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Old 12-18-2017, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
4,209 posts, read 2,823,898 times
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I started watching the NBA in the 99-00 season, and Kobe Bryant was my first "favorite player". He's the player that made me fall in love with the NBA. I wanted an afro just like his lol...

How many years was Kobe actually the undisputed greatest player in the game?

The last year he was a consensus Top 10 player was 2012-13; obviously his last three seasons were injury-riddled and he had declined greatly. By my count, his first year as a Top 10 player was 1999-00 At the earliest----though I think an argument can be made he wasn't truly a Top 10 player until the next year. But being generous and completely encompassing his prime, Kobe was a Top 10 player for 14 years of his 20-year career...

When did he become a Top 5 player, and when did that run end? I personally view 10-11 as his last year as a Top 5 player, the year the Mavs scorched him in the playoffs. I don't think he became a Top 5 player until 2002-03, so I'm giving him 9 years as a Top 5 player. However...I guess it can be argued that 2001-02 was his intro as Top 5...

So when comparing Kobe to the other elite players of his generation--and so there's no confusion, I agree he was brilliant and only few people have ever been better--, keep in mind that Kobe's prime (2000-2013) also coincided simultaneously with the primes of Duncan and Nowitzki (did either of those guys have a year as #1 player in basketball?); Kobe's prime also intersected with the primes of Shaq, Iverson, KG, McGrady; and Kobe's prime saw the arrival of Lebron, Wade, Paul, and KD. So all things considered, I'd like to hear everyone's analysis of Kobe's career, during the time he played...

I'm having trouble believing he was ever the undisputed best player in the game beyond maybe a year...
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:30 PM
 
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Not sure if he was flat out the best many years but perhaps the most entertaining player. A ball hog that could actually win titles playing as a ball hog. Kobe’s Best years just happened to intersect with arguably top 10 players like Duncan, Shaq and Lebron plus top 25 players like Garnett, Dirk and Wade (Nash was good too). All of those players were capable of having seasons as the best player in basketball. Take the 2011 finals for example, Dirk and Wade were good enough to be the two best players on a court shared with prime Lebron.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:29 PM
 
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When you factor in defense, the main impediment becomes Tim Duncan, until Lebron grows into his game but by then Kobe was starting to decline.


I'd give him perhaps 2005-06 but it's a tough discussion because you have Duncan, Lebron and Shaq all overlapping him and depending upon the year it's hard to say he was clearly better...but if you had to start with a year then I think that's the strongest argument.

Basically after Shaq left and he adjusted to it after a year or so he finally reached his full power imo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_B...Regular_season
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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This is an interesting question, for sure. Thanks OP.

You could say, IMO, that Kobe was the best player in the NBA during the 05-06 and 06-07 seasons. Before that it was a tossup between him and several other players. After that it's a tossup between him and Lebron (and later injuries put this to rest as you noted already). 05-07 is when I would say he was the best player in the League even though his best individual results didn't align with his best team results as well as they did for Jordan and Lebron.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:37 PM
 
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So in hind sight if you could go back to 2001 and pick one player to start a team for the next decade (through 2010), who would it be? Isn’t that the more important question rather than looking at individual seasons? My guess is that people will split pretty evenly between Kobe and Duncan. Kobe may not be the unanimous #1 pick for the decade, but Duncan is no slouch and has a case for top 7 or 8 all time. During that span Kobe has a regular season and playoff average of of 29/6/5...including 4 rings.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:52 PM
 
