor work ethic, while Kobe gave everything he had. Thus, Kobe Bryant was not the only one to blame in the Lakers’ 2004 Finals debacle. Moreover, as the greatest offensive player of the decade, Kobe Bryant will always face the critics who cannot comprehend his greatness and drive, and when his career is over, he’ll have tens of thousands of points and a half-dozen rings for them to hate, as well.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Todd Spehr

    Ever? Myles is entitled to his opinion. He may not be right, but he’s entitled to it. Short list of non-centers who not only scored “more” but also shot better AND played against defenses that used their hands: MJ, West, Gervin.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Myles
    Check out Oscar Robertson autobiography for some info on Kareem. Also check out some of his stats, particularly in the playoffs with the Bucks.
    He was a beast. I’ve read a couple of other random books with players who played with him discussing his scoring, and it was like he picked up right where Wilt left off, and he was battling with Wilt and Russell in the twillight of their careers.
    Honestly, I think Kareem is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. And I think that is connected to his conversion to Islam, and his suspicion of the media.

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

    I did read about 3/4ths of The Big O and gleaned some info on Kareem, but I still don’t that I know as much as I do about his contemporaries. And as far as that short list of non centers who scored “more”, Jordan is obviously the standard bearer, but if you honestly think that George Gervin and Jerry West were more complete/versatile scorers than Kobe Bryant, then I haev to wonder what you’re basing that on. Or more appropriately, what exactly are you freebasing?

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

    No qualms with this. AI was the only legit contender for Kobe and he wasn’t really challenging.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The people who talk about all the talent now, don’t really understand that at one point in history there were like six or eight teams in the entire NBA!
    Do you realize the talent concentration that results from having eight teams compared to 32 teams? Do you understand how different life was before the salary cap? Sure, players today are better physically, but back in the day, that talent was much more concentrated. Only the best of the best made it once you controlled for racism.
    However, those folks who said that Kareem didn’t battle anyone need to get on their basketball history. Kareem was going through a lot of talented centers even if he wasn’t battling Wilt and Russell.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    for a laker “fan” such as you myles, id expect you to realize jerry west is up there with any all time scorers. he could score from anywhere on anyone. and that was when they were allowed to play defense. unlike the past four years or so.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    and if wilt played in the nba today, hed avg 45 and 20.

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

    ….

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

    “Any time you start talking about who the best is, you’re always going to have controversy. But Kobe is upper, upper echelon. I’m not talking about the top 10 [of all time]. This franchise has had a lot of good players. Absolutely the greatest leader I’ve ever seen would be Magic Johnson, and he was also the greatest teammate, but as far as skill Kobe is No. 1 on the list.

    “When you’re that great, sometimes people don’t want to give you the credit. But when Kobe walks away from this game, he’s going to leave huge footprints, just as Michael Jordan did.

    “This is a once-every-25-years player. Appreciate him while he’s here.”

    Surely a smug (insert explitive here) such as yourself realizes that I said Kobe could be considered the best scorer ever because of his skills and West made reference to those same skills in calling him the most skilled Laker ever. Including himself.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah, have y’all forgotten that Jerry West really didn’t like to go left?
    Just saying. He corrected the problem eventually, but it was a problem early in his career.

  • ab_40

    well we got this dude called kareem who is number one in points scored EVER we got Wilt who got the best ppg in a season with over FIFTY and we’ve got wilt and MJ tied at 30.1 ppg over their entire career for no. 1 all time. is kobe on of the most versitale ever… yes. greatest? I don’t know I have not seen all the offensive greatness over the last 50 years worldwide but what he is is a great fundamentaly sound scorer. but greatest ever. I’m ready to say no

  • Hoodsnake

    Interesting. This article\blog just proves what Ray A said last week: basketball is a team sport

  • Dre JayAre

    Can’t disagree with one, while cases can be made for Mike, Wilt, Kareem, Iverson and LeBron for best ever. All of them aren’t limited beyond 20 feet. Where Kobe is just as effective inside that range, none of those players are as good as he is outside of 20 feet. That’s where he sets himself apart from everyone else. Equal parts ability to get to the rim, mid-range game and 3-point shooting. Can’t find another player like that.

