Help With Kobe-LeBron Article

Discussion in 'Lakers Discussion' started by bfc1125roy, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Hi everyone, long time CL poster here (left several years ago). Great to discover the community is still thriving! Since there are a lot of smart people on this board, I would appreciate your insight into a project I am working on...

    After this year's Eastern Conference playoffs, much of the media, analysts, and fans were calling LBJ the GOAT or a consensus top 2 player of all time. While I actually agree that LeBron is one of the greatest ever, it frustrated me that people tended to leave Kobe out of the discussion completely, sometimes calling him a fringe top 10 all time player. There is definitely a valid argument to put LeBron ahead of Kobe all time, and vice versa, but I don't think its completely fair to act as though he doesn't belong in the debate, and call anyone who says otherwise a "Kobe-stan." I also think most of the arguments used are very stats based and just shallow in general, as is with most media these days.

    Since then, I've been working on an article to defend Kobe's legacy. It's going to be very long and has been extremely time consuming, but I could use some more ammo on the following points that people use to definitively put LeBron as the greatest ever...
    1. Advanced stats and regular stats (ppg, rpg, apg) favor LeBron significantly.
    2. LeBron is more efficient and the better scorer (averages more career ppg at a far better efficiency than Bryant)
    3. LeBron has gotten to the finals with far worse teams (like this year)
    4. LeBron's finals record actually isn't a detriment to his legacy, as the fact he was able to make the finals before losing in the playoffs is a superior outcome to Bryant losing in earlier rounds or not making the playoffs.
    5. More MVPs. Kobe wasn't robbed as players like Garnett, Duncan, etc all were having phenomenal seasons when he was in his prime.
    Because we have some great basketball minds on this board, I would appreciate any arguments you have to refute the points I listed above, as well as anything else you have to contribute. It's been very rewarding working on this so far, as I've had the chance to dig through older videos and collect some data from prior Kobe-LeBron discussions, as well as having the opportunity to restudy parts of the Triangle offense, different defensive schemes we've seen from great teams over the years, etc.

    Thanks, and appreciate your input! [​IMG]
     
    jbiggs and Battle Tested20 like this.
  2. Kenzo

    Kenzo - Lakers Starter -

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    Roscooter, is that you? :D ;)
     
  3. Weezy

    Weezy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would suggest messaging @trodgers in addition to any info you get in here, or maybe my tagging him will do it... Trodgers, do your thing man, Kobe deserves it.
     
  4. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Wow it's been a warm welcome here. And thanks @Weezy for the suggestion.

    Here's some of the stuff I've been working on so far.

    1. Advanced stats are useless without context. DRPM has Lonzo as the 3rd best defensive PG in the league along with some other egregious rankings

    2. LeBron's stats inflated due to his system - where as the triangle offense deflated Kobe's assist totals. Kobe played weakside forward in the triangle, resulting in less assists. In fact assist percentages on the triangle Lakers are fairly evenly distributed. Kobe lead the Lakers in assists almost every year since Phil made him the facilitator of the triangle. Same phenomenon applied to Jordan once Phil established the offense in Chicago.

    3. Difference between 45% and 50% shooting from the field is often times only 1 shot per game.

    4. Eastern conference has been significantly weaker during LeBron's tenure, allowing him to increase his finals appearances.
     
  5. Weezy

    Weezy Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m not smart enough to give any good answers to this stuff, but there were some seriously heavy “LeBron isn’t as great as the narrative” discussions going on during the playoffs some in depth posts by Lakeshow85 on this page and the next and probably a few before and after it. Might be a good start or at least give a few good tidbits.

    lakersball.com/threads/labron-james-discussion-the-decision-iii-rated-nc-17-aka-no-crystalball-17-officially-an-ufa.2737/page-217

    lakersball.com/threads/labron-james-discussion-the-decision-iii-rated-nc-17-aka-no-crystalball-17-officially-an-ufa.2737/page-218#post-236286
     
