Kobe Steals LeBron's Mojo, Ranks 4th in Points in the Paint

You know how the argument usually goes, right?

Kobe Bryant proponents claim that he is the best player in the NBA because of his fully rounded game and his ability to score on teams in every way imaginable; they claim he can't be stopped because no team is capable of defending all of his many, varied weapons.

Meanwhile, LeBron James advocates claim he is the best player in the NBA because, while his skill set is more limited, his singular talent — getting to the rim for dunks and layups — is much more dominant than any of Kobe's single talents; they claim he can't be stopped because the easier-said-than-done task of keeping him out of the paint is nearly impossible. They also claim that while Kobe is a bigger threat due to the complexity and breadth of his skill set, LeBron is a more consistent threat due to the simplicity of his dominant skill.

Even the most passionate of LeBron fans isn't foolish enough to claim that LeBron is more skilled than Kobe. To them, it's a question of effectiveness, and they believe the sheer power and force of LeBron's limited skill set is equally effective, in terms of producing NBA success, as the awesome breadth of Kobe's all-around game, because of LeBron's ability to consistently get (and convert) high quality looks at the hoop — that is, points in the paint.

All of which makes a golden little nugget found in ESPN's Weekend Dime very interesting. Details after the jump...

ESPN included the following chart in their Weekend Dime (#3), making a point Lakers fans will no doubt relish: Three of the NBA's top five scorers in the paint are Lakers. That's music to our ears here at SS&R, and spells problems for 29 other teams in the League.

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But that's not all. Notice who is on that list ... and who is not. What does that say for the Kobe/LeBron discussion? And while we're at it — score another one for Kobe in the overall "Kobe Decline Watch," which is much predicted but continues to show no indication of actually happening yet.

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