  • john jackson

    Kobe the best scorer ever?, really?, could kobe put op those numbers in the 90′s?
    Against the rules mj played?, i sincerely doubt it.
    Off this decade i think he is the best scorer but most off al he was the most consistent scorer.
    Lebron and d-wade came to late, Iverson lasted only a couple years and same goes for shaq.
    Was he more skilled than mj?, probably yes.
    But unlike mj he wasn’t unstoppable, see 2008 finals against boston and 2004 final against the pistons.
    In his prime mj was unstoppable, the question was never can mj score at will? but rather can the bulls keep up with the opponent.
    And the other thing what made a HUGE difference, field goal percentage.
    Kobe never shot 50% for the season, mj did it like 5 times.
    Kobe the most skilled scorer ever?, for now yes(in the future probably Lebron)But the best? NO WAY.

  • Bomberharris

    Why does everyone bang on and on about Wilt and bloody Bill all the time? They played in an era of shorter, less physically powerful, slower players. Of course they dominated, they were massive blokes. Versus today’s breed of athlete, freakish seven foot bigs that can do everything including shoot the three, they would only be a footnote along with the rest. Do you think the celtic Defence from the 60s could cope with Lebron, or MJ or whoever, an Amare a KG, kobe? Half the players today could jump over most of the players from the 60s. So just forget about it.

  • Bomberharris

    Oh, and you think Kobe, MJ or whoever would struggle to score 100 in the 60s? I’d fancy eric snow to score 50.

  • Yassi

    scratch the (totally unnecessary) “Ever”.
    Put a “now”.
    And then lets talk like we´re grown ups…

    before that hasnt happen it only brings me a very lame smile

  • Jack

    I’m sure, although he’s not yet in his prime, Melo is going to have something to say about this.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    The onli guy that comes close is AI but that aint even close cas Iverson was scoring more off of god given ability and athleticism unlike Kobe who could score in every possible way. Best offensive player ever.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Todd Spehr

    If MJ is the “standard bearer” then that would presumably make him the best. Hmmm… also, what am I basing the West-Gervin-Kobe argument on? The evidence we have. That’s all. We’re talking offensive player, right? Sure, Kobe’s capabilities are, or were, enhanced by three important factors: 1) His dad played pro, and Kobe was around that life daily; 2) Kobe played in the lifting weights era; and 3) He’s more athletic. The other two were missing those three variables. It would be easy to presume Kobe’s just better, but we should judge them relatively – or based on era, resources, rules, opponents, stats, etc. Then, you could make a case that Kobe was the least efficient, offensively, of the three. Does that make him less of a player? Or not as good as the other two? No. I happen to think he’s better than both. But I believe we’re talking strictly as an offensive player.

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

    the stupidest comments ever written on the interwebs occur here daily. lol @ Tarzan saying Wilt would avg 45 and 20 in today’s NBA. Tyrus Thomas could put up the numbers Wilt did if he played in that era. Myles is right. There is and never was a player with more offensive skill than Kobe and I really don’t even think it’s close. If he got half of the phantom foul calls that MJ recieved his entire career Kobe would def have a few 50%+ FG seasons under his belt.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Knowing that the point I’m about to make has little to do with the subject of this article. However, Kobe to me today is a freaking warrior. I never liked him much in the earlier yrs. But for the past 2 season he has not taken a break despite the finger injury. Never complains, and doesn’t opt for surgery since he realizes that the window for this team is now. So the argument that he’s a selfish teammate should be null and void from now on. He’s gotten AI warrior type status in my opinion.

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

    OK, I don’t know if he’s the best offensive player EVER, but he’s definitely in the discussion. And as for the decade, it’s not even close. Someone mentioned LeBron’s versatility? I don’t think Bron’s versatility really makes him a great OFFENSIVE player as it does a great ALL-AROUND player. You can make the case that Bron is a better PLAYER than Kobe, but as far as scoring, Bron isn’t even on the same level. That should be fairly obvious, right?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Or maybe MJ is the standard bearer because he was Kobe’s predecessor and the greatest offensive player before Kobe. Hmmm…Anyway, I specifically separated Kobe’s athleticism from his skill in acknowledging the former as a complement to the later. But the fact of the matter is that he has both and its silly to try and isolate the circumstances i.e. resources, rules, opponents, stats, etc. of their respective eras. West himself said that Kobe is the most skilled Laker ever. West was a Laker. Kobe is obviously more athletic than West. He obviously benefited from the games progression since West. So its not a stretch at all to assert that he is better than West. Which is why the man himself said so. But you keep on fighting the good fight.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    And that couldnt be the real Eboy.

