Friday, June 6, 2008

Very Interesting

Here’s something that every critic of Dirk ought to read:

Career Regular Season Averages:
Kobe: 25.0 points, 45.3% FG, 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists
Dirk: 22.4 points, 47.1% FG, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists

Career Playoff Averages:
Kobe: 24.2 points, 44.6% FG, 5.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists
Dirk: 25.3 points, 44.7% FG, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists

Career Finals averages:
Kobe: 23.3 points, 41.2% FG, 5.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists
Dirk: 22.8 points, 39.0% FG, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists

Now, obviously Kobe is better than Dirk, and with the game on the line Kobe is perhaps the most valuable player in the NBA, while Dirk usually chokes at the end. However, the stats reveal that Dirk is the one who steps up his game when the playoffs come around, while Kobe slips a little bit when compared with the regular season.

But what’s more than that, people such as my brother criticized the way Dirk played in the Finals a couple of years ago against Miami, because Dirk had a couple of bad games, while Dwyane Wade played phenomenally. But how about this: Kobe Bryant has been the the Finals four times now (before this season), and his Finals numbers are only slightly better than Dirk’s. If Dirk was mediocre for one series, Kobe has virtually duplicated those scoring and shooting numbers over the span of four series.

And for the record, in game one of this year’s Finals, Kobe scored 24 on 9/26 (34.6%), with 3 rebounds and 6 assists.

Anyway, all this points to the argument I’ve tried to make again and again: the only real reason people hate the Mavericks and Dirk is because they lost to Miami. People can talk about how they lost, but the fact is that Dirk’s numbers were just fine, and no one thinks particularly less of Kobe, even though Shaq was the MVP of all three championships Kobe won, and even though Kobe’s numbers in the Finals are only slightly better than the numbers Dirk put up when Dallas lost.

I feel the sting of the losses, and I think criticisms for that are completely fair. What I don’t like are smoke screen arguments, such as criticism of Dirk’s stats. With the game on the line, give me Kobe. But don’t tell me that the Mavericks lost the championship a couple of years ago because Dirk’s shooting percentage was kind of low.