Basketball Caroling

Kurt —  December 23, 2009

You don’t want to stress out about Kobe’s knee (he says he’s fine but people in the locker room thought he was walking gingerly). You don’t want to stress out about the bench play. Or the blown layups.

You want to get in the holiday spirit, NBA style, so here are Skeets and Tas from The Basketball Jones. If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, well, you can start expecting three ghosts to visit you in the night.

Kurt

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64 responses to Basketball Caroling

  1. That is a basketball video to get me in the Christmas spirit for sure. I do not know why it has to always be Kobe getting injured in games, not that I want anyone else to take the injury hit for Kobe, since when he seems to get injured, it does not ever seem very serious, even broken bones, right? This Thunder team is a good team, and I do hope this is a wake-up call for the Christmas game.

  2. Merry Christmas to everybody here at FB&G

    … and Marc Gasol!

  3. I dreaming of a Dwight Christmas…oops, wrong team. Oh well. Have another jello shot.

  4. Kurt

    that video was so racist and insensitive…

    I like.

  5. Man oh man, I love the basketball Jones!

  6. That was hilarious, especially the line about Nowitzki having his Hasselhoff. Thanks for the early morning laugh.

  7. Bah…. Humbug!

  8. I venture to say that if there was an All NBA no air team….Artest would be a starter, .and Dfish would be coming off the bench. Last night, with those two on the fast break….nightmare. Any other players around the league make that team?

  9. Is it me or is NBA TV hard to watch?

  10. 8, Matt Bonner, Brad Miller at PF and C.

  11. Texas Rob- Timmy Duncan is starting pf, Shaq starting center, Jason Kidd starting pg, and I would move Artest to sg to have Peja Stojacavic* at SF. -Team Bunny Hop

  12. does anybody have insider for espn? I was just wondering who Thorpe thought was better….Kobe or Lebron.

  13. he took lebron with a score of 77 to 75 (he scored it like a boxing match).

    Thorpe loses some credibility with me saying that Lebron is a better shooter than Kobe.

    That and in the “make teammates better” round he gave Lebron a 10 and Kobe an 8

    Thoughts?

  14. Thanks K! I appreciate the reply.

  15. From David Thorpe (insider)

    “Conclusion

    So who’s the best player? Our final tally is LeBron 77, Kobe 75. And it’s no coincidence that the final margin came down to the third category: making teammates better.

    Kobe’s fans will point to his recent championship ring as proof of his ability to play the right way with his teammates. I have no argument with that; he is a great teammate. And he’s not only a first-ballot Hall of Famer but also probably one of the top 10 players ever.

    But none of those accomplishments suggests that LeBron is not the superior player today. Nor does it negate the fact that sometimes Kobe tries to do too many things himself during games. I believe that to get the Kobe we see today — full of fire and confidence and a readiness to carry his team through any and all difficulties — it sometimes means he’ll end up doing too much at the expense of his teammates. It’s not necessarily a flaw. But it isn’t the best outcome, either.

    LeBron is not perfect. He has to improve his midrange game and learn to do more damage in the post. Teams have a better chance of beating him if he does not address these concerns. But to my eyes, he’s the best player in the world right now. His combination of raw power, size, athleticism, basketball skills and feel — and his willingness to package that combination in a way that emphasizes making the best basketball play for his team — separates him from every player in this league.

    Many smart basketball people think Kobe is the closest thing to Michael Jordan. I agree. They are probably the two best shooting guards in history. But the league has never seen a player like LeBron James.

    And in a decade or so, we may be at this again, only this time sending LeBron into the ring with His Airness to settle the debate of who is the best player of all time”

  16. That article was a little silly. Thorpe’s main point is in the “making teammates better” category, where he gives James a 10 to Kobe’s 8, on the basis that a) “LeBron is, simply put, the best passing guard/wing since Magic Johnson” and b) that Kobe holds on to the ball too long. He then says that Lebron has better leadership skills than Kobe because he’s funny and his team can turn to him when the Cavs are in trouble. He scores intangibles 10-9 in Kobe’s favor, saying LeBron’s leadership and mamba’s work ethic cancel out (laughable), and breaking the tie with Bryant’s intimidation factor.

    And of course, the LeBron edge in the perimeter scoring category is an interesting interpretation, to say the least…

    It would be interesting to see how Thorpe would have written this piece if he had the preconceived notion that Kobe was better, rather than the opposite. I wonder if LeBron would be holding on to the ball too long and Kobe would be bailing out his team when they are sucking.