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

    Oh Kobe is def > West.

  • Mack

    Kobe Bryant is the decade’s best offensive player; nobody (no TWO bodies) can stop, contain, befuddle, frustrated or distract this man. Mike is the best ever, but Kobe is following behind very closely.

    BTW, The only thing I see that Kobe has on Jordan is jump-shooting. Personally, I think Jordan would kill Kobe in a one-on-one game.

  • Eboy

    You’d be right.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Kobe is close to becoming the greatest player ever behind Jordan, with two more rings and more buzzer beaters, more scoring binges, more ALL NBA first teams, defensive first team and Finals MVP. Jordan will be the only person he can be compared too. Lebron is good l-fans, but he has more great players to go through in the east. I personally see Dwade having a better career than him and Howard has a grudge against him for not shaking his hand. Lebron might win one title and thats it, especially if he listens to his mom and agent and stay in Cleveland. Back to the point. Kobe can do anything on the court, and he is a warrior playing hurt for two years with finger, played the other night with hurt finger, but l-fans boy didn’t play 3 games one year because of sprained finger. COME ON. Kobe is in a league of his own and if you play ball, someone said Kobe couldn’t play in 90′s come on. IF you can play if a guy hand checks you, you can use that to your advantage to guide them, Jordan did it all the time, don’t you think Kobe would develop how to beat people. Kobe is clearly the best post player, jump shooter, clutch player, defensive stopper(when he wants to) and CHAMP. KOBE enjoy him now, because when he leaves their will be a void and Lebron, Dwade, Durant, Roy cannot fill it.

  • http://slamonline.com ronronronronronronron

    81 pts nuff said

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    in regards to the Myles v. Allen debate.. Since championships are the “agreed upon” measure for success – ya’ll should note teams built from the inside out generally win more titles then teams built from the outside in

  • J

    never seen anyone with such a killer instinct and a complete offensive repertoire since MJ. post, fade away, anything. but don’t say that he didn’t become a ball hog for quite a time, for a reason or without. basketball is a team play, even if you’re teammates are Smush Parker or not. he did understand that but sadly that knowing came when he had better teammates. but regardless, he is the best player in this decade.

  • J

    @ the Seed: “Lebron might win one title and thats it, especially if he listens to his mom and agent and stay in Cleveland. ” …. seriously? cmon stop hating.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Hard to argue this one. Kobe, no doubt. Best offensive player EVER? That’s a little questionable. Most versatile offensive player, yep.
    Also, Decade’s Best Scorer (not offensive player) would be an argument worth having between Kobe and AI.

  • J

    ^^^^^^^^^agree with Mr. RLW and Tariq at 7:49. and also i love LeBron, but i have to give Kobe the nod on who’s better at this point.

  • http://slamonline.com ronronronronronronron

    hey that wasnt me @ 1042.. damn it

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    6:54 of that vid – one of Kobe’s highlights is getting blocked by Wade?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    I think AI would get the nod of best scorer in the deecade because higher career average 4 scoring titles and more points scored in the decade aswell I think. But offensive player it aint even close Kobe is the best offensive player ever.

  • Lazaruz

    damn ive never seen that airball vid. bahaha nicenice

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Pardeep… ever? How about that original 23? Kobe’s more versatile with the 3 ball, but if you a guy for offensive on your squad, you’re choosing Kobe over Michael Jordan? Really?

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    haha @ 1:32 of the Airball vid, Eddie Jones in corner is just thinking, “Are you fcking kidding me?”

  • zach AU

    does anyone ever notice MELO wears his
    headband backwards?

  • FoCo

    This article is Paul Pierce. I.E. The Truth

  • Foobar

    @tealish I don’t think the difference is big when it comes to offense. Kobe got better range, comparable FG%, comparable fadeaway, comparable athleticism, good FT%. If you were to pick the two best possible versions of both players, Kobe would be the better one. 81 trumps 65.

