Evidently the question of whose better is a controversial one, and many of ESPN.com’s writers think the right answer is Kobe. I was toying with the idea of making a chart, but this is so not even close that it’s hardly worth borrowing. Suffice it to say that LeBron is scoring more points on better field goal percentage and better true shooting percentage, plus he has a higher assist ratio and a lower turnover ratio. Plus he’s a better rebounder, and he has a higher usage rate (i.e., does more to carry his team).
It’s true that Kobe’s a better on-the-ball defender, but unless the Lakers have changed strategies radically without me noticing they don’t normally use him in a defensive stopper role so it’s not as if, in practice, his edge on this front is so crucial as to outweigh the fact that he’s worse across all these other dimensions.