LeBron James Is Better Than Kobe Bryant Ever Was

The Los Angeles Lakers may have beaten the Miami Heat in their latest matchup, but LeBron James has eclipsed Kobe Bryant as the league’s best game-changer since Michael Jordan…Cue the eye roll in Southern California.  Yes, Bryant is a prolific scorer—no one converts on impossible shots as often—but James plays with an incomparable skill set and employs the kind of leadership Bryant has never embraced.

As with previous years, James’ numbers are staggering (27.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 6.6 apg), but at 55 percent from the field this season, it’s his efficiency that’s most impressive.  The only non-center among the top six in NBA shooting percentage, James’ feat is particularly impressive considering he’s attempted 679 total shots.  Only Kevin Durant (775), Russell Westbrook (747) and Kobe Bryant (934) have hoisted the rock more often. 

And if you think 55 percent is a fluke, think again.  James’ trajectory has been remarkably consistent.  He’s shot under 47 percent from the field only once (his rookie year) during his career, and boosted his shooting percentage each of the past five seasons.  As for Bryant, he’s never reached the 47 percent mark, and at 43 percent from the field this season, he sits firmly in the middle of the NBA pack at 65th.

Perhaps as important, James’ statistical achievements have persuaded his teammates to imitate his discriminating shot selection.  Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and Joel Anthony are all thriving on career-best shooting percentages, and the more selective approach has the Heat leading the league in scoring efficiency.  At 45 percent from behind the arc, the improved mindset has been particularly lucrative for Chalmers, who’s connecting with greater frequency despite upping his attempts.  The blueprint has been simple.  With James pinchi...

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