    Also, Myles, AI is the runner up here, I don’t care if you don’t like him. More scoring titles than anyone, highest career ppg, second highest total points, high FTA, high FGM, solid number of 3s. The only year he didn’t play well, offensively, was 2003-04 (still solid) and Detroit. Statistically AI is probably in the top 5 offensive players of all time (5th). Wilt, MJ/Kobe, Elgin, AI.

  • chintao

    I can’t argue this one. Kobe scores even when the WG’s say, “No”.

  • tavoris

    Kobe is the only player in the league that has no weaknesses offensively. that is all.

  • moneyshot

    I agree Kobe is no doubt that Kobe is the best scorer this decade. But, better than WIlt and Kareem. I know WIlt played in the 60′s but he averaged 50 points a game one season, and had a 100 in one game, I don’t what era that still is impressive. And, Kareem had an unblockable sky hook which I still think is the most effective shot today, and that shot lead him to be the all-time point scorer until someone breaks it. Lastly, Kobe took a lot from Jordan’s game. Im not knocking Kobe, but if it wasn’t for Jordan, Kobe would not have the offensive game that he has today.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Everybody takes something from the people ahead of them.
    Half the young cats coming up in the league wouldn’t have a crossover if it wasn’t for Iverson, Hardaway and Isiah Thomas. I appreciate the fact that Kobe studied Jordan’s game and then incorporated what was successful into his own game. That shows dedication and intelligence. I just didn’t appreciate when Kobe tried to adopt Jordan’s whole off-court persona complete with single hoop earring and floppy fisherman hats.
    That was lame.
    And I can’t believe that Eboy wrote what he wrote. Somebody had to have hacked his name.

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

    You should know better, Allen.

  • john jackson

    Let one thin be sure, KOBE BRYANT cannot score at will.
    I hate to remind you people that the boston celtics when it really really came down to it stopped KOBE BRYANT.
    There was not a time when his scoring at will was needed more than at the finals against boston.
    But did he really lived up tot the ‘greatest or unstoppable scorer’ that he was?
    Mj wasn’t always unstoppable, but he damn sure was when he was in his prime.
    Like my man jigga sad, men lie women lie but numbers don’t.
    see for yaself.
    MJ in his prime for example had a average off 41.0 point in the finals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    Kobe at the other hand let his team go out with a record 39 point loss.
    Come on now, no real unstoppable player allows that.

  • UnRel

    Kobe’s scouting report says one of two things.. it doesn’t say “give him jumpers” or “force him left”.. those two things are.. “throw all 5 guys at him and let the other lakers beat you” or “shut everyone else down and force kobe into a one on five game”… forget match up problems (lebron).. forget nash’s passing ability.. etc etc.. kobe is the best OFFENSIVE player of the decade.. he can drive, post, hit the 3, FTs, has the best mid-range game in the history of the game, and passes the rock (the triangle doesn’t allow for huge assist averages).. as far as best EVER?.. it’s impossible to compare different eras and decades.. wilt, cap’, mj, kobe.. all beasts on the offensive end.. karl malone was pretty damn solid on the O end, also.. they were all unguardable and all possess skills that the others lack.. so why compare?.. kobe is the best EVER.. along with wilt, cap’, and mj..

  • http://4Aitkenroad,Hamilton,ScotlandML37YA Hambone

    kobe = worst open court dunker of all time

    and how bad are d.fish`s passes?

    man only kobe and vince could finish them plays

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Two things…
    1) Comparing eras is a bunch of semantical bullsh*t. All that sending players back in time is pointless. The game moves forward. That is why we honor those who laid a foundation for the future. They could undoubtedly benefit from the progression of travel, technology, and x’s & o’s, but they didnt. It is not a disgrace to them to imply that someone may have improved on their innovations. Its like comapring a Model T Ford to a brand new S Class. The latter is obviously nicer, but wouldn’t even exist without the former. The same will happen to todays players.

