The more I dig into Kobe’s career, the lower he ranks.
What Kobe fans tell you:
The truth about Kobe fans:
At first I had him a lot higher in the top 7. That was because back then I was naive and believed all the stuff said about him online being a cold blooded killer, tough competitor, super clutch, unstoppable scorer, carried a team to 2 rings beating all those tough teams largely by himself, 12x All-Def etc all the stuff casual fans like to hype up about Kobe. This was circa 2010 when I was just starting to do my NBA rankings.
Then Lebron won his 2 rings in Miami and moved ahead of Kobe on my list. Then Duncan moved ahead of him too after his 5th ring. So then Kobe was about #9. He stayed here for a long time, until the past few years my friend (who is a huge Jordan and Lebron fan and watched all of Kobe’s games as well) didn’t have Kobe in his top 10 and when I asked why, he told me to watch full length Kobe playoff games and not just the regular season highlights and then note how many truly all time great performances he had.
So then I dug deeper into his playoff games. Wow. Now I know why Kobe fans don’t really talk about his postseason games. It’s not that he’s bad in the playoffs oh no.. he’s good, sometimes very good, rarely great though. His playoff performances are more befitting of a top 20 player than a top 5 player like people think though.
Facts about Kobe in the postseason:
-His playoffs PPG is about the same as his regular season PPG – there’s a 0.6 PPG increase but it’s not a substantial increase. Many other players have higher playoffs PPG than Kobe does.
-His peak playoffs PPG of 32 PPG is likewise surpassed by many other players even non top 75 players like Spencer Haywood and Bernard King
-He only has 1 Finals averaging over 30+ PPG. Players like Curry, KD, Baylor, and even Bob Pettit all have more.
As you can see, Kobe is not even in the top 10 of most 35+ pt Finals games
-His playoff high of 50 points is 31pts lower than his regular season high
-His best playoff games can be counted on one hand: 2001 vs Kings Game 4, 2001 vs Spurs Game 1, 2006 vs Suns Game 6, 2008 vs Jazz Game 2, and 2009 vs Magic Game 1. That’s really it. The rest are kind of ho-hum 25–35pt games (if this seems harsh to you btw go look up Jordan, Lebron, KD, Curry, Giannis, Luka, Hakeem, Shaq etc any of their playoff games and compare).
-He’s very mediocre in elimination games.. he averages 22 PPG on 41% shooting. The most damning example being the 2006 series vs the Suns where he scored 24 points in the Game 7 but was outscored by Leandro Barbossa and lost the series from being up 3–1.
-Likewise he averages 41% shooting in the Finals.. that’s not good
-All advanced analytics PER, WS/48, VORP, Win shares, Wins produced, etc have Kobe’s impact far outside the top 10
-Kobe has one playoff buzzer beater and is 7/28 on clutch shots in the playoffs
-Kobe has rarely locked up anyone in the playoffs and has been outscored often. Jalen Rose outscored him by 8 PPG in the 2000 Finals. Iverson outscored him in the 2001 Finals. Rip Hamilton outplayed him in the 2004 Finals. Paul Pierce outplayed him in the 2008 Finals. Melo had a duel with him in the 2009 playoffs. Jason Terry outplayed him in the 2011 playoffs. Duncan outscored him in the 2002 playoffs. No, seriously. Look at this. Although Kobe fans like to make a big deal out of Kobe beating Duncan more, Duncan (who is not known for being a scorer) outscored one of the most ‘unstoppable’ scorers in his prime (lol).
-Conversely, Kobe has been locked up many times. Examples being Tayshaun Prince in the 2004 Finals, James Posey in the 2008 Finals, Shane Batter in the 2009 Rockets series, Jason Kidd in the 2011 Mavs series etc
-Gasol and Odom’s impact in the 2008–2010 playoffs is greater than or equal to Wade + Bosh’s impact with Bron’s Heat. Just look up the numbers.
-Kobe’s Lakers had more wins than ANY of the 50+ win teams he beat in the playoffs, so all those 50+ win teams means nothing.. Lakers wasn’t the underdog in any of those series
And this is just for the playoffs. In the regular season having only 1 MVP is definitely a bit of an issue when putting someone in the GOAT convo.
So given all this, that’s why it’s always unbelievable to me fans online will just casually insert Kobe in the GOAT conversation because he’s ‘similar’ to Jordan and he scored all these points in the regular season. It’s ridiculous to me. I’m not trying to be a Kobe hater but if you actually do research into his performances, his impact is more similar to a top 20 player than a guy in the GOAT convo.
Brainwashed Kobe fans… I would bet any money these people only ever watched Kobe highlight reels and never did any research into his performances.
^ That long writeup revolves around one thing: Pau Gasol not being on the NBA top 75 team (which was a snub). lol
^ Kobe had maybe a grand total of TWO playoff series during 2000–2002 where he was ‘better’ than Shaq. Lebron has only disappeared in one Finals series that I know of.. in 2011.
^ Use Kwame + Smush as scapegoats of course
^ Suns were missing Stoudemire and Raja Bell for one game, also Kobe had Phil Jackson a FAR superior coach to Mike D’Antoni.
^ notice all this casual stuff about rings, regular season points, top 75 teammates, 50+ win teams, and all def? And NOTHING about his actual postseason performances?
^ after 2005 hand checking rules were taken away the league became weaker. The late 2010s were a very weak era for basketball. Kobe’s Lakers and Big 3 Celtics were the only real powerhouse teams.
^ Kobe fans not only voted Kobe above Lebron, they put him as the GOAT athlete against Ali..
^ As mentioned, Gasol and Odom performed better than Wade + Bosh in the playoffs…
^ Bron never got clamped by Barea. This is a hater myth that keeps spreading, that’s why there’s no footage of it.
^ Again.. Gasol and Odom did BETTER than Wade + Bosh in the playoffs!
^ This is the most unappreciative fanbase I’ve ever seen and it’s all because they are KOBE fans not Lakers fans..
^ nothing related to Kobe’s actual performances in the playoffs, as usual, plus a lot of fact twisting
^ Kobe lost against these guys and almost lost again if not for Gasol and Artest’s clutch play…
^ Why does everyone think Kobe was playing with scrubs from 2008–2010? He had such a great team, and his teammates get so underappreciated during that time.
^ That’s because players who played against Kobe only know his 1v1 abilities (which were VERY good) and don’t really watch all of Kobe’s games
^ Sure, just pretend Shaq didn’t exist
^ This revisionist history of Kobe and Shaq being ‘equal’ has got to stop… literally Shaq was better in every playoff series except for maybe TWO from 2000–2002
^ Ofc after Kobe’s tragic death, he’s only been more deified since then
^ again the 50 win team stuff and who was or wasnt an all star… this is all casual talk. None of these Kobe fanboys talk about his actual performances in the playoffs…
^ lol yet Timmy has won more than Kobe
^ Notice how he mentions very out of prime Ben Wallace and Mike Bibby and Rondo for Lebron, yet doesn’t mention out of prime Dennis Rodman and Mitch Richmond for Kobe? And leaves out Eddie Jones and Nick Van Excel and Gary Payton coming off an all-star season? Yet mentions Smush and Kwame? Talk about cherry picking.
^ Personal insults. What a surprise. No analysis whatsoever.
^ Zero analysis. Buzzwords like ‘killer instinct’. Of course