An interesting article surfaced this morning that asked a question that seems obvious on the surface. Who was the better performer in their prime, Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady?
After the rapid decline that McGrady experienced in his career due to injuries and other various issues, it’s easy for basketball fans to forget just how productive he was during his prime.
When McGrady played for the Orlando Magic from 2001-2005 he put up remarkable numbers. While he didn’t find the team success that Bryant did with the Los Angeles Lakers, statistically he was one of the best players in the league.
The articles lists Bryant’s ‘prime’ as 2003-07, which once again represents his statistical peak rather than his most successful seasons in terms of wins. The numbers are fairly similar, meaning that the argument may not be as ridiculous as it first appears.
“McGrady was a more willing passer, but you could argue that when Kobe was willing to pass, he was a better passer. In McGrady’s defense, his prime was spent passing to the likes of Mike Miller, Pat Garrity, fat Shawn Kemp, John Amaechi, Bo Outlaw, and Juwan Howard, with his best teammate being Yao Ming. Kobe’s prime was spent passing to Shaq, Karl Malone, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Caron Butler, and Lamar Odom.”
There is no question that during this period McGrady and Bryant dominated the NBA statistically. While McGrady’s career certainly dwindled much more rapidly than Bryant’s, there was a time when they were the most statistically impressive players in the NBA.
For the complete argument be sure to check out Operation Sports Arena.