The last time I did this, I was merely venting frustration. I wrote it in like 10 minutes, and 3 of that was research. Really, I didn't do the topic justice, mainly because I thought like 10 people would see it, and they wouldn't care. Plus, I never claimed to be a journalist, just a fan. So with a clearer head, I will redo this.
Here's how I will rectify this. I'll start by making a few things clear. First, the term underrated.
overrated does not mean "bad".
It simply means, rated higher than deserved. It's the same reason I think Michael Jordan is the 2nd most overrated player in NBA history, not because he's bad, but because people act like there isn't even a discussion as to who the greatest player ever is, when I think there's not only an argument for someone else, but a great one.
The 2nd is how I define a great player.
Here are my criteria:
2. Ability to effect the game in multiple areas (not necessarily versatility)
3. Ability to alter the way you play to better suit the team
Now, your criteria might be a bit different, but I think most would agree that these are generally good criteria to have. Now, here's where I think Kobe fits within those parameters.
Efficiency- He really is a high volume scorer. 45.4% is not good enough. It's not terrible, but it isn't a number you expect from someone who is supposed to be top 10. Scoring a lot is 1 thing, but scoring while being efficient is what separates very good from all-time great.
Ability to effect games in multiple areas- Now he can score, and he is a good defender, but he can't run an offense, he can't distribute effectively (different from running an offense), and he's about average as a rebounder (5.3 is okay, but not great).
Ability to alter game to help team- No. He has to be the primary scorer. He's tried to be a distributor at times and when he does it results in a high amount of TO's.
Versatility- He's a pure 2 Guard. Nothing more.
Consistency- He's very consistent, I will give him that.
There it is, these are my opinions when it comes to these criteria, my stats are later.
I'm removing the hyperbole, and overly abrasive rhetoric.
I think it clouded the argument, so people couldn't see the bigger points I was trying to make, I came off as nothing more than a hater, which I don't think I am.
And perhaps most importantly, I will give the context, which I failed to do previously.
I do not think Kobe is a bad player, and while I don't consider him top 10, I get that there is an argument to be made. Kobe has the best post game for a guard that I've ever seen, and it's not even close. His mid-range game is lethal. He's not a great 3-point shooter, but when he gets into a rhythm he can dominate (see: 81 point game). Here's my top 10, in order this time.
1. Magic Johnson, really no player better fits my criteria better than Magic. He has to be #1. Greatest PG of all time, shot 52% from the field for his career. Triple double machine. And when it comes to versatility, he played Game 7 of the NBA finals at center, and DOMINATED.
2. Michael Jordan, people say he's a high volume scorer like Kobe, but he wasn't. He shot just about 50% from the field for his career. He was a terrific perimeter defender and he was a great rebounder for a guard. Plus, he's by far the greatest scorer of all-time, and his consistency was mind numbing. Kobe wishes he could be discussed in the same sentence as MJ.
3. Larry Bird, He was really the original point forward. One of the greatest shooters ever, great rebounder, and a great passer. Efficient, well rounded, and really played 3 positions while on the court (PF/SF/PG).
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the greatest center of all time. Won a ton of Mvp's, and a ton of titles. He owns the most unstoppable shot in NBA history. He's the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, and was efficient while doing it.
5. Oscar Robertson, I knock him down a little because of era. He had a whole season where he averaged a triple double, pretty much all you need to know about him really, because that sums up his game.
6. LeBron James, I might get some flack for this, but I don't care. He could easily be #1 on this list at the end of his career. 3 time Mvp, already. Just a ridiculous stat sheet. He scores a ton, and does it efficiently. Passes like a point guard, and he's great rebounder. Defensive dynamo, can lock down anyone who has ever played.
7. Tim Duncan, The Big Fundamental. Not a sexy pick, but I think he deserves to be here. Defines what it means to be a power forward. Dominant defender, consistent scorer, and great rebounder. Consistent, efficient, and has skill coming out of every orifice (sorry for the mental image).
8. Bill Russel, 10 titles, and the most dominant defender in NBA history. gets knocked down because he played in the NBA stone age. He wasn't efficient offensively, but he was serviceable, and he gets 3 out of 5 of my criteria and he has to go ahead of Wilt. Really, his D and rebounding is the reason he's here.
9. Julius Erving, People really underrate him. He was a great, and efficient scorer and a great rebounder for a guard.
10. Wilt Chamberlain, Perhaps the most dominating force in NBA history. However, like Russel, he played in the stone age, and was freakishly large for his time. Stats speak for themselves though.
There it is, my top 10, and my reasons for putting them there.
Here are Kobe's stats for his career.
45.4% FG %
4.7 Assists PG
3 TO's PG
5.3 Rebounds PG
Now, the stats I point to that in my eyes knock Kobe out of the top 10 are his FG%, his 3P% coupled with his attempts, and his Assist/TO ratio. I will now tell you why I believe these stats knock him out of the top 10.
