Pretty close. I would say Gervin was a more efficient scorer (had better shot selection) and harder to stop in his era, while Kobe was a more crafty scorer with a wider array of offensive moves. I think Gervin’s game was less of a double-edged sword than Kobe’s game tho, who could win or lose you a game with his scoring (for example, him scoring his playoff high of 50 points against the Suns.. and losing that game).
For those of you who think I’m ‘Kobe-hating’ by saying this, I give you the following points about Gervin:
- Gervin played all of his career in the more physical pre hand checking rule change era. Kobe played half his career in that era. That means Gervin actually dealt with more physical defenses for his entire career and Kobe half. So I give edge to Gervin for that.
- Gervin has a slightly higher regular season scoring average than Kobe 26.5 PPG vs 25.0 PPG
- Gervin also beats Kobe in playoff scoring average 27.0 PPG vs 25.4 PPG
- Gervin has 3 seasons of 32+ PPG in the playoffs, Kobe has 2 seasons.
- Gervin has 4 scoring titles, Kobe has 2.
- Gervin does all the above on 5% better efficiency than Kobe.
- Gervin played half his prime with no 3pt line in place
- For people who think Kobe was double teamed all the time, he had Shaq for half his career and most of the defenses would collapse on Shaq, not Kobe. Who did Gervin have? Who was Gervin’s best teammate? … exactly.
And sure, Kobe has those regular season scoring peaks of 81, 50/60 point games era… all post hand checking rules changes. But when you look at the averages, I think it’s actually quite close and I might actually go with Gervin overall if I wanted a scorer on my team (1v1 I’ll probably go with Kobe tho).