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Thursday, November 17, 2011

WEEK 3, DEBATE 4: Kobe Bryant vs. Chris Paul



Who would you rather have this season: Kobe Bryant or Chris Paul?

"Who would you rather have on your NBA team for this season, Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant? There is really only one answer if you know basketball: Kobe Bryant. There is no one playing this game today who is as complete a player, as smart or as focused as Kobe. And, at age 33, his numbers continue to prove his excellence and durability. For the past 6 seasons, Kobe has played at least 73 regular season games, including 82 last year! During this time, he has averaged 29ppg, 5apg, 5.5rpg and .363 3pt.%. Chris Paul, though only 26, has seen his numbers decrease since the 2007-2008 season after being plagued by ankle and knee injuries. As recently as May 2011, CBS Sports reported Paul as saying, “I’ve just got to keep getting my leg stronger so I can get that lift that I once had.”

Chris Paul is a great player and person; I hope he does get healthy and plays a long time. But for now, Kobe is the player who has been on the All-NBA Team 13 times, the All-Defensive Team 11 times and has 5 NBA Championships. For 9 consecutive seasons, Bryant has been selected by an NBA GMs as the player they most want taking the shot with the game on the line. Me too!!!"

"Kobe is one of the ten best players in the NBA, and probably one of the ten best players ever. The drive that has made him so great, however, has now become his enemy. His knee is such a mess that he snuck off to Germany to get experimental treatment, and his Jordan-hero complex is counterproductive considering the talent around him. With Gasol, Odom, and Bynum able to contribute, the Lakers are better served running their efficient offense (111.0 points/100 possessions, 6th in the NBA) than watching Bryant “doing work.”

Chris Paul, on the other hand, runs an offense like few others can, making All-Stars out of solid guys like David West and serviceable options out of scrubs like Marco Bellinelli. While his knee has been bulky, the lockout-break should help Paul build on his dominant Playoff series against Kobe's Lakers (22.0 ppg, 11.5 apg, 6.7 rpg, 54.5% FG, postseason-high 28.9 PER). And before you bring up that CP3's performance was in a losing effort, remember that five of the top six players in LA's rotation would be the second-best player on the Hornets (Derek Fisher excluded). If Kobe and Paul traded places, the Lakers would still be a championship contender, while New Orleans would be a fringe playoff contender. Kobe is an amazing individual superstar with unmatched will who can still overcome his age to carry his team to a win; Paul is a superstar teammate who elevates others to levels they would never approach without him."

"Kobe Bryant’s drive has not become his enemy; it continues to make him great. The point of playing professional basketball is to win; nobody wants that or works as hard to make that happen as Kobe. And before you argue about him being an individual superstar who cares little about his teammates, let me remind you that only a team wins an NBA Championship. Kobe has undoubtedly made his team better – they have 5 rings to prove it! In addition, Kobe was the team's leader in assists last year. That is not a particularly good thing; Derek Fisher, the point guard, should have been. But Derek is definitely in the twilight of his career and his play is very weak. Kobe was able to lead his team to the 2nd-best record in the West and deep into the Playoffs with virtually no help from his point guard. Imagine what he could do if he had a great point guard like Chris Paul on his team!

The procedure Kobe had done on his knee this summer was non-invasive; it required only two days rest before full resumption of activities. He is getting way more rest than that due to this awful lockout! He will be ready to play and to lead his team to another championship! My money is on the Lakers this year, led by the best player in basketball: Kobe Bryant."

"In Phil Jackson's 20-year coaching career, a point guard has led his team in assists once (Gary Payton in 2003-04, who had problems with the Triangle). The Triangle offense isn't designed for point guards to amass assists, but rather built on movement, allowing high-usage wings like MJ, Pippen, and Kobe to get credited for assisting open teammates within the offense. Kobe gets assists because one of the greatest offensive systems ever runs through him, not because he is trying to get his teammates easy scores.

You ask how good Kobe would be with a real point guard, but how good would Paul be with anyone except Bellineli as his backcourt mate? It's impossible to argue Kobe doesn't have support; the Lakers won the title in 2009 despite his 6-24 Game 7. If Paul has a bad game, the Hornets are assured to lose by 20. Kobe helped Shaq win three titles, then needed big assists from Gasol, Odom, Bynum, and Ron Artest to win two more, and the fact that Shaq and Kobe didn't win more than three together is a blight on both of their characters. Paul hasn't even gotten close to a championship, but that's because he hasn't had the chance to play with anyone nearly as talented as Kobe's Big 5 teammates, nor for a coach nearly as capable as even Del Harris, let alone Phil Jackson. Starting tomorrow, with a blank slate of a roster, give me Paul in a squeaker over Kobe."

Who won this debate? Go to the right sidebar to cast your vote!


  1. Everyone always talks about where Kobe ranks in the hierarchy of all-time players, but I want to know where you guys think Chris Paul ranks in the hierarchy of all-time point guards? I know he hasn't won any championships yet, but the guy has the highest career PER of any point guard EVER (25.22). And it's not like he's a slouch on defense either. To me, I honestly think he's the second most talented point guard to ever play this game after Magic Johnson. What do you guys think?

  2. Ever Phil? After Magic? I really think when we are talking all-time players, disregarding your favorite PER, there are other pgs who come before him. Ason Kidd, who does have a ring; Stockton, who doesnt; even Oscar Robertson, who did everything. Paul is nice, but when looking at a body of work its way too early to give him the second spot. Real talk.

  3. Lawrence, I am not saying that based on his career accomplishments Paul should be considered the second greatest point guard of all-time. I'm just saying that I think you could say he's the second most talented, with the potential to go down as #2 of all-time by the end of his career.

  4. I discount Magic as a pure point guard. He is above a position. I consider Isiah Thomas the best pure PG ever, for now, but Paul is giving him a run for his money. Game 1 of the Lakers series last year was just about the greatest display of point guard play I've ever seen. Paul is better than Kidd ever was. Let CP3 run the floor with K-Mart, Kerry Kittles, Richard Jefferson, and Todd McCullough (just kidding), in the 2001-02 Eastern Conference, and I think the Nets end up in the exact same place: losing to the Lakers in the Finals, except Paul may have actually been able to steal at least one game from Shaq and Co.

  5. Not enough people talk about this: Chris Paul's 2008 seasons was perhaps the greatest stretch a point guard has EVER had.

    His numbers: 23 ppg, 11 assists, 6 boards, and 3 steals. His shooting percentages: .500/.364/.868