Kobe Bryant vs. Carmelo Anthony: Who Is the Purest Scorer?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IDecember 24, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers plays against Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks  at Madison Square Garden on December 13, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 116-107.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks square off on Christmas Day the viewing public will get their second opportunity to see the NBA's top two scorers in Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony do what they do best.

Anthony's Knicks won the first meeting in New York on Dec. 13 by a 116-107 margin, but Bryant slightly won the individual scoring duel 31-30.

Bryant will be looking to even the score when the teams play again, and he will have an extra weapon in his arsenal when it comes to Steve Nash, who was out with injury during the team's first meeting.

Nash figures to get Bryant plenty of open shots against the Knicks, and Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton will certainly be looking to get Anthony the ball, so there is definitely a chance that we could see a fireworks display from one or both players.

Both Anthony and Bryant are considered two of the game's smoothest players, and arguably the purest scorers as well, but does either one hold an advantage over the other?

Anthony and Bryant are similar size, and they both thrive on the perimeter and for the most part their career scoring numbers have nearly mirrored each other.

Anthony has averaged 24.8 points per game for his career, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field, 33 percent from long range and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Bryant has averaged 25.5 points per game during his 17-season career and shot 45.3 percent from the field, 33 percent from the three-point line and 83 percent from the charity stripe.

It's difficult to give Bryant or Anthony an edge based on their statistics, and it's just as hard to base a decision on their court mechanics, which are some of the prettiest in the game.

Bryant and Anthony are both fundamentally sound in their offensive games, and they are smoother than most players when they are operating as well, which means they look really good doing it.

Both players have extremely good footwork with or without the ball, and both Anthony and Bryant excel at creating space off the dribble by utilizing head fakes or a step-back move.

However, there are a few things that separate the two players and one in particular that may give a slight edge to Bryant.

Bryant will probably finish his career as one of the top two or three scorers in NBA history, and the sheer volume of that statistic is something that Anthony will never be able to equal since he trails Bryant all time by nearly 14,000 points.

But numbers aren't everything, and the ability of Bryant to evolve his offensive game over time is really what separates him from Anthony and most of the NBA's other top scorers.

Bryant's attention to detail from his post game to his superior footwork on the perimeter is unrivaled in the sport right now, and for the most part Anthony has been the same scorer from Syracuse to the present.

That's not to take anything away from Anthony because the style has certainly worked for him, but Bryant's ability to adjust and change his offensive game over time is what makes him the purest and best scorer in the NBA.