November 10, 2009

Is Kobe Bryant the Lakers' Best Scorer of All-Time?

Kobe Bryant's reputation as a scorer will never be doubted but is the the best scorer the Los Angeles Lakers franchise has ever seen?

To wit, here are some of the franchise milestones Kobe Bryant is in the Top Five of (as of this blog post):
  • #4 in Field Goals made
  • #3 in Field Goal attempts
  • #1 in 3-point Field Goals made
  • #1 in 3-point Field Goal attempts
  • #2 in Free Throws made
  • #3 in Free Throw attempts
  • #3 in career points
  • #4 in career scoring average
The list is pretty impressive but there are three other players who are in the top five of the categories I mentioned (except 3-point shooting, which was instituted in the 1984 season): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, and Jerry West.

Kareem accumulated his numbers with a lengthy playing career with the Lakers. Jerry West is currently on top of the franchise scoring list with more than 25,000 points and Elgin Baylor has the highest career scoring average of anyone who wore the Lakers jersey.

But Kobe Bryant edges the Hall of Famers on some aspects: He's the youngest player to 24,000 career points and at pace to overcome Jerry West. On a Per 36 minutes perspective on averages, Kobe Bryant outscores all of them. And one more thing: Kobe is one of two players to score more than 80 points in a game.

At this point, a lot of these numbers can be argued and some intangibles should be taken into account, like West's clutch performance, the playing era of the 1960's of Baylor, and some "unfair" advantages like Kareem's unstoppable sky hook.

So where do you think Kobe Bryant stands as the Best Scorer in Lakers history?

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