It’s fun to compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan, but looking at the playoffs stats of Kobe’s 3 finals runs from 2008-2010 versus LeBron’s 3 finals runs from 2011-13 is a lot closer. In fact if you ignore the metrics and just look at the actual numbers, it’s very tough. Everything is extremely close except LeBron has 3 more rebounds per game and Kobe has three more points per game. Turnovers are even. Assists are nearly even. TS% is nearly even, LeBron is .005 better (or 1/2 a percentage point better).
I didn’t expect that. LeBron is touted as a pillar of efficiency, and Kobe is thought of as something of a conscienceless volume shooter, but the numbers show relatively even efficiency and production in the playoffs.
I tucked MJ’s 1990-1992 playoff numbers into the bottom there. They aren’t pace-adjusted or anything, so they can be quibbled with if you feel it necessary, but his advantages in efficiency and scoring are significant enough that I’d predict a pretty decent lead even if Kobe and Bron gained a possession in the translation (I’ve run pace adjustments for both in the past over these spans of years, and it does amount to approximately 1 extra offensive and 1 extra defense possession per game, not enough to make a major impact).
The figures in this post aren’t intended to prove anything in and of themselves. The numbers just surprised me enough that I felt like I should share them.