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Kobe Superteam vs. LeBron Superteam: Who Would Win A 7-Game Series?

Kobe Superteam vs. LeBron Superteam: Who Would Win 7-Game Series?

The debate of a lifetime is who was better between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. In 2009, the Orlando Magic robbed us of the opportunity to see the Finals matchup we all wanted in Lakers vs. Cavaliers. Instead, we were left wondering who would be the true champion in a battle between two of the all-time greats.

It left us thinking about what would happen if the two teams paired with some of their former teammates to form an exhibition game. Bryant won three championships with stud center Shaquille O’Neal and two with Pau Gasol, while LeBron made nine appearances in the NBA Finals with his crew.

If a seