Kobe Bryant vs. Jerry West: Do Career Numbers Favor West over Kobe?

Popular theory says Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will soon surpass Magic Johnson as the greatest player in the history of the franchise, if he hasn't already, but there is also a small but vocal contingent that says Bryant must first pass Lakers legend Jerry West.

Most Lakers fans feel Bryant cleared the West hurdle once he captured the franchise's career scoring record, but is the sum of Kobe's 27,000-plus points greater than the pieces that led to West's 25,000?

West's career averages certainly make a convincing argument.

From 1960-74 West averaged 27.0 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds while connecting on 47 percent of his shots from the field. Conversely, Kobe has averaged 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 45 percent from the field during his 15-season career.

If you didn't notice, West just happens to hold a career edge over Bryant in each statistical category.

That's not even considering that West, who was one of the game's greatest jump shooters during his era, didn't have the benefit of the three-point line at any point in his career.

I guess if you hold up Kobe and West's career averages beside each other and factor in the point that West could have been a great three-point shooter, West would surely win the debate.

Unfortunately for the small West contingent, the conversation doesn't end with career averages, since there are several other important factors that should be taken into consideration.

West was one of the NBA's most dominant scorers of his time, but Bryant still managed to lead the league in scoring one more season than West did.

Bryant may never be the distance shooter West was, but he has been a good enough long-range scorer to hold a share of the NBA single-game record for three-point field goals made in a game. If his career ended today, Bryant would rank on the top-20 a...

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