Was Kobe better than LeBron?

Discussion in 'Basketball' started by Bertuzzzi44, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Neutrinos Registered User

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    The fact that you have Russell ahead of LeBron tells me we'd just be wasting our time continuing this discussion
     
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  2. Neutrinos Registered User

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    Other than Usage Rate, Kobe never lead the NBA in any advanced statistic

    He was basically Iverson in a bigger body but with slightly better efficiency
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  3. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    Bill Russell is the greatest winner in the history of North American team sports

    Lebron James is the Wilt Chamberlain of this generation, a physical demigod whose legacy is founded upon individual stats rather than winning, and consistently managed to lose on the grandest stage

    I don't think it's absurd to weigh team accomplishments so heavily in a sport where the best players are on the floor for more than 75% of the game

    If you value stats Lebron is much better, if you value winning Russell is much, much better
     
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  4. Neutrinos Registered User

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  5. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    I went ahead and watched these, and there's nothing new here, it's the same few arguments people have always tried to make against Russell

    1. He played in a weak era
    2. His teams were stacked
    3. His stats weren't impressive

    1. You play who is in front of you

    We don't hold it against Gordie Howe that he played in a league with 6 teams, he's universally revered as a top-5 player ever, it shouldn't be held against Russell either, he was born when he was born and he played when he played, and he absolutely dominated the era he happened to play in

    2. The Boston Celtics of his era were undoubtably the best team in the league, 11 rings in 13 years makes that obvious, but just counting the number of hall of famers he played with is disingenuous and essentially revisionist

    Role players on multiple championship teams get in to the hall of fame based on the merit of the team they played on, not based on their individual talent

    Outside of Cousey and Havlicek he never played with another true star talent

    Just wait, Draymond Green and his 8 points a game will be in the hall of fame one day

    3. His offensive stats weren't impressive, true, but his defensive stats are under represented because he played before blocked shots were a recorded stat

    He's also second all time in rebounds (I understand the pace was inflated, but his rebound rate is still among the best in history)
    ____________________

    None of this does anything to discount the fact that he won 11 titles in 13 years, including 8 in a row, and was the head coach for the last 2

    Winning > Stats, especially in basketball, and Russell is the greatest winner we've ever seen

    Henri Richard needed 7 extra seasons of play to equal Russell's championship totals on those stacked Habs teams
     
  6. Neutrinos Registered User

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    Player A could score 100 points in a game without missing a shot, while also holding Player B scoreless, yet Player A's team could lose

    Player B could go scoreless, while Player A scores 100 points on him without missing a shot, and Player B's team could win

    The point is, the outcome of a game is irrelevant when comparing individual players since the only thing they can control, and therefore be judged on, is how they perform

    That's all I'm going to say on the matter
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  7. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    If a player really scores in those astronomical figures yet loses there is something to be questioned about their approach to the game

    When Devin Booker scored 70 in a loss a lot of people viewed it as empty numbers and stat chasing

    Individual players DO have an exceptionally large effect on the final outcome of the game, this is basketball we're talking about, one guy really can make that large of a difference

    If the process Sixers were playing the Jordan Bulls, sure, one player couldn't make up for the difference, but if you're talking about a realistic playoff matchup between two closely matched teams the better players will generally win
     
  8. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    I feel like we're off topic

    Lebron is better than Kobe, but its pretty close, so who cares?
     
  9. Neutrinos Registered User

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    As this thread has demonstrated, how people view things is irrelevant

    Perception < Reality
     
  10. FiveTacos Registered User

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    I don't know, I think it's still possible.

    Like I said, bigs are almost a separate category, so arguing a guy like Wilt/Kareem vs. Lebron is tricky in terms of impact on a team. But that could apply to those guys vs. MJ too, so it's not a knock. But I can't necessarily blame someone for choosing the best of the best big men over a Lebron. Historically that position has had a huge impact.