    2)Numbers dont lie. Intellectually dishonest people do. And to even try and compare the 2008 Boston Celtics to the 1993 Phoenix Suns is nothing short of preposterous. The C’s were the best defensive team since the 96 Bulls. Who was the Suns best defender? Dan Majerle? Danny Ainge? Richard Dumas? Gimme a f*ckin break…

  • apton

    right on.awesome article.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Don’t sleep on Dumas? Before the coke, homie gave Pippen all he wanted.
    Oh, and Jordan didn’t take over ever game. He lost for eight straight seasons people. It wasn’t until Scottie and Horace grew some nuts that Jordan started winning rings.
    Remember, the Bull damn near went back to the Finals the one year Jordan set out for the season, and managed to get on the threshold of the Finals the next year with him as a shell of his former self before the rejuvenation in 96.
    Scottie Pippen was the effing truth and if anybody thinks that any of the current Lakers are on Pippen’s level, I should slap the taste out of your mouth.
    Get it right. Pippen is better than Pau and Odom combined. Top 50 suckas.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I should just let you do my talking from now on.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    @DJ, If I remember correctly, Shaq shot near 65% for that series and Kobe shot 35%. Ill certainly go to bat for him when I think hes been wronged, but he brought that one on himself. It wasnt solely his fault, but his performance was the primary factor in the loss. It wouldnt matter if Karl Malone was there or not if Kobe wouldnt pass him the ball.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Pippen is better than Pau and Odom combined.

    Well, only because you’re basically saying Pippen is better than Pau.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Kobe Bryant CAN score at will on any 1,2, or 3 players. It’s when you get to 4 or 5, then it depends on who’s defending, and who else Kobe has to play on his team.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I hate Pippen almost as much as I hate miller but he was a f*ckin star.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The reason Kobe Bryant is not as dominant a player offensively as say Shaq, Kareem or Wilt
    (0)Kobe has never shot over 50% for a season
    (0)Shaq for example has never shot under 55% for a season
    (0)Shaq routinely brought double and triple teams, resulting in far more open shots then Kobe creates with his playmaking ability
    (0)Shaq and Co. may be horrible at shooting free-throws, but nothing hurts a team more then being in the penalty 6 minutes into the game
    (0)And most underrated of all aspects, people loved playing with shaq this decade, they performed better with him on the court. You can’t say that about Kobe until 2007

  • a_whiteman

    Kobe will only have more pts all nba all d is because he played more years. I don’t understand why everyone thinks kobes long range game is so amazing,he has only shot better then34% 3 times in his career, which isn’t really that impressive.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    NBK
    See, it’s a semantics game.
    How do you define “best?”
    Most dominant?
    Most effective?
    Most versatile?
    Most skilled?
    Kobe is clearly the most skilled and versatile scorer of his era, and possibly of all time. At least to my eyes. He does more things better than anybody else. I remember when his handle was just ridiculous back in the day and he was crossive cats over like it was nothing. Now you rarely see it.
    But, I don’t think Kobe is the most effective or dominant offensive player of all time. Hell, it’s questionable whether he’s the most dominant or effective of this era.
    I think the argument has to consider dominance, effectiveness, skil and versatility. Each category carries weight, but if you are just ridiculous in one category it can cover up your problems in other categories.
    With that said, I think Wilt, Jordan and Kareem were better scorers all-time than Kobe. But, after them, Kobe hangs with anyone.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Should say better offensive players, not just better scorers.

  • Chris

    I just wish the NBA hadn’t changed the damn rules and made it so much easier to score. I mean no touch rules on the perimeter? Defensive 3 seconds? Give me a break with that BS. Give the defenders some leverage back man. The league was more fun when it was physical and the offensive player had to do everything in his power to score points.

    These days all these guys have to do is flail and scream to get to the foul line. I’m looking at you Paul “neck snap” Pierce. I’m looking at you Dywane “Fall to the floor everytime” Wade. I’m looking at you Kobe “Scream HEY and flail” Bryant. Was it any coincidence after the rule changes started in 2005 EVERY all-star guard had career highs in scoring and free throws? I think not.

