tclakin

Too Early for Kobe vs. LeBron

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Kobe still stands between LeBron and NBA superiority

Kobe still stands between LeBron and NBA superiority

Well, we learned one thing after Game 1 of the NBA Finals for sure: The “Who’s Better?” debate betwee Kobe and LeBron was very premature.

Kobe’s 40 point, 8 rebound performance last night put an indelible stamp on his claim to the current NBA throne. He made big shots, his jumper was smooth, and he demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is simply a better, more polished basketball player than LeBron James.

And that’s not a knock on LeBron. The guy’s only 24 years old. Kobe is 30. He’s had six more years during which to develop an immaculate jumper and the ability to finish around the rim. By the time LeBron is 30, he may very well be better than Kobe is now, with a jump shot and a terrific post-up game – who knows? Frankly, he’s probably better now than Kobe was at 24. But when you compare the two players today, you can’t ignore the fact that LeBron just is not there yet. He isn’t. He’s a poor shooter, he has trouble controlling his emotions, and he needs to develop an inside post game and a deadly fallaway, like Kobe’s. On the BS Report yesterday, Ric Bucher argued that LeBron is currently operating at about 70% of his potential and I completely agree. At this point LeBron is able to dominate because of his overwhelming power but until he adds a little finesse to the equation, he won’t be the player he can be nor will he be able to claim NBA superiority. He’ll also do untold damage to his body. The only reason MJ was able to succeed at 40 – and even in his mid-30’s – was because he was smart enough to re-invent his game, becoming a jump shooter instead of slashing dunker. By relying on his shooting game, Jordan protected his health and prolonged his career.

I’m sure LeBron realizes this and that he’ll get there some day. My only point is that right now, Kobe Bryant is clearly the better player, and really the only player of the last ten years who can be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan.

He’s just that good. I have to admit it, and if you watched Game 1, so do you.

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