Paul Loses to Kobe Bryant’s Hype Machine Again

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Published: May 15, 2009

All of the NBA’s regular season awards have now been announced.  Chris Paul landed himself on the 1st Team Defensive squad, the 2nd Team All-NBA squad, Fifth in the MVP Voting, and 6th in the Defensive Player of the Year award.

That’s an impressive set of awards, but I’ll be honest: CP3 deserved the 1st team All-NBA Award.  CP3 also deserved more than 5th in the MVP voting – and both should have come at the expense of Kobe Bryant.

I’m sorry – it’s true.  The LA hype machine has inflated Bryants reputation way beyond reality.  He’s not the best player on the planet.  That’s LeBron James, who has done, and is doing again, what Kobe couldn’t – take a mediocre team to the Finals.  He’s not the best guard on the planet – that’s Chris Paul, who accounted for a larger percentage of his teams offense than anyone since Tiny Archibald led the league in scoring and assists.  He’s not even the best shooting guard – that’s Dwyane Wade – who scored more efficiently this season than Kobe ever has in his entire career.

The difference between the reality of Kobe Bryant and the perception has begun to irritate me.  I’ll admit a lot of that is because it’s leaving my boy Chris Paul out in the cold, but step back and look at the reality of the hard, numbers from the primary perimeter superstars of the league: Bryant, Wade, James, and Chris Paul:

Scoring

Kobe’s claim to fame is his ability to score, right?  Sadly, he’s not that efficient of a scorer:

  • James scores 1.43 points per shot(pps).
  • Paul scores  1.42 pps. 
  • Wade scores 1.37 pps.
  • Bryant scores 1.29 pps. 

Some will claim his lesser efficiency is because he has to carry the offensive load and create shots.  Sorry, that doesn’t work either:

  • Wade used 34% of his teams posessions. 
  • James used 32%. 
  • Bryant used 30%. 
  • Paul used 28%.

How about the other major stats:

Rebounding
  • James grabbed 11.9% of available rebounds when on the floor. 
  • Paul grabbed 8.7%.
  • Kobe grabbed 8.2%. 
  • Wade grabbed 7.8%. 
Assists
  • Paul assisted on 33.4% of his possessions.
  • James assisted on 21.1%. 
  • Wade assisted on 20%. 
  • Bryant assisted on 15.5%. 

Defense

What about defense, where Bryant has a reputation as the best perimeter defender known to mankind?

  • The average NBA PER for small forwards this season 15.7.  Against James and the Cavaliers, they averaged a league-worst 12.6 for a drop of 2.9.
  • The average NBA PER for point guards this season was 17.1.  Against Paul and the Hornets, they averaged a 3rd worst 14.9 for a drop of 2.2.
  • The average NBA PER for shooting guards this season was 15.7.  Against Bryant and the Lakers, they averaged a 3rd Worst 13.7 for a drop of 2.0
  • Against Wade and the Heat, shooting guards averaged a 5th worst 14.2 for a drop of 1.5.

Funny.  Again the best Kobe can do is third best of the group.

Okay, so the numbers aren’t coming down in favor of Kobe.  How about the other stuff?

Leadership

C’mon – it’s a wash between these four guys, but if I really want to get nitpicky, Bryant is the only one who has been called out as a poor leader during his career.

Team success

Hey, Bryant’s finally cracked the top two!  That’s nice, but let’s play pick a player.   You’re building a team to play this season alone, eliminating worries for age.  Who do you take from these lists:

Category Lakers Hornets Cavaliers Heat
Primary Big Man Pau Gasol David West Zydrunas Ilgauskas Udonis Haslem
1/2 Season Big Man Andrew Bynum Tyson Chandler Ben Wallace Jermaine O’Neal
3rd Scoring Option Lamar Odom Peja Stojakovic Mo Williams Michael Beasley
Alternate 3rd Option Derek Fisher Rasual Butler Delonte West Mario Chalmers
X- Factor Trevor Ariza James Posey Anderson Varejao Daequan Cook

Right.  The Lakers own 3 of those categories and come in second in the other two.  Kobe is surrounded by the best set of teammates any superstar has in the league – and we’re supposed to give him the lions share of the credit for their 65 wins?  Please.

So let’s do another pick a player.  Which would you take if you had one season to play?

James, Paul, Wade or Kobe?

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