All the players in the top 10 I mentioned shoot over, or VERY close to 50% outside of Bill Russell. Kobe doesn't shoot anywhere near 50% (and never has) and doesn't have the impact in other areas the way Russell did.
This is why I say Kobe is a high volume scorer. He's not as efficient as you'd like an elite player to be. It comes down ultimately to doing more with less or less with more. Far too often Kobe goes for the latter. In his mind, it's better for the team for him to keep shooting when he's struggling, when in reality it hurts the team.
In my opinion, you don't judge a player by how well he does when he's scoring a ton and playing well, you judge him by what he does when he's not. Does he keep jacking up shots, or does he start playing within the offense and working to effect the game in other areas. We know what Kobe does.
It's not that he's not a great 3-point shooter. It's that he's not great, yet he keeps shooting them at a high rate, especially in recent years. Since 01-02, Kobe has taken under Four 3's a game only once, and over that same time the highest % he ever had was 36.1%, and he had 7 seasons shooting under 35%, including last year where he took nearly 5 a game while shooting a terrible 30.3%
His 3-point shooting really hurts the team, yet he keeps shooting them at a high rate. Of my top 10 the only great 3-point shooter on the list is Larry Bird, and guess what? None of them took 3's, or long jumpers (for pre 3-point era). they played to their strengths, and ATTACKED the basket. They didn't settle, and Kobe does far too often and when he does more often or not it ends up in a wasted possession and a fast break for the opposing team. They're like turnovers.
Assist to Turnover ratio.
3 to 4.7 is just, bad. Indefensible. you can say he isn't a PG and I say 2 things. Irrelevant because he is a guard, and he has been the Lakers primarily ball handler for almost his entire career, so he should've rectified this problem, but he hasn't.
I'm sure some will say I'm cherry picking stats, or I'm nit picking, but I say you have to nit pick when you're discussing the top 10 and you have to narrow the stats down to the ones you put the most value on to separate the players who are close.
Now, to tie this in to Kobe being the most overrated in NBA history.
Like I already said Overrated does not mean bad. A lot of people, specifically Laker fans, are saying Kobe is a top 5 player, some are saying he's the best Laker ever (which is just blasphemous). Here are their general reasons.
lots of points
They also talk about his 5 rings. Now I'm joking, but not really. Now, 3 of those points are pure conjecture, so the only way I could dispute them is conjecture. the Points, i feel I've already addressed, and the consistency is a check in his favor. The work ethic I won't deny either.
The clutchness, I will dispute. When people say Clutch, so this ties into the 5 rings. Now, I won't say he had no impact on those first 3 rings he got, but let's be real here, that was Shaq. Without Shaq, they aren't even in the championship picture. Kobe was good, but it was as a secondary option, it's like trying to put James Worthy on par with Magic and Kareem or Pippen on par with Jordan.
These past 2 championships were with him as "Bat man". However, they were quite honestly underwhelming. 43% against the Magic and 40.5% against the Celtics, and he averaged 3.9 TO's and 3.9 assists a game against the Celtic. He was better in that latter aspect against the Magic, he still averaged 3.2 TO's, but he also averaged 7.4 assists. So I'll say he was good against the Magic, but against the Celtics he was awful. That goes for the '08 finals too, a series Kobe fans would like to forget, or make every possible excuse for him. So really, his "clutchness" isn't a redeeming quality. And FYI, those stats don't include rebounds, which he did a great job in in 09-10 final, particularly game 7 in which it did have a big impact. I'm just not sure that out ways having fewer points than shot attempts though.
The Leadership. Oh the, Leadership. I have to take a few deep breaths, because this is what angers me the most. For this I will simply point to a recent story. Bynum said Kobe stunted his growth, and Kobe agreed. End of discussion really. It was almost as if Kobe was bragging about it. Kobe has not only demanded he be traded, he's also gone on tirades about his teammates NOT being traded. Is that a leader? Doesn't sound like one. This is a very small factor in my reasoning, but it certainly doesn't go as a plus. To me, leadership is more than being (to use his words) a bastard, which I readily admit he is. Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself.
True shooting % looks like a decent argument, but Kobe only takes 8 FT's a game, and every free throw counts as either 1/2 or 1/3 a normal shot, yet the value of the shot is not weighted into the %. So I don't consider it an accurate measuring stick, so I don't use it. It's just easier to take FT% and FG % as separate stats, with one having far less value than the other. If you disagree, fine, but that's just my opinion.
Kobe has been a really good player for a really long time, but he's not top 5 all-time. He could be the best player on a championship team, but so could guys like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and John Stockton/ Karl Malone, but they didn't get to play with the teams Kobe did, and they aren't making my list either.
If people wouldn't try to say he's top for, or he's the greatest Laker ever, it would be fine. I can't think of another player with his deficiencies who is put on the type of pedestal he is. That's what makes him so overrated, not necessarily his game.
Kobe is great, just not nearly as great as people say he is. And I think I showed that..
NONE OF THIS IS FACT, IT'S ALL OPINION, BECAUSE EVERY DEBATE ABOUT SPORTS IS OPINION BASED.