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First off, let me say that Kobe was an incredible basketball player and certainly one of the premier players of his generation. That being said, his legacy is vastly inflated because his persona developed into legend and he became an icon of the game. Some players get that treatment, others don't.
For some sense of comparison, Roger Federer is probably the greatest tennis player of all time, but even if Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic were better (and they still might be when all is said and done), they will never even approach Federer's deified status.
As for what year/s Kobe was truly the best player in the game, that question is difficult to answer for a few reasons. Firstly, it's very subjective and secondly, I think the game was still a little more position-oriented then. Players have to be more malleable and versatile now, but back then a Kobe and Duncan had radically different games and were both effective. That being said, there were probably a few years that Kobe held the title of best player, but it's difficult to nail down. I'd analyze him year by year through the mid-2000s and compare him to Duncan, Lebron, and others but I'm kind of lazy rn lol.
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Old 12-20-2017, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjv007 View Post
First off, let me say that Kobe was an incredible basketball player and certainly one of the premier players of his generation. That being said, his legacy is vastly inflated because his persona developed into legend and he became an icon of the game. Some players get that treatment, others don't.
For some sense of comparison, Roger Federer is probably the greatest tennis player of all time, but even if Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic were better (and they still might be when all is said and done), they will never even approach Federer's deified status.
As for what year/s Kobe was truly the best player in the game, that question is difficult to answer for a few reasons. Firstly, it's very subjective and secondly, I think the game was still a little more position-oriented then. Players have to be more malleable and versatile now, but back then a Kobe and Duncan had radically different games and were both effective. That being said, there were probably a few years that Kobe held the title of best player, but it's difficult to nail down. I'd analyze him year by year through the mid-2000s and compare him to Duncan, Lebron, and others but I'm kind of lazy rn lol.
This is an excellent summation and generally about how I feel. I'm not sure Kobe ever had a year he could be called undisputed #1, but I guess most of us fans realize that he and Duncan were co-MVPs of their generation....

I'd disagree that his reputation has inflated as time has passed. I think with the new analytics-driven NBA centered on efficiency that has caught hold the last 3-4 years, his reputation has declined, even if only slightly. At his peak Kobe was regarded as an assassin, someone who was a ball hog but his inefficiency was a backstory because of his ability to volume score and the notion that he could carry talent-poor teams. I still remember having Kobe and Lebron arguments in 2009, when obviously Lebron didn't have the accolades or accomplishments at the time to equal Kobe, but he was probably already a better player. That wasn't the common thought then, and even now it will inspire some debate, but virtually any statistical comparison and to an extent even the eye test bear that as true. But Kobe didn't play in an era where efficiency was a staple--efficiency was a backstory...

In retrospect I think we see Kobe more in depth, as a flawed player whose sheer knack for scoring, no matter the cost, was all-time elite. And he was a great defender for a period, though I also think his defensive reputation has leveled off in this era as well, from what we thought of him as the time, thanks to the new analytics we now have. We also have to point out how his reputation as a more likeable guy has increased with time, which is an about-face from his persona most of his playing career. And good for Kobe!

All that said though, i hesitate to say there was ever a year, maybe one at the most, that he was #1 in the sport, but I recognize his greatness and like others, I look back on his career with nostalgia and fondness!
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:27 AM
 
51,887 posts, read 41,765,307 times
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My process was to look at the all-nba teams and if you can't even make the first team them there is no way you can be considered the best player in the league that year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-NBA_Team

So, you scroll down and notice the 2005-06 year Kobe was first team, Duncan 2nd team (struggled with foot problems that year).

Lebron, Shaq, Dirk, Nash were also 1st team.

Then you look at individual stats and he had 35ppg on 45% shooting that season, arguably his best statistical season playing 80 games. He scored >2800 points that regular season.

Shaq - Only played 30mpg, clearly on the decline
Dirk - Mediocre defense and about 700 points less in regular season. Not at his peak yet.
Nash - not a chance
Lebron - still developing, likely would not have been 1st team except Duncan had foot problems that year.

I think that's his one clear year at the top by himself.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,252 posts, read 26,220,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
So in hind sight if you could go back to 2001 and pick one player to start a team for the next decade (through 2010), who would it be? Isnít that the more important question rather than looking at individual seasons?
Not necessarily. If we're talking about a decade time window, who would pick Michael Jordan over Grant Hill or Penny Hardaway in 1996?
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
4,209 posts, read 2,823,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
My process was to look at the all-nba teams and if you can't even make the first team them there is no way you can be considered the best player in the league that year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-NBA_Team

So, you scroll down and notice the 2005-06 year Kobe was first team, Duncan 2nd team (struggled with foot problems that year).

Lebron, Shaq, Dirk, Nash were also 1st team.

Then you look at individual stats and he had 35ppg on 45% shooting that season, arguably his best statistical season playing 80 games. He scored >2800 points that regular season.

Shaq - Only played 30mpg, clearly on the decline
Dirk - Mediocre defense and about 700 points less in regular season. Not at his peak yet.
Nash - not a chance
Lebron - still developing, likely would not have been 1st team except Duncan had foot problems that year.

I think that's his one clear year at the top by himself.
This is a great look and I think you're spot on!
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