  17. I am not much into the comparison game. That only really has merit in head to head individual sports. Both these guys are amazing players.

    However, I get really pissed at the ‘makes teammates better’ thing.

    Kobe made Smush, Luke and Kwame look almost like NBA starters.

    Look at Bynum now. He turned Trevor’s career around. He is making Pau into a beast (obviously the last three have done the hard work, but you can’t tell me that Kobe hasn’t had a huge influence on them both in work ethic and on court game).

    LeBron seems like he is a more sociable and outgoing teammate. Kobe has certainly had to learn how to pull, push and prod his teammates without totally alienating them. But making them better on the court? How is LeBron (or the ultimate, Mr. Nash) better?

    If your only criteria for ‘making teammates better’ is number of assists – well, yeah, I guess Kobe comes up short. If you are talking about a player that improves the performance of his teammates, I think Kobe is right at the top with anybody at this point in his career.

  18. Step 1: decide A is better than B

    Step 2: devise a bunch of sensible-sounding criteria and assign arbitrary but sensible-sounding weight to each.

    Step 3: assign score value for A and B wrt to criteria in 2

    Step 4: add up the scores. If A’s score is less than or equal to B’s score, return to Step 3 and apply some massage.

    Step 5: declare A is winner.

  19. Speaking of unamusing basketball videos…

    What’s the over/under on how many times we’ll have to see that stupid Nike puppet ad with Kobe and LeBron and Santa on Friday?

    The second-best part of winning the Finals last summer was the idea that we’d never have to see one of those annoying ads every again, especially after LeBron & Co. couldn’t hold up their end to meet L.A. in June.

    Now the ads are back. God help us all.

    KRS-One must have really blown through his BDP earnings to agree to perform on that steaming pile of crap. Major disappointment.

    (But at least they can’t take away Championship No. 15)

  20. I actually think thorpe’s article was pretty fairly scored – if you’ve watched both their games this season, it would be hard to say kobe’s a better perimeter shooter. kobe certainly is more accurate in that 16-10 foot mid range zone where his turn around is basically a guaranteed swish, but his 3 pointers have looked flat, especially since the finger injury, and lebron is probably a better shooter than you realize – 37% from 3, to 27% for Kobe. while we all know Kobe is a better shooter than that, I don’t think it’s unfair to say LeBron is the better perimeter shooter RIGHT NOW.

    as for the ‘makes teammates better’ – i think Thorpe was generous in giving Kobe an 8. I love Kobe, and I’m a die hard laker fan, but if you look at the Milwaukee game (of the game winning shot), well the reason it even came to that was that Kobe kept clearing out and bricking fadeaway jumpers at the end of the 4th – probably 3-4 in a row at one point, when he could have looked to Pau or swung the ball to… well… maybe not swung the ball. I miss having a working Machine.

    The only place I thought Thorpe may have underrated Kobe was in his advantage over LeBron in pure scoring – LeBron can score, but Kobe can simply eviscerate opponents. Kobe won that 10-9, I think it should have been 10-8 at least.

    Ultimately, I agree with Thorpe that, right now, LeBron is the better player. This is partially a function of the fact that Kobe is so variable – he’s much more prone to have a bad game than LeBron, but his best game is better – still, LeBron does more each and every night. Depending on how you define “best player” or, say, MVP, I can see arguments for either player, but I can also see valid arguments that Kobe is 2nd, or even 3rd or 4th best (depending on how you feel about what Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and especially DWade are capable of doing). This doesn’t particularly bother me, since I know the Lakers are the best TEAM, and I root for Lakers World Championships, not Kobe World Championships.

    The Laker player that needs more respect is PAU!

  21. #13, K. Personally I really don’t care about these types of rankings. At a certain point it comes down to personal preference on individual items and how high you rank them.

    The only time those kinds of things irritate me is when they are so out of whack with reality/eyeball. If someone wants to make an argument about Bron, Kobe, Wade, etc as being best and ranks them in whatever order I’m fine with that. But if you come up with a ranking where Kobe isn’t even in the top 10 or 15, I just find it stupid and won’t even bother trying to listen to you.

    It’s like that clutch rating deal. Someone wants to say Kobe isn’t the best, fine. But to say that he’s not even in the top 25 according to your metrics? Then maybe you need to stop and look at your metrics instead of continuing to make the argument that he’s just not that clutch. Personally, I and a bunch of GM’s would pick Kobe but that doesn’t mean someone is wrong to put Kobe second and Bron first.