    Kobe is a great scorer and all but the rule changes have certainly helped as well. That’s why that “EVER” line to end this article is dumb as hell.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Legitimate point Chris.
    But, you could argue that the unofficial quotas enforced during the olden days, along with the general lack of athleticism also affected those scorers.
    Bascially, players gifted with amazig physical ability were consistently battling against overmatched defenders. Plus, the League had very little focus on defense back in those days, and the overall pace of games was ridiculous. Even the vaunted Celtics were a great defensive team mainly because of Russell’s shot blocking, not because of a great defensive scheme.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I agree with that Allen. IMO better = winning, and the best players win the most. IMO dominant bigs are inherently better then dominant wings. Ofcourse there are certain circumstances that can contradict that belief (jordan). But I would take Shaq in his prime over Kobe in his prime to build a team. IMO there would be better odds to win titles with shaq

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    See? AllenP is doing just fine speaking for me. Whatever advantage Kobe has from rule changes, Jordan had from blazing past and bounding over earthbound defenders. And Oscar had from a pace that made the Suns look like the Spurs. A triple double is an amazing feat, but significantly easier with damn near 200 possesions per game. 37PPG on 50%+ is also amazing, but honestly, who was the second most athletic player in the league? Drexler? Michael was a completely unprecedented specimen in a time when people were built more like you or I than LeBron or Wade and that isnt taken into account enough when speaking of his insane averages of the late 80′s.

  • tavoris

    a_whiteman-look up the player that has hit the most 3′s in a game.

    Myles-I disagree with you about AI 99% of the time, but u r 100% correct about Kobe. There’s nothing skill-wise ANYONE can take away from that man. PERIOD.

  • tavoris

    nbk-Shaq in his prime was as good a bet to a title as Jordan or Russell in their primes. But Kobe isn’t chopped liver, either. And this discussion is about OFFENSE, not necessarily winning. Kobe does things with the basketball regularly that NO OTHER PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NBA can do.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Tavoris you are one frustrating dude… I don’t care what Kobe Bryant “can” do. I know that he is the most skilled player in the world, but like I said I judge best off of winning, actually in terms of offense, the best players produce the most EFFICIENT offense for their team. (and too add one to my list of why shaq is better at offense then kobe, (0)Shaq created second opportunities off of Offensive boards) Kobe is the best one man offense maybe ever, but Shaq made everyone on his team happier, and more productive. If this list only ran from 05-06 to today i would have Kobe behind Nash instead of Shaq as the best “offensive” player.

  • tavoris

    I don’t disagree with you, nbk. my post was in AGREEMENT with you. However, Kobe’s ability should be pretty much unquestioned.

    simmer down…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    NBK
    I was with you until the comment about Nash.
    How can we argue that Nash was more productive or that is teammates were happier?
    Based on what? Kobe has been to the Finals twice since 2006 and been to the playoffs every year.
    Has Nash?
    With the defections of Joe Johnson, Marion and, soon, Amare, are we sure all Nash’s teammates love to play with him? Hell Ron Artest damn near took a pay cut to run with Kobe, and Pau hasn’t looked happier.
    But I do I agree with you about big men.
    I said up top that I think dominant big men cause more defensive problems than dominant swingmen, and I stick by that.
    There is a reason Hakeem won two rings without a player by his side of the caliber of Pippen or Rodman. The game was built for big men. Hell, most of the rule changes in league history have been to limit the effectiveness of big men, while give advantages to little guys. That tells you something about who is important.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Nash’s teams have led the league in Pts every year he’s been back in Phoenix except 1. The offense has been top 2 overall every year. They lead the league in fg%, 3pt% yearly, and win more games w/ offense then Kobe Bryant led teams

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    for a team to rely on outside shooting and still lead the league in FG% says a lot. I know I know they ran d’antoni’s system but Nash does have 2 MVP’s in that time, earning both solely off of offensive exploits

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Joe Johnson left because he was not offered a market value contract. Marion was upset about not getting an extension, and was complaining about being under appreciated outside of the organization. And he didn’t choose to leave (not exactly). Amar’e has NOT ONCE said he wants out of Phoenix. He said he wants to WIN and thats it. Infact there was a sports illustrated poll about 2 years ago, which NBA player would you most like to play with. Which player on an opposing team would you most like to play with?
    January 14, 2008

    Steve Nash, Suns PG 31%

    Jason Kidd, Nets PG 17%

    Kevin Garnett, Celtics F 9%

    LeBron James, Cavaliers F 9%

    Dwight Howard, Magic C 6%

    that should say something

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    and for the record i meant 04-05 to present nash has been better at offense then kobe not 05-06 to present.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    accept* haha

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah, my bad. I forgot for a second this was solely about offense.
    Personally, I think that Kobe has still been more impressive than Nash on offense from 04 til today, but I can see your point.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    fair enough for me

  • FoCo

    Of course Shaq shoots like 60 percent….all his points come from right next to the basket and he can pretty much just set the ball in the rim.

