My Weekly Sports NBA Roundup
Because sometimes, it’s good to forget about the world and just talk basketball.
Is Kobe a better scorer than Jordan?
Here’s a quick hint: NO!
On Sunday night, Kobe Bryant hit the most important free throw of his career. More important than the foul shot that gave him his 81st point against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. More important than his last one before his injury two years ago. This one free throw placed Kobe as the 3rd highest scorer of all time, surpassing Michael Jordan and trailing only Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For 19 years, Bryant has enjoyed the fruits of being an offensive freak. He’s won five championships, two Finals MVPs, a regular season MVP, and 16 All Star Games. When a prolific scorer plays for nearly two decades, yes, he will get LOTS of shots up. Not only is he the 3rd highest scorer, but he has also missed the most shots in NBA history.
I am no Kobe hater, I love the guy and I am not taking anything away from this milestone in his career. All I am trying to say is…he is not a better scorer than Michael Jordan. Jordan played 15 years in the NBA (4 less than Kobe) and has amounted to similar (if not better) offensive achievements. Jordan averaged 30.5 points per game throughout his career as opposed to 25.4 from Kobe. He also is superior in field goal percentage, points in a season, and has 48 more 40-point games. Keep in mind, Jordan has taken 300 less shots and played 4 less seasons. I think the answer to the question is simple.
The Warriors are not from this planet
The Golden State Warriors were in a tough position this offseason. They had just fired their head coach, Mark Jackson, and were searching the market for the right guy. They were in talks with the Timberwolves concerning a trade that would send players, Klay Thompson among them, in exchange for Kevin Love. People were questioning whether the Warriors were over-valuing Thompson.
Good thing they held onto him.
The Warriors currently top the league with a 21-2 record and are amid a 16 game win streak. Stephen Curry is a frontrunner in the early MVP race and Klay Thompson has played like a max-money player. Not only has the offensive been nearly unstoppable, Andrew Bogut has anchored Golden State’s defense and allows just around 50% shooting from inside the paint. The roster is the most well rounded in the NBA today, filled with shooters, defenders, rim protectors, and facilitators. Steve Kerr has elevated and exposed this team’s strengths, something former coach Mark Jackson failed to do. The team is less isolation and more ball movement, allowing players like Harrison Barnes to move without the ball. And when you’ve got a point guard that can pull up from 5 feet off the line and knock down a shot, things will work out just fine.
James Harden is trying on defense
The Rockets have certainly proved us all wrong (well…I guess just me). In my pre-season playoff predictions, I said the Rockets would struggle without Chandler Parsons and snag a 7 seed AT MOST. Little did I know that James Harden would evolve.
Coming into the season, most people saw Harden as a one-dimensional player…a straight forward, no questions asked scorer. We’ve all seen the viral video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVYJULACcao) that highlighted Harden’s inability to stay with his man; it seemed as though he did not even try at times. This season, it is totally different. Harden is leading the league in points per game with 26.3 and is elevating the Rockets without Dwight Howard. No if, ands, or buts…James Harden is not a bad defender. Far from a bad defender, in fact. In response to the video that humiliated Harden, a YouTube account posted an update to show his improvement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oP4eXW9y7g&feature=youtu.be). He currently ranks 4th in the league in steals per game with 2. That is a stat higher than that of Tony Allen and Kawhi Leonard. Did Harden actually improve or is he now trying his best? Over the summer, Harden got the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the world as a participant in the FIBA World Championship of Basketball. He was mentored by Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, and Tom Thibodeau—one of the NBA’s greatest defensive minds today.