    But even amongst non-bigs, it's not absolutely undisputable. Many will still put MJ higher, and most of the rest of the consensus top players have aspects of their game which were better than Lebron's. The one other forward often talked about in that caliber though is Bird ... and prime Larry was pretty amazing. I certainly think a strong argument could be made that outside of longevity, he was better than Lebron. If for example your ranking is about picking a prime year (like say age 28 or 30) for each, it's not at all outrageous to conclude that Bird was the better player; he was a prolific scorer, better shooter, better rebounder, and while not a primary ballhandler his passing had no equal in his day outside of Magic. He was a good defensive player too. OTOH factoring in total career value, it's rather obviously LBJ ... but total career value doesn't mean he was ever at any given point better than Larry until Larry's back gave out.

    So if you chose MJ, Bird, and one of the bigs over Lebron it's not at all crazy. And there are those who totally consider Bird and Magic on the same level. So I could totally see rating Lebron outside the top 4 and still being totally objective. Just like you could put him above some of those guys as well.

    Similarly, it's not crazy to put Kobe in the top 5 ... or to have him just outside the top 10. Let's be real here, when we're getting to this caliber of player, any team would be lucky to have any one of them, and any fan base would be over the moon about it. Only a real contrarian is going to have a guy like that on their team and spend their time on message boards talking about how overrated the guy is and how they'd like to get rid of him. I mean seriously, were there ever any fans of Lebron's teams looking around going, "yeah, I'd rather have KD," or Lakers fans saying, "Kobe's overrated, think we can trade him for Wade or AI?" Probably not. But the other way around, you can bet there were quite a few fans that would have pulled the trigger on a swap.
     
  11. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    Player rankings are subjective and are entirely based upon perception
     
  12. Neutrinos Registered User

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    I prefer to base my rankings on quantifiable data
     
  13. weastern bias worst team in the league

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    Good luck using objective metrics to compare the impact of players whose careers were decades apart, at some point you will be inserting your own value judgments whether you do so intentionally or not

    I value winning over stats and that effects how I view players careers, but I won't pretend that my judgments are objective, no one's judgments are completely objective
     
  14. Neutrinos Registered User

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    Bird was a great player, but his stats don't compare to LeBron's

    Here are their highest finishes in some advanced statistics:

    PER
    Bird 27.8
    LeBron 31.7

    True Shooting Percentage
    Bird .612
    LeBron .649

    Victory Over Replacement Player
    Bird 8.7
    LeBron 11.6

    Box Plus/Minus
    Bird 9.2
    LeBron 13

    Offensive Box Plus/Minus
    Bird 7.1
    LeBron 9.7

    Win Shares Per 48 Minutes
    Bird .244
    LeBron .322

    Win Shares
    Bird 15.8
    LeBron 20.3

    Offensive Win Shares
    Bird 11.2
    LeBron 14.6

    Defensive Win Shares
    Bird 6.2
    LeBron 6.5


    So, what metric would someone use in order to argue that Bird was better than LeBron?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  15. Vamos Rafa Registered User

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    The TS% is kinda surprising considering Bird was a much better 3-pt and FT shooter.
     
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  16. FiveTacos Registered User

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    It's not that surprising considering the 3-pt happy era Lebron is playing in, vs. the 80s when the 3 was looked upon as something you only took when needed. What's impressive is that Bird shot as well as he did from the 3 point line despite only practicing it before the All-star game, since it wasn't considered a primary weapon in the NBA at the time. Hell, the Celtics didn't even design plays to get 3's until about halfway through his career, most teams of that era didn't. A guy with his ability, in today's game shooting many many more 3's by design ... it's likely Bird would have ended up much higher on 3 point % and TS% than he did.

    Bird also did his scoring in a much more physical era where you could get away with a lot more on defense. Some of those playoffs in the 80s got to be like wrestling matches; can't tell you how many times I saw a guy with one or two handfuls of Bird's jersey when he was trying to get open, and back then you didn't expect to get called on it. You can't get away with that stuff anymore. Meanwhile Lebron has literally played his entire career with the very favorable handchecking rules.