  • kadavour

    Definitely the best scorer ever. name a guard with a legitimate left hand hook shot? Kobe’s skill set has expanded the lexicon of fundamental moves taught in camps today. The double team split drill to the pull up…the v cut to triple threat etc. No single player of this decade has influenced offensive game play as he has. I know you see many more players going to the turn around jump shot. Kobe’s ego was the death of his efficiency. He wanted to demoralize opponents, especially those who thought they could challenge him, before he would just get an easy bucket on them. I.e. the J in the face. Its his single weakness, his ego.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i swear that one guy, whats his name, Michael Jordan was that it? I think he made most those things famous, especially the turnaround, thus influencing kobe bryant and everyone else’s offensive game. and when kobe wants to demoralize someone doesn’t he normally dunk on them? His ego is his weakness but I don’t agree with your description of it

  • a_whiteman

    tavoris, that was 1 game, and i believe donyell marshall shares the record, and his 3pt% over his career is higher then kobes

  • http://www.eric32woodyard.wordpress.com Eric Woodyard

    Great summary of KB’s offensive prowess!! No one could have put it any better.

  • kadavour

    no nbk, the general method would be to smash and teabag a defender, but you can’t do that every possession, and Kobe’s thing is to show you that he can get any shot, however contested, off in your face when he wants. Kobe said it best in a half-time interview against the Hornets. Posey was forcing him into taking all kinds of ridiculous shots, and he finally hit one above the 3pt line. He said, “I just wanted to drain one in his face.” He had the proudest smile on his face. Dude had so many opportunities to pass out of that play it wasn’t even funny. But it worked, because Posey hung his head after watching that go in and Kobe picked it up in the second half.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Seriously, what makes Kobe a better offensive player than MJ?
    MJ/Kobe
    -
    30.1ppg/25.2ppg
    33.4ppg/25ppg (playoffs)
    5.3apg/4.6apg
    5.7apg/4.7apg (playoffs)
    49.7%/45.5% (FG%)
    48.7%/44.7% (playoff FG%)
    32.7%/34% (3-pointers) <-Is this where u tripping??
    33.2%/32.9% (playoff 3-pointers)
    32292pts/24432pts (career)
    -
    So I’m just curious, how exactly is Kobe the best ever? Sure, he’s the closest to MJ out of everyone else. But I don’t know how you just proclaim him to be the BEST OF ALL TIME when you look at those numbers.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Methinks Myles just likes him some Kobe. No biggie, we all have our favourites.

  • chintao

    Sorry, I read this post wrong. I thought it was for the MOST OFFENSIVE player of the decade. Kobe blows me. And this for Allenp, Pippen does, too.

  • john jackson

    Teallish,

    this is exact my point, numbers don’t lie.

    This is for myles brown.

    First off all dan majerle was a all defensive second team the year they played the suns.
    But i all ready see you try to downplay mj’s performance.
    The thing is will you at least acknowledge that KOBE BRYANT couldn’t score at will against the celtics in the finals? that he indeed was stoppable?

  • FoCo

    You have to also put the numbers into contact. If I go out and score 20 points in a pickup game at the gym its different than somebody dropping 20 in an NBA game. Just like this years New Jersey Nets would have set the all time wins record if they played in 1975.

  • FoCo

    Err….numbers into context.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Yes, Kobe was indeed stoppable. He also was stoppable in the 04 Finals as I acknowledged in the initial post. But those are two of the greatest defensive teams of the past 25 years. Michael Jordan’s reputation is beyond reproach, but to compare those two teams to the 93 Phoenix Suns is still ridiculous and unfair to Kobe. A more balanced comparison would be to ask if Kobe couldve scored 41 PPG on those same Suns-which I think he could-or if Jordan could score 41 PPG against those same Pistons or Celtics. Which I dont think he could.

