Who is the 'greater' player?
6"5 Kobe Bryant or 6"3 Jerry West?
What exactly do you mean by "important"? Because he was 'the logo'? Or because of his work as a GM?Jerry is the most important Laker ever but if we're talking strictly about play on the court then I've got to go with Bean.
West was the best guard in the league for AT LEAST 5 seasons (Depending on your feelings towards Hondo in the early 70s, maybe 7 seasons) and was the best OVERALL PLAYER in the league in '69 & '70.Have to say it's Kobe. He's arguably been the best guard in the league since 1999 when West might have never been at any point in his career. Not to mention 5 rings in a 29 and 30 team league.
Kobe's been in the limelight so long I think his career will start to get underrated the longer it goes on. Hell when he was 19 he was the headline in the 98 ASG along with Jordan.
Because of his work as GM.What exactly do you mean by "important"? Because he was 'the logo'? Or because of his work as a GM?
In terms of on the court play - I too am inclined to side with Bryant, but I think it's a hell of a lot closer than most people realise. A lot of people think of West as a small, unathletic white-boy who couldn't dribble with his left hand. I mentioned their respective heights in the op....there is less than 2 inches between them. Kobe is just under 6"5 barefoot, and West was AT THE VERY LEAST 6"3 barefoot (According to a reliable source who has done the research). How many people know that? Sure, Kobe still certainly has the athletic edge, but I think West makes up for it with his fearless, relentless will and determination. He didn't play above the rim, but had a reckless abandon that proved to be unstoppable (Although this abandon did cause a ridiculous amount of injuries. No one in history got injurd more often at the exact wrong times than West).
He was the first modern all-around superstar 2-guard. He paved the way for the David Thompsons, Michael Jordan's, Vince Carter's, Kobe Bryant's and Dwyane Wade's of the world. He was never not a top 5 player for over a decade, and was the undeniable best player in the world in '69 & '70. He was robbed of an MVP, a Finals MVP AND a 2nd championship. I think he would be seen in a much different light if people looked into his career a little more deeply.
Hondo was a forward?West was the best guard in the league for AT LEAST 5 seasons (Depending on your feelings towards Hondo in the early 70s, maybe 7 seasons) and was the best OVERALL PLAYER in the league in '69 & '70.
Kobe certainly wasn't the best guard in the league in '99, '00, '04, '05 and '11. Though, he was the best player in the world for 5 full seasons between '06 and '10.
Hondo was a wing-man. He split time between SF and SG. On the whole, he played more minutes at SF, so yeh, call him a small forward if you want.Hondo was a forward?
I really didn't phrase my statement well. On a season by season basis Kobe certainly loses a couple in this 13 year stretch, but that fact that he was in the argument with about 10 different rivals that flickered in and out most with only a couple years contention is pretty remarkable. Not even Jordan had that, since Magic was clearly better until 86 and he only played 11 seasons as a Bull after that.
I'll take West over any player in his era that wasn't a center (including Big O and Elgin). He just had a tenacity, hunger to win and desire for perfectionism that was unmatched.
It's actually pretty remarkable how similuar he and Kobe are. Maybe the fact that he was looking in a mirror is why West was so determined to acquire him.
His career is a great balance of longevity and dominance... which is why it puzzles me that some guys in his own era (Duncan, Hakeem) are rated ahead of him. It goes back to my earlier point, that people are tired of him being in the limelight. We are already reminiscing about Duncan's all-star days... even though he came into the league after Kobe and has already turned into a mere star player.
In your opinion, did Reed deserve both the regular season MVP and Finals MVP in 69/70?Because of his work as GM.
And you can play the "what if" game with any player. What matters is what actually happened and how well a player preformed individually.