  22. Thorpe’s analysis was good, but his categories were completely arbitrary. He should have included, “best in-game dancer”, or “who is better at pissing off Joachim Noah during a game”.

    In all seriousness, I agree with k that THorpe loses some credibility if he thinks Lebron is a better shooter than Kobe. Just because Lebron is shooting more threes this year doesn’t mean he is better at it than Kobe. Kobe uses the 3-ball for end of quarter and game heroics. He does not give a crap about stats. If I remember correctly, Kobe had a game where he hit 12 threes, and 9 of them were in a row! But he doesn’t need to do that anymore.

    Also, the “make teamates better” argument that Thorpe made is flawed. Look at Shaq this year. Wasn’t he averaging about 19 points a game last year with the SUNs? I don’t think Lebron made Shaq better, if anything, he can’t seem to have enough room to score down low in the post. At worse, Kobe vs Lebron is a wash. Maybe the advantage goes to Kobe if you score a round “who has the better killer instinct”. Please read the first chapter of Chris Ballard’s “the Art of a beautiful game” on killer instinct. Lets just say the whole chapter is about Kobe, not Lebron.

  23. Yeah, if dribbling the ball for 15 seconds than passing, and being a complete doofus on the court means making teammates better, then yeah, LeBron is better at that.

    I’ll take Kobe’s no nonsense attitude and actual acts of helping teammates, such as giving his shooting program to Ariza, thank you very much.

  24. @9)

    No, its not you. NBA TV is about as exciting as watching a snail cross the street. “Inside the NBA” is really the best hoops highlight show in TV. Even though it gives Barkley pain in his stomach to give Kobe any credit his basketball analysis is usually spot on. And he is very entertaining. That crew has great on-air chemistry.

    What happened to the show Gary Payton and Chris Webber had on NBA TV? I heard it was really good.

  25. Missing Carols:

    All I want for Christmas is my 5 front teeth

    I’m getting nothing for Christmas–
    Fans and the coaches are mad
    I’m getting nothing for Christmas–
    ’cause I ain’t been nothing but bad

    Better watch out, better not cry,
    better not shout, I’m telling you why–
    Bennet Salvatore is coming to town

    Rondo got run over by a reindeer

    Hallelujah (etc.)
    For the Lakers omnipotent reigneth
    Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

  26. http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=thorpe_david&page=KobeLeBron-091223

    is the full link to the ESPN story- am not a member but it worked for me.

    btw, here’s my 3pt kobe defense
    1. kobe plays in a stronger conference top to bottom for the past 6+ years (stat comparisons are rendered less meaningful when you are playing against worse competition) so kobe’s adjusted stats do not look as bad as LBJ fans claim. further, arguably stats should be KB/LBJ vs. other SG/SF comp set, respectively. anyone have thoughts on std. dev approach (how do you compare at your position) adjusting for strength of competition?

    2. what makes you a better player in a head to head comparison (again, somewhat meaningless in a team sport): a) physical talent (big, strong, fast), b) BB IQ, c) basketball skills (shooting, spacing, fundamentals).

    LBJ clearly has superior physical talent, but does anyone really argue either BB IQ or skills go to LBJ? one of the reasons why GMs consistently pick Kobe to take the last second shot is the combination of BB IQ + skills. Kobe will find the best shot to take- and will make them more often.

    3. force multiplier. like the green berets, which has the capacity to enhance the team? LBJ, for all his pouting, dancing, etc., may be entertaining and the guy you want to hang out w/listening to kid n’ play, but kobe has driven his teammates to win. i don’t understand people that comment on lebron being a better teammate. if that means getting paid, having more fun on road trips, sure- but i thought greatness was always measured by rings. kobe, perhaps not always the most loved, is universally respected (see, Olympics).

    from a lonely Kobe-apologist buried in the midwest.

    happy holidays all.

  27. Pau Gasol’s contract extension press conference is available on Lakers.com if anyone is interested.

  28. Portland loses another big man! If I were them I would make a run for Gortat in Orlando or Curry in NY. I’m pretty sure I saw an article saying that these guys are likely to end up on the trade block before A*S*B. I would also try to dope another team into taking Odon off their hands. He’s still a first overall draft pick, shouldn’t be to hard to get a desperate team to bite.