    That's not to say Lebron doesn't still have a claim to be arguably better. He's the more versatile player for sure (as great a passer as Bird was he couldn't have ever been a team's primary ball handler, and LBJ is better at driving to the basket and in transition). Overall scoring he might actually be superior, albeit not by a lot. But it's not unreasonable to put Bird ahead of him at all. Larry was a better rebounder, better shooter, and didn't have to dominate the ball to put up as many assists as he did. And at the end of a game I know who'd I'd pick between the two to take a crucial shot. Bird didn't need years to figure out how to be a great crunch time player.

    These advanced metrics are fine and dandy, but the game is played very differently now. It's like trying to compare stats in today's NFL to that of the 70s or 80s, it's practically impossible. Context matters. I mean, didn't Bird lead the league in defensive win shares multiple times? Lebron has yet to do that even once, no? So what's better, the higher raw number or the ranking? Larry was a great defender, but to me he was never the best defensive player in the league, so how meaningful is that stat in the end?

    I'd probably still pick Lebron in the end because to me the insane longevity and total career value makes up for the relatively small deficit on other things ... but as someone who's seen both their entire careers, I can tell you it's a really really hard call (much harder than Kobe vs. MJ, which seems pretty clear). And I say this as someone who probably never hated an opponent more than I hated Larry Bird.
     
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  17. Neutrinos Registered User

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    That might have something to do with the fact that Bird came into the NBA as a 23 year old
     
  18. Stylizer1 SENSimillanaire

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    And wasn't on HGH.
     
  19. Voight #winning

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    Bill Russell is arguably the most overrated player in NBA history.
     
  20. Stylizer1 SENSimillanaire

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  21. FiveTacos Registered User

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    It wasn't just an age thing. Bird was simply a guy who always wanted to take the shot with the game on the line. Certain guys are just that way, and others aren't. Lebron is a guy who is more about making the right play with the game on the line, whether it's a shot or a pass, more like a Magic.

    But to this day, there's still some level of hesitancy on Lebron's part, I would guess mainly because he's still not a great FT shooter. Doesn't mean he's not a better player than Bird ... but is it really hard for you to grasp that for some people that's actually a pretty big thing to factor in?
     
  22. Neutrinos Registered User

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    So, you're saying it's better that a player is willing to force up a tough shot because they want to be "The Man", rather than make the "right play" by passing to an open teammate

    Do I have that right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  23. Stylizer1 SENSimillanaire

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    What do you mean tough shot? Pressure? People knowing you are going to have the ball? Double/triple teamed? In all sports the greats are defined by how they succeed with those obstacles. Passing the ball takes the pressure off you and puts it on a player who has spent most of the game watching you control the ball. Wrong time to share.
     
  24. scott clam Registered User

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    Jordan had Kobe's body(more or less) and he was better than both of them.
     
  25. FiveTacos Registered User

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    Not at all. Because why does it have to be a tough shot? Part of it is that guys like Bird, MJ, Kobe, etc. could get themselves open and/or create a pretty decent look with very little time on the clock. It wasn't like a bunch of their big shots were out of control wild prayers. Those guys, 1) knew how to get open, and 2) could get a good look even with 1-2 guys guarding them.

    What you're suggesting is essentially that the best player should not take the big shots down the stretch if the defenses are focusing on them. Well that's all well and good if all your players are about equal, but I'm pretty sure the Bulls were quite happy letting MJ take the majority of the most important shots. Not that others couldn't make big shots (Kerr, Kukoc, BJ etc. all hit big shots for them), but I'm sure other teams would have been happy to have MJ passing off in every crucial situation at the first sign of a double team. Same with Bird and the Celtics or Kobe with the Lakers. Not that they never looked for an open teammate, but opponents were primarily scared of their ability to score with the game on the line, not their ability to find open teammates.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that all you have to do is double team off the worst scorer and the right play is to pass it off. Do you really think if it had been Scott Wedman, Bill Cartwright, or Rick Fox taking all the big shots all those years because they were open that their teams would have been better off? Who knew that all you had to do to stop Bird or MJ or Kobe in crunchtime was double team them and leave someone else open?
     

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