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  6. abeer3

    abeer3 - Lakers All Star -

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    i do think that even "advanced stats" suffer from some serious contextualization issues. this was what they were invented to mitigate, but i'm not sure they really do a good job. amir johnson isn't that good, folks.

    but honestly, there's not much you can point to at this point that favors kobe. and i'm a huge kobe fan. the only thing i'll say is that his fg% suffered because he made good decisions--not bad--about shot selection (until he aged out, then it was embarrassing). a contested long two from him was the smarter play versus a dish to smush for an open three. stat nerds don't seem to understand causal inference (i.e., smush only hit a respectable % because nobody ever guarded him, which killed the rest of the offense).

    anyway...

    point #3: kobe, lebron, and dirk are the only players in the modern era to go the finals without an allstar teammate in that season (check me on that). but lebron was in the east, which was s***. was and is s***.

    the mvp argument is silly because of who determines it. and honestly, both kobe AND lebron should have had more.

    i honestly won't engage on kobe vs. lebron anymore. but i do get annoyed when people compare kobe to iverson or tmac or f***ing james harden. in fact, i think he compares favorably to larry bird, much less those clowns.
     
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  7. tada

    tada - Lakers Starter -

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    The simple answer is: LLLLLL
     
  8. sirronstuff

    sirronstuff LB Facebook Editor

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    there is some good content on this site too, but not as much in the way of stats

    www.ihatelebron.com
     
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  9. trodgers

    trodgers Administrator Staff Member

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    Let me see what I can do. I’ll admit that the stats’s Avenue makes the case for Kobe hard. I’ve always thought Kobe was a much better defender, but I’m not sure stats show that. I do think DRPM is a decent rule of thumb, but it does get some things egregiously wrong.
     
  10. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Thanks for this. I skimmed some posts and looks like this is more LeBron favored funnily enough, but I'm sure there are good points I can use. And I should probably go through older posts on this board if you guys have had this debate before.
     
  11. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    This is great information. Surprised we have a good amount of Laker fans who feel LeBron is ahead, but I understand.
     
  12. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Thanks, I will check it out!
     
  13. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Thanks, really appreciate anything you have to contribute!

    I don't want to deny LeBron's place among the pantheon of greats. Rather, what frustrated me was when Kobe tweeted about how we don't have to dismiss LeBron's greatness to admire his and MJ's legacy, he was disparaged in the media for putting himself in that discussion. People thought it was an ego play and that Kobe is on the outside looking in for MJ and LeBron. That's what irritated me. I think he deserves to be in that conversation, and what he was saying is what I'm trying to do with this piece. How quickly people forget... in 2010 the media was having the exact same conversation except with Kobe and MJ instead of LeBron and MJ.

    I think this year was an excellent example. He deserves credit for playing out of his mind in the playoffs, but would the Cavs really have made it to the finals in the West? He scored 40 in the ECF by posting up a 6'2" Rozier. And this was the series that prompted everyone to call him the GOAT. When would Kobe ever see that type of pathetic coverage, especially in the post? It's almost like if the media praised the hell out of Jordan for barely beating a Jazz team sans Stockton and Malone.

    My TL;DR for putting Kobe over LeBron is this: Kobe is the better scorer and on ball defensive player, both of which are more important than rebounding and passing. Kobe also has more championships as a primary scoring option + primary facilitator than LeBron (4 vs. 3), while playing in a tougher conference. He has a similar number of awards/records to LeBron (other than MVPs, for which voting is obviously frivolous) and more championships, which is every player's end goal.

    For the record, I have LeBron right behind Kobe in my all time rankings, and under only Jordan and Kareem (and maybe Wilt depending on my mood lol). I think that one-two championships (depending on how they are won) would put him over the top for me.
     
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  14. sirronstuff

    sirronstuff LB Facebook Editor

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    :Crazyartest:

    I’m so pleased I could help
     
  15. therealdeal

    therealdeal Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll try to find some help tomorrow, but some simple truths are going to be tough to fight.