  29. As much as I like Kobe, with the number of shots Pau is getting, I think an 8 is very very generous.

    Still, even with that, I don’t think Kobe will lose out on the vs. LeBron debate, unless you value current athleticism and size over current skill set.

  30. 28. If you listen to the press conference, you find out that Gasol likes the occasional double-double. Not the points and rebounds kind, we’re talking In-n-Out.

  31. Here’s a link to the full Thorpe article:

    http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157827

    I don’t mind that he has LBJ ahead. I don;t agree with him, but his explanations work for me. At least he has the presence of mind to see that assists and rebounds for what they are.

    I agree with him on some levels. I would call LBJ a better passer simply because he’s a more willing passer. I don’t think LBJ is a better “leader,” but I do he’s an easier, or more fun teammate to have. I feel Thorpe was correct in assessing that LBJ’s teammates are less afraid to make mistakes…but is that necessarily a good thing? Kobe may get more upset or demand more, but look at the results of it. The Lakers respond well to pressure and make sure they perform when the brightest of lights are on. Do the Cavs and their not afraid to make mistakes-fun loving team?

  32. Here’s rooting for a several overtime game in Sac-town tonight.

  33. Lebron has been a better 3-point shooter this season but not a better “outside shooter” or a “jump shooter”. You know the comparative term “better shooter” refers to all kinds of jump shots not just 3 point shots, something that Thorpe seems to conveniently “overlook”. Here are the hard figures: (quoting D-Rose from the linked insidehoops page, figures from NBA hotspots)

    Mid range:

    Kobe: 45% 63/141
    LBJ: 41% 66/162

    Close but not in the paint:

    Kobe: 50% 88/176
    LBJ: 31% 17/55

    3-PT Range:

    Kobe: 28%
    LBJ: 37%

    So 3-point land is the only place from which Lebron has been a more accurate perimeter shooter. Also in that regard, this season LBJ is shooting better than Ray Allen, so is LBJ a better 3-point shooter than Ray? In 02-03 and 07-08 Kobe shot a higher percentage from 3-point land than Dirk, was Kobe all of the sudden deemed a better 3-point shooter than Dirk, in those respective seasons? I don’t think so.

  34. Julia889:

    You’re only supposed to mention stats that make LeBron look better than Kobe, not the other way around. Didn’t you get the memo?

    (well done!)

  35. The problem with comparing players in different stages of their career is that you can’t really be objective about it.

    Past accomplishments do matter when playing against a player, while potential really doesn’t. On the other hand, past mistakes and preconceptions matter as well, while the up-and-comer usually gets a pardon here.

    To me, when we assess the here and now, I have no problem saying that LeBron is the better athlete. I’m not sure if Kobe, or anyone else could compare to LeBron in sheer athleticism – balance of speed, power and skill is simply phenomenal.

    However, what LeBron hasn’t really shown us is the ironman factor, or better yet, the ability to play with diminishing athleticism / injuries. Although I wish him the best and hope to see his career develop without major or minor injuries, I have a hard time imagining LeBron playing with 7 fingers.

    In a way, I think comparing Kobe to LeBron would be like comparing Kareem to Wilt. Wilt was the better athlete hands down, and probably more of a force, but in the end, it’s Kareem that holds the record for most points scored.

  36. Thorpe also says that the League has never seen anyone like LeBron.

    I know teenagers worship at LBJ’s feet because they can barely remember Jordan, but Thorpe? He doesn’t remember Barkley at his prime, or Baylor?

  37. As usual, the only way to ‘make your teammates better’ is to get a lot of assists. Never mind whether or not those teammates actually improve, as numerous players have done playing alongside Kobe. Hell, Kobe made the best players in the world (including LeBron) better in just a few weeks of Olympic ball!

  38. Ladlal (and others), to be fair, the league has never seen an athlete with the size and speed of LeBron. Barkley was not this big and didn’t have the same handles. Elgin was not as strong. MJ was another build all together. Remember that LBJ is basically a great wing player in Karl Malone’s body. There have been many great players before, but none really built like this.

    Does that mean he will be the best player ever? No. A lot of that perception will come down to rings, sadly, which in some ways means who LeBron plays for and with the next decade matter a lot. As for who is the better player now, who cares? I like watching them both. Someone has said (and I forget who or where) they would want LeBron for the first 40 minutes but Kobe for the last 8 right now, and I think that has some truth to it.

