With Lebron James heading to the Miami Heat, they will become the team to beat. Regardless if James no longer has to be the man every night now that he's with the Heat, he's still better than Kobe Bryant and here's five reasons why.
Lebron James is six years younger than Kobe Bryant and is heading towards the prime of his career in terms of age.
Byrant on the other hand is getting up there in age, and as last year saw, injuries could play a big role in Kobe's future.
Now that James has signed with the Miami Heat, he actually has two other players to take the scoring load off of him. In Cleveland he never had that. Sure, he had guys who could score but none of them were able to create their own shot.
Bryant with the Lakers has a tremendous supporting cast as well with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom, but even with them, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are even better.
The myth that keeps being played is that James is taking the easy way out because he doesn't have to carry the load. Well, the same thing can be said about Bryant.
In game seven against the Boston Celtics, wasn't it Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher hitting the big shots?
James has taken his lumps while in the playoffs from his Finals appearance and being swept by the San Antonio Spurs to game six against the Boston Celtics.
He knows what the playoff atmosphere is like, he's had tremendous moments while with the Cavaliers, such as when he went off for 25 straight points against the Detroit Pistons, hitting game winners against Orlando and Washington.
James has the experience in the playoffs to help the Heat win a ring.
Bryant on the other hand has never been in a situation where he has had to be the main source of scoring for the Lakers. The only time he actually had an issue the following season Pau Gasol was brought in to remedy the situation.
Before Gasol, Bryant got to ride on the back of Shaquille O'Neal for three championship rings.
With James there was never going to be an addition like the Lakers had with Gasol, so James went to Miami.
James' unselfishness will help Wade and Bosh get open looks. In the offense now James doesn't have to score to be effective and if he is scoring that will open up passing lanes for a cutting Wade or Bosh. It's pick your poison with the Heat.
As for Bryant, the closest he came to that was while he had Shaq and that was because Shaq demanded a constant double team which freed up lanes for Kobe to drive to the hoop.
Yet, Kobe has always been known as an unwilling passer, as he's aged he's gotten a little bit better at trusting his teammates, even with that being said he still has a tendency to force shots rather than looking for an open teammate.
Lebron isn't a lockdown defender yet but he can make up for that by his athleticism. If he gets beat on a drive he can get back into the play and block the shot. He can also recognize when a teammate gets beat off the dribble and either get in the way of the player with the ball or block the shot.
Offensively, when James wants to get to the rim he can get there at ease. There's no player in the NBA today that matches up with James' size and strength.
Bryant doesn't drive to the rim as much as he used to, so he settles for mid-range jumpers and a variety of pump fakes hoping to draw a foul.
Defensively Bryant has never been known as a lockdown defender when he puts out an effort he does have the ability, but usually it's for a game, then he relies on someone else to put that defensive effort on.
There's a reason why the Lakers won the two championships, it was because Bryant got help defensively from Trevor Ariza and now Ron Artest.