Crafted Sports Report: Who’s the Best: Kobe vs. T-Mac

By Chris Craft
Updated: May 31, 2006

ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Okay it�s about that time for some comparisons. Sports fan love to make comparisons and match up teams and players often from different eras and often their comparisons aren�t feasible. Well we have two incredible players presently in the NBA that have sports fans and industry alike throwing out the �who�s better� argument. These two players are Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tracy �I�ve surpassed my cousin Vince� McGrady.

With Shaq being out at the beginning of this season, we�ve had a chance to see what Kobe can do. Even though it�s not enough to have the Lakers at a winning record right now, the kid almost averaged a triple double for a week earlier this season. Now re-joining T-Mac in Orlando is Grant Hill, but T-Mac is still putting up league leading scoring numbers this year. We know both of these guys can put the ball in the hole, but let�s look at how and their scoring efficiencies. T-Mac just makes things look easy, while Kobe will turn in more �circus looking� shots. McGrady is a much longer player and has a much more smooth form of play, while Kobe is more compact and plays more strong than smooth. Both Kobe and McGrady are variety scorers, but McGrady is more prone to get to the foul line (he�s second to Stackhouse in the league to getting to the charity stripe). T-Mac is a much more efficient scorer than Kobe. I can�t understand some of the shots that Kobe chooses to take; it�s as if Kobe tries too hard to make ESPN�s Sportscenter highlight reel every night. As far as field goal efficiency, T-Mac is almost 50% from field compared to Kobe�s 43.6% and he also beats Kobe in 3-point percentage at 38.6% to Kobe�s 30%. Tracy�s shot just look more �for sure� and fluid than Kobe�s often rushed and overpowering delivery.

What about the other stuff like defense, assists, and rebounds? I can�t really look at Kobe�s current �02-�03 season statistics as a legit representation of what kind of averages he�ll have, because of the current absence of Shaq; but Kobe is currently racking up better numbers in the �other stuff.� He�s edging out T-Mac in rebound, assist, and steal averages while they�re about even in blocks. Kobe just plays harder than T-Mac and is scrappier, which could be the reason that Kobe averages exactly one more personal foul per game than Tracy. Over their careers, things basically even out with T-Mac averaging more rebounds and blocks than Kobe, which makes this �who�s better� argument a very tough call.

Now let�s look at durability. McGrady has had severe back problems in the past, which he seems to have been relieved of. The only time I can think of Kobe being out of play is when he got food poisoning in last year�s Western Conference Finals and maybe an ankle twinge every once in a while. As far as durability, I�ll give the edge to Kobe. Kobe�s motor never quits running, which also goes along with the crazy amount of heart he possesses. Kobe definitely gets the edge with the amount of fire he plays with. I mean come on, T-Mac is explosive but his �Droopy the Dog� eyes makes him look passive at times� a mere aesthetic point.

Now this editorial is only pointing at the athletic ability and play level of these two players. If we look at wins and losses, T-Mac will probably never have the number of championship rings that Kobe has on his fingers; but T-Mac isn�t playing with the most dominant player in the league either (Shaq). In fact, the Magic need serious help inside and then we could tell if T-Mac is capable of leading a team to a championship.

If you look overall, this is very close to call. Kobe leads the league in player efficiency with an efficiency rating of 30.6 while T-Mac comes in a close second with a rating of 29.45. The efficiency formula is as follows: ((PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK) – ((FGA – FGM) + (FTA – FTM) + TO)) / G. Since I�m a sports columnist and I have to make black and white decisions, I would have to go with Tracy McGrady if I had to choose either in a draft. I figure either way, you can�t go too wrong.