    But I’m not sure there is a wrong opinion here, because you are talking about two great players.

  39. 33

    My sentiments exactly. The idea that LeBron is a better ‘perimeter shooter’ than Kobe based on a month’s worth of 3-pointers is patently ridiculous. And don’t forget Kobe’s advantage from the line (although LeBron has closed that gap quite a bit this season).

  40. A lot of people tend to “discount” LeBron’s achievements because of his athleticism.

  41. First of all, congrats to Pau and his extension – if Kobe is our MVP, I’d vote for Pau being the MIP. I’m glad we’re hanging onto him for a few more years.

    Second, after reading Thorpe’s article and taking all things in consideration, I can’t agree with him. I like Thorpedo’s analysis of players’ talents and his practical knowledge of the game is impressive. I also really like LeBron. But Kobe is the better player today. His ability to score anywhere on the floor on pretty much anyone also trumps LeBron, who doesn’t have a consistent jump shot or any post game whatsoever. LeBron making his teammates better is an illusion – he’s an excellent passer, but all he does is rely on his Karllen Maloverson physique to crash into the paint, draw a double, and kick it out for a high-percentage shot for his teammate. In the end, the most important factor is IQ – Kobe’s awareness is much better than LeBron’s on both ends of the court. I like LBJ, but Kobe is still King.

  42. Isn’t it amazing that we’re still hung up on this “who is the best” argument? We’re trying to say that LeBron is now 2 arbitrary “Thorpe points” better than Kobe?

    Also, I think that Thorpe characterizing Lebron as the best passing guard since Magic is a slight to Jason Kidd. He used to make eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head passes on a nightly basis 7 years ago.

  43. It doesn’t really matter who is better right now, and whomever you would be right. Lebron is the better physical talent (maybe the most physically talented player ever in the NBA) while Kobe (being older obviously) has a more well rounded game and a higher basketball IQ. You can make arguments either way, they are both great players.

    Personally i will go with Oscar Robertson he actually averaged a triple double, Lebron can’t do that.

  44. Wilt vs. Russell
    Kareem vs. Wilt
    Shaq vs. Wilt
    Shaq vs. Kareem
    Magic vs. Oscar
    Magic vs. Bird
    Magic vs. Jordan
    Jordan vs. Kobe
    Kobe vs. LBJ

    All these arguments have no right answers because basketball is a team sport. If someone considers Bill Russell to be the greatest of all time, then Kobe is better than LBJ. It’s about the number of rings, right?

    If it’s the stats, then no one can top Wilt. If it’s about making teammates better, it’s gotta be Magic.
    If it’s about the all-around game, it’s gotta be Jordan.
    If it’s about sheer dominance, Shaq was about as dominant as a man can be.

    What do you consider to be the characteristics of best player? That determines who the greatest player is.

    Right now, Kobe would be the best player because given the same teammates, I think Kobe would consistently beat LBJ’s team. The reason? His competitiveness and shot creating/making ability. Close games come down to hitting the last second jumpshots, not layups. I think Kobe is better than Lebron in that regard.

    Still, Lebron could get better and shatter all the records and win 3-4 rings. But if Kobe ends up with 7 or 8 rings, does that mean he is better than Jordan and LBJ? Not necessarily. I just think it’s all about your preference. In other words, it’s an argument that cannot be settled. Even if they were to play one-on-one in their prime, we couldn’t decide who the best player really is. Because it’s a team game. We just assume our favorite player is the greatest of all time.

    BTW, Magic was the GOAT, especially if he didn’t have to retire b/c of HIV virus. :)

  45. The thing that annoys me most about Thorpe’s article is when he says: “LeBron is, simply put, the best passing guard/wing since Magic Johnson”.

    Uh, Magic wasn’t a “guard/wing”, dude. He wasn’t a point forward. He was a pure point guard. Seriously, Magic has the highest career apg in NBA history (11.2 apg). The only person who is relatively close is Stockton (10.5). Nobody else is over 10 apg: http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/ast_per_g_career.html

    Look, I get that LeBron has a freak skill level for his size (thanks, HGH) and is a nifty passer, but, seriously, do the Cavs remind anyone of Showtime?

  46. 30. Those are good burgers, Kurt.

  47. I’m happy to let any and all believe LBJ is “better” than Kobe, especially if the Lakers get to hang a few banners at
    LeBron’s expense.

