Hey there LA Lakers fans. I know Kobe Bryant led your stacked Lakers team to a title last year, but he wasn’t better than Lebron James then, and he’s certainly not better now. After watching Cleveland beat LA at home the other night, and after Cleveland’s dismantling of the Lakers on Christmas, I can’t contain this post any longer. Lakers fans can go on and on about Kobe’s 4 titles and the MVP he won in 2008 and the dismantling of an Orlando team last year that almost swept the Cavaliers, but the simple fact of the matter is, Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet. Find out why after the jump.Let’s break down their statistics first, then their teams, their offensive and defensive games, and lastly, my own thoughts on their intangibles. You’ll see that Lebron is better in almost every respect (there are a few things Kobe still does better, but they won’t last). First the numbers. I will limit it to this year alone, but Lebron did take the MVP trophy last year and his team had more regular season wins. If his teammates hadn’t disappeared in the series against Orlando I think they would have beat LA in the finals too.
1) Statistics 2009-2010 season (through about 42 games)
Even someone that doesn’t know a thing about basketball (that’s a lot of you) can do the arithmetic and see that Lebron is again having a superior statistical season compared to Kobe. Actually compared to anyone else too. I am sure Laker fans are pointing out that Kobe doesn’t need to do as much as Lebron to win, and that’s what leads to the difference. Whoops. That just proves my next point. Edge Lebron
Currently, after Cleveland beat them again last night, the Cavaliers won the head to head match up between their teams this year 2-0. That’s it. They don’t play again unless they both make the finals. Their records are extremely close too. LA is at 32-10 and Cleveland currently stands at 33-11. Both are at the top of their respective conferences. Given the fact that Cleveland won the head to head match-ups and as I pointed out before, LA has a MUCH better supporting cast than Cleveland (Bill Simmons agrees), we can give Lebron this category too. Edge Lebron
Now their individual games. First, we’ll talk offense. Phil Jackson has done a good job his second time around with Kobe. He has him playing more within the Triangle offense, and taking over games when he needs too. Kobe is still the best option for a game winning shot. I won’t deny that he has a smoother pull up jump shot than Lebron and he has a better understanding of what he can do in the low post. That being said, I think Kobe’s superior jump shot and post play is negated by what Lebron can do swooping in to the hoop. His size advantage and speed is staggering. Maybe five or ten years ago this would be a fair comparison, but an aged Kobe isn’t even close to Lebron when it comes to driving the Lane and either over-powering opponents or just jumping over and around them. Even
Defensively, Kobe is still incredible, but he’s getting old (witness him falling down at the end of the first half as Lebron did a spin move and got tripped up). Kobe is still a defensive first teamer, but so is Lebron. Lebron’s ability to block shots from behind is just awe-inspiring. He’s learning to move his feet better, and he’s so quick, with such a massive wing span, even bigger opponents have a tough time against him. Pau Gasol had what looked to be a free lay-up/dunk last night, and Lebron just went up and met him on the ball. Nothing Pau could do except collect the ball and try again. So, I give this a draw again, and only because Kobe is a little more wily and has more experience defending in big game situations. Even
My own thoughts are pretty transparent as evidenced by the title of this post. Just watching their two match-ups this year and some of their other games (I have NBA TV), Lebron is more in command of the game than Kobe is. I never think Cleveland is going to lose. With Kobe, at least in the regular season, I think he’s starting to show his age. The assortment of chinks in his body (the knee, the finger etc) have limited his physicality. He’s still the most competitive guy out there, and I wouldn’t want to bet against him or the Lakers in the playoffs, but I have to give Lebron the edge. He is just too good, too big, too fast, too skilled and too domineering a personality to ignore. Whoever can make Shaq happy as a glorified role player is an ALPHA dog not to be reckoned with. Edge Lebron.
There you have it. I hope there are a lot of Lakers fans that read this post.
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