    1. LeBron is a statistical anomaly. You'll have an incredibly hard time finding any stats that favor Kobe over LeBron besides maybe volume, but even then LeBron is quickly catching up. I believe this is in part because LeBron has understood stats help protect his legacy for a long time (Check my $tats), but also in part because Kobe always felt the opposite (low efficiency, high risk-high reward mentality).

    2. LeBron is certainly more efficient, but especially early in his career he wasn't a better scorer. Kobe was a fearless scorer and that's probably his best "in-game" argument over LeBron. Kobe's 81 point game, his 4 straight 50 point games, his 64 in three quarters, his 8 straight 40 point game, his 60 to end his career, etc. Scoring is what Kobe did better than anyone I've ever seen live and that includes Michael Jordan (Michael had a little more of LeBron's respect for efficiency than Kobe did). LeBron was far more efficient, but like point #1, that's a double edged sword. It's like Westbrook stat hunting so he could average a triple double: there's a reason LeBron is that efficient for most of his career and it's because he was risk averse on the court in the extreme. Kobe was the utter opposite.

    3. LeBron's Finals appearances are his greatest calling card and he deserves that recognition. Not just for dragging bad teams to the Finals, but for getting there so consistently. Sure it was in a weaker conference, but consistent health is a wildly underrated attribute. The only good argument for Kobe against this is the difficulty of our conference in comparison. Kobe faced more 50 win teams with greater success than any other legend.

    4. See #3.

    5. MVPs is a joke to me. Shaq only has one too. MVPs is as much a marketing ploy as anything else and Kobe was not exactly likable for the majority of his career. Steve Nash beat Kobe in back to back years when Kobe deserved the MVP that Westbrook got. I'd say Kobe had greater competition for his MVPs as well (similar argument with his Finals appearances) with guys like Garnett and Duncan existing at the same time (two All-Time greats at their positions). LeBron was winning in the years when there wasn't quite a competition for him. Kobe, Garnett, Duncan, Dirk, Nash all on the decline. Durant, Westbrook, Rose, Curry, and Harden not ready quite yet.
     
  16. Battle Tested20

    Battle Tested20 - Lakers MVP -

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    When all this is said and done, regarding your project. The entire Lakers Nation will applaud you for being a voice to the voiceless at times in the mist of tough odds (the media who argue LBJ has already passed Kobe).

    Thank you and God Speed!
     
  17. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Thank you! It will likely be a while before I can share a draft. I am still curating content. Clipping plays, analyzing old games, etc. There's no shortage of information. It will probably end up being a very long piece, but hopefully worthwhile.

    These offseason rumors definitely have me distracted though!
     
  18. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    This is extremely thoughtful and helpful! Thank you!!

    Regarding the stars argument, I don't intend to use stats to favor Kobe. Rather I want to explain away some of the large gaps in the stats that people use. For example, most people will say something like "LeBron trumps Kobe in every major statistical category other than FT%, so how is he better?" But then if I can explain how the Triangle offense deflates stats such as assist totals, along with how LeBron's system of him and shooters will inflate his numbers, that helps. With context like this, I can then shift the narrative to how Kobe is the more skilled scorer and defender, and how that plus championships makes him on par with LeBron in the greatest of all time discussion.

    Also, what do you think is a good way to show LeBron was risk averse? I completely agree he cared a lot about his efficiency (e.g. not taking end of the quarter heaves) but the evidence to show this is a little thin.

    Again it's not so much Kobe over LeBron, but that Kobe shouldn't be dismissed as easily as he has been lately.
     
  19. therealdeal

    therealdeal Moderator Staff Member

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    The risk aversion probably shows up in lack of game winning shot attempts although I dont have those numbers. You could definitely point to his high efficiency as risk aversion (smart risk aversion, but still the truth). I'd have to give that some more thought. It's definitely something that's easier to pick up watching games than in stat sheets.
     
  20. bfc1125roy

    bfc1125roy - Rookie -

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    Agreed. I think the eye test is superior in analyzing basketball than stat sheets. Otherwise you could just project a game or series ahead of time, but anyone who's actually played the sport knows it doesn't work like that. This is a theme I plan on emphasizing in the piece.
     

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