  48. Here, here anon.

    Crown the king, give us the ring.

  49. 45.

    They would remind us of Showtime if they had a coach like D’Antoni or SVG or even Don Nelson. LeBron at PF + 4 athletic players + encouraged up-tempo style = FUN.

  50. 49.

    “LeBron at PF”

    So you mean that the Cavs could have an exiting offense if they had someone else run the offense instead of LBJ?

    Yeah, I agree with that.

  51. Wow, did anyone look at the details of Pau’s new extension? He left a ton of money on the table. According to Larry Coon’s FAQ, Gasol was entitled to yearly raises of 10.5% of the last season in his current contract, which rings in at around $17.8 mil. By my count, that’s about $1.8 mil raises yearly, but look at actual the numbers: $17.8 to $18.7 to $19 to $19.28. He gets a 900k raise in the first year, then about 300k raises after that. So in effect, out of a possible $10.8 mil in raises, Pau is taking $3.6 mil. That’s $7.2 mil over 3 years, and double with luxury tax that’s like $14.4 mil in savings for the Lakers.

    Here’s to hoping Kobe takes a cue from Pau and takes a little less to help keep the team together.

  52. Yeah – with Don Nelson coaching him, LeBron would get probably 20 rings.

  53. OT-regarding former NBA players as color men or commentators…I don’t get the logic with some of these guys.

    1st example: Portland vs San Antonio, Portland has a two-point lead, and takes possession with 27 seconds left. They run the 24-second clock down to three (six on the game clock) and Bayless misses a 15-foot jumper, but the rebound gets knocked around to Andre Miller, who gets fouled with 0.8 second remaining on the game clock. He makes the first FT to put POR up by three. The brilliant Sean Elliott says that Miller should “take one for the team” and miss the next FT on purpose, because “you never know what might happen.” OK Sean, what if he misses the FT, a Spur gets the rebound, and whips a baseball throw 80 feet and the ball goes in the basket for a tying three? Unbelievable. Instead, Miller made the FT to put POR ahead by four, and nobody guarded the inbounds passer or receiver, who missed a 30-foot shot at the buzzer. I know, Sean, the NBA could pass a new four-point shot rule while Miller is at the FT line. After all, you never know what might happen.

    2nd example: back in the NBA TV studio, Eric Snow criticized Bayless for not running the clock down more. But Bayless released his jumper with between two and three seconds left on the shot clock, meaning that there was between five and six seconds remaining in the game. He ran the clock down pretty far, and he was in danger of being trapped. He got free of the double team and shot his jumper an instant before Tim Duncan would have blocked it. Would it have been better to take the huge risk of waiting right before the shot clock expired before taking his shot? If it doesn’t draw iron, the Spurs get the ball back with three seconds left in the game and only down two points. They can set up a reasonable play to tie or win the game. Bayless made the right play, he got a decent look, the Blazers had three players in position for the offensive rebound, and the ball caromed out to a fourth Blazer. But according to Eric Snow, the young Jerryd Bayless made an “inexperienced” mistake. Who hires these guys?

  54. #43 expresses my take on LBJ v Kobe.

    For the record, note the handicaps:

    Kobe has only half a hand. Lebron is stuck in Mike Brown’s system.

    Can you imagine LBJ’s development under an engaged Phil? Frightening.

    It’s really a loss to the NBA that LBJ does not play under D’Antoni or someone who will let him run… considering his awesome talent, I find Lebron’s actual games unwatchably boring.

  55. 51. If that’s the case, the Lakers have done a good job and Pau is truly eager to play with this group in LA. I also think he foresees Kobe taking a lesser role in the next three years, becoming the #1 option in that span, or at least taking a more active role in the offense.

    There could be incentives laid in here and there as well, although I’m not sure if such can be worked into NBA contracts in a way that it doesn’t affect the cap.

    Also, he probably more than makes up for his salary in Jersey sales and whatnot in Spain and among spanish speaking populations being in a big market like LA.

    But what I want to know is if that’s a figure that was reached because they anticipate the new CBA to be killing ‘max’ salaries anyway, and if it’s because the payments are front-loaded.

    It would be to the Lakers’ benefit if they can negotiate salaries to be front-loaded but at an amount that reflects the interest that can be gained by receiving money up front, since every penny saved thus equals another penny saved in luxury tax.

  56. “Yeah – with Don Nelson coaching him, LeBron would get probably 20 rings.”

