Links To The Present: December 24th, 2009

December 24th, 2009 by John Krolik

-David Thorpe (insider only) with the idea to compare Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. He does the “skill-by-skill” breakdown approach, with categories like shooting, pure scoring, rebounding, and intangibles weighted on a 1-10 scale, and has LeBron barely coming out on top. I’ve read easily 20 or 30 of those about LeBron and Kobe in my life, because I enjoy pain, and this is maybe the first time I can ever remember coming out on top when someone went the “skill-by-skill” route in comparing them.

I definitely enjoy the good analysis on display (as always) in Thorpe’s article and like that he went against some of the conventional wisdom surrounding the two. For example, he has LeBron as the better outside shooter because he’s a better shooter on threes and long twos, but says that Kobe has the better shot selection, which is true. Also, he has LeBron as the better man defender but Kobe as the better help-side defender, which is the reverse of what most casual fans would say.

However, as much fun as “skill-by-skill” is as a parlor game and can be a great way to analyze players, it’s not the best way to figure out which player is better. For LeBron and Kobe, why is rebounding given equal weight as a category to scoring? Why is impact in transition a category but post-up moves aren’t? And on and on and on. If the idea is to find out which player is “better,” the focus should be on what kind of impact a player makes, not how he makes that impact.

-The Kamenetzky brothers, now a part of the ESPN Los Angeles roster, have a podcast up with Brian Windhorst. You should listen to it.

-Yes, I’m leading off with three ESPN links in a row, but darn it, they have good Cavs stuff up today. Here’s a roundtable discussion regarding Cavs-Lakers, with a lot of pretty good answers to the questions.

-For Kings folk, here’s an excellent little nugget from “Exhibit G” at Sactown Royalty, begging for folks to wait for Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin to actually play together for a little while before declaring that they can’t play together.

-Please, boxing. Don’t do this to us.

-Kurt Helin of Forum Blue and Gold puts “The LeBron/Kobe debate” under his list of grievances on “Lakers Festivus.” I like Kurt.

-Another note on Simmons’ trade column: If the Cavs end up with Chris Paul and retain Varejao, Delonte, and Mo Williams before the trade deadline (and after January 15th,) I’m taking the weekend off from school, flying to Cleveland, and we’re all doing shots.

-Alright folks, there shall be much more on this Christmas Eve, including some heavy-duty Laker previewing, but that’s all for now. Until later.