Food for thought as LeBron James advances to the conference finals for the fifth straight year: Since 2001, when stats first started being computerized in accordance with when they occurred during the game, both James and Kobe Bryant have attempted 10 shots in the final five seconds of regulation or overtime in a playoff game. James has made five; Bryant has made one (Michael Jordan, for comparison, has also made five, but, in 11 attempts).
If you compare the number of points each player scored in those situations compared to what the league averages, and then give each situation appropriate leverage depending on how much it increased or decreased the percentage chances of victory, James has contributed 8.51 points above average – far and away the best in the NBA. Bryant has contributed 9.14 points BELOW average – far and away the worst in the NBA. In fact, he’s more than five points behind the next-worse guy. He’s 17.65 (!) points behind James. Hell, he’s 11.69 points behind Hedo Turkoglu.
Bear in mind these statistics are prone to extreme outcomes because they come from such small sample sizes. And I’m not saying Kobe Bryant isn’t a great player. I’m just saying the majority of people probably overrate him. And for the 34% of survey respondents who said that 52-year old-Michael Jordan would beat 30-year-old LeBron James if they played 1-on-1 today, well…
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