    Was that a serious comment or a joke?

    I agree that LeBron would be more fun to watch in a run-oriented system like those Nellie favors, but fans of Nellie’s teams know the fun stops when the playoff starts. His gimmicks only go so far, aside from over-inflating people’s opinion of his coaching talents.

  57. 56.

    Pretty sure that was sarcasm. LeBron might not get rings with Nellie, but that team would bring a lot of fun and excitement into an arena, which is the only point I was making when saying it’d be more like Showtime.

  58. Have you guys seen the ESPN commercial with Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You?” I love the part when Kobe kisses the wrapped gift and looks at the camera seductively. I couldn’t stop laughing.

  59. I really disagree with the sentiment that LeBron is “stuck” in Mike Brown’s system. No way LeBron – whom no doubt has considerable power in Cleveland – lets himself be “stuck” in n offense he doesn’t like. He likes Brown’s offense.

    I’m tired of that excuse. All we ever hear is how great LeBron is. How he’s the best passer since Magic. How he just may be the greatest since Michael. How he “finally” has a roster to fit him. If he was Magic, then his team’s offense would be great no matter the system. Anyone comparing LBJ to Magic has clearly forgotten what Magic was, and if he’s on path to be the GOAT, when do the excuses for him stop? If he’s supposed to THAT dud, shouldn’t he BE THAT dude.

    Bruinsfan,

    I agree. Kidd is the best passer since Magic. Nash is second.

    Chris J,

    Yes. Lebron’s game seems best suited for transition.

  60. Yes, I was being sarcastic. The problem with coaches like Nelson is that they go too far with that style of play – past the Showtime level and into the Land of No Defense or Half Court Offense. I wonder how D’Antoni would have done in Phoenix if the ownership had been willing to spend a little more. They were not bad defensively – I think it would have been good for the game if they had won a title.

  61. I personaly think Coach Thorpe is the best ESPN has to offer. That said, in his chat yesterday he said that the system a player plays in has a serious effect on him.

    If you look at the past five years the Lakers are near the top in assists in each of those years, while Clevland is at best in the middle of the pack. Lebron is a great and more willing passer, but Kobe has led a great passing team in assists in ech of the past 5 seasons except 1.

    I don’t have to get into the differences between the Lakers and Cavs offensive systems, they’re pretty obvious. But ask yourself this, who’s a better passer, someone who leads a great passsing team in assists but averages fewer per game, or one who averages more but on a weaker passing (and overall offensive) team.

  62. I think another thing to take into consideration in comparing Kobe and Lebron is we don’t treat physical gifts and talent as mutually exclusive. If we use the criteria of comparing them by physical gifts, Lebron will win hands down. Genetic are what they are and there is nothing Kobe can do to change that. But if we make the comparison using the skill set criteria, Kobe wins by a landslide. Kobe’s ability to score from anywhere on the court, his court vision (underrated), footwork, ability to focus in stressful situations, etc. I’ll take Kobe now. Lebron may develop more skills later on, but right now, there’s no contest. Kobe is the best player in the NBA right now.

  63. I don’t see the need to criticize Lebron just to make Kobe look good. Kobe looks good all on his own without any critiquing of James.

    And, I agree with Kurt on this one. Both players are great, great talents. Just as Kobe is a transcendant player, so is Lebron and I’m just going to enjoy watching these two play. We’re lucky to have such great players to watch – not only in Kobe and Lebron, but in Dirk, Wade, Chris Paul, etc. I was fortunate enough to see Dr. J, Magic, Bird, MJ, Barkley, Hakeem, and more recently Shaq, and Duncan. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you enjoy the supreme talents that play the game you love to watch. These players make watching hoops a nightly pleasure and comparing them or trying to find the holes in their game(s) just to prop up the next player isn’t a fun exercise for me.

    One final note on Lebron – this is a guy that is special. To have his physical gifts and his feel for the game are just so rare. Every night that I get to watch him play I see glimpses of past great players and am simultaneously reminded of what once was and what could be. Could he have a more refined post game? Could he have a more consistent jumpshot? Sure he could. But, despite his tenure in the league, the guy is still so young. He’s not even near his peak as a player and will undoubtedly improve his weaknesses and become even more of a force. So in the same way that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Kobe play and evolve into an all time great by adding to his game, I’ll enjoy Lebron the same way. Well, maybe not in the same exact way because Lebron is not a Laker.