  • john jackson

    Well i am glad you at least admit KOBE BRYANT can’t score at will.
    I was only given a example with the 93 finals against the suns.
    You think boston defense was better and tougher than the bad boys pistons? or the nicks off starks oalkey,mase,and the x-man etc etc?.
    Really?, i would like the hear your explanation?
    The thing is people on the internet act like scoring is nowadays tougher than the 90′s, which in all honesty is nothing but a joke and not even worth discussing over the net.

    Like i sad before, mj played in another era but it wasn’t the 60′s or the 70′s.
    It was the 90′s where he dominated, so stop acting like he was playing against 6 foot 3 white boys.
    This was a time where players where still playing tenacious defense.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Bostons defense was on par with the Bad Boys, yes. Rodman may have been DPOY, but KG is on par with him as a defender. Just because they didnt knock someone down everytime upcourt or scowl every three seconds it doesnt mean they werent tough. In an era which you proclaim scoring to be an absolute joke, Boston certainly made it harder. Look at the numbers. They dont lie, right? And they were better than the Knicks, simply because they were more talented. The Knicks played nothing but a brand of bullyball even the Pistons would scoff at. The Celtics were as balanced, dedicated, talented and well coached of a defensive unit as the league has ever seen. Now I hope that you admit that it makes it tougher for KOBE BRYANT to score when such a defensive unit is allowed to focus on him entirely because Pau and Lamar played like sh*t.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Furthermore, the Knicks played such a brand of ball because it was allowed at the time and more importantly because they didnt have personnel capable of doing anything else. If its so easy to score, why couldnt anyone do it on the Celtics? And it probably is somewhat easier to score-even with the allowance of a zone-because of the rules limiting defenders contact, so can you imagine if they were allowed to play like th Pistons or Knicks?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Good Point Myles….How good would that Celtics team have been just 15 years ago

  • john jackson

    I am sorry but did you just sad why couldn’t anyone do it on the celtics?
    So LEBRON JAMES didn’t score 45 POINT in a freaking game 7 off a conference finals against them?
    And Derrick Rose didn’t score in his firsts ever play off game 36 point as a rookie?
    I could go on and on like that, but i will give you the benefit off the doubt by saying that Detroit defense was equal to that off boston.
    Do my one favor please, look at the number that Mj dropped on them please? mj was scoring between 30 and 60 POINTS against the bad boys and their Jordan rules.In 1989 he scored 47 points in game 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Detroit back then was also focus entirely on mj, he didn’t have no pau gasol or lamar odom type player at all.

    Come on myles, i am not taking anything away from KOBE.
    He is this generation’s best, but mj >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> KOBE.

  • john jackson

    Please if you wanna debate alright but talk facts with my, don’t bring that athletic and physical theory.
    That doesn’t equal defense, most off this so called athletic players in the nba are some off the most horrible defenders ever.
    I can mention names if you want examples.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well, to stop Kobe that Celtics team did utilize a zone, which they would not have been able to use against Jordan. It wasn’t so much Boston’s physicality that limited Kobe, it was their willingness to zone up an entire side of the floor with a big and a little to prevent him from driving and force jumpers. They couldn’t have done that back in the day.
    Now, they wouldhave been able to hand check and be more physical, but I’m not convinced that Ray Allen and Paul Pierce would have been that much more effective on defense with the old handchecking rules, and I wonder how they, and Rondo, would have performed if the Lakers had been able to hold and grab instead of being forced to move their feet.
    Here’s the thing with Kobe. In the past, dude not only wanted to score, he wanted to score HOW he wanted to score. He wanted to prove that he could score over anybody anyway he wanted, which was a weakness. I think Mike and others just wanted to score. And so they were more effective and better at it. Ultimately it’s Kobe’s ego that prevents him from being the best scorer ever, not his skillset.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Yes, please talk with facts. Now give me the rest of Brons numbers from the rest of that series. They were historically bad.

  • chintao

    Great insight from Allenp, as usual (except for that Pippen isht).

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Chintao
    Are you saying Pippen was wack? Come on now homie, you know that ain’t right. That boy was a beast in his heyday. An absolute beast. I still remember that Thelonious Monk commerical with Scottie killing. The one hand gather slam? That’s Scottie right there. The pull-up bank shot on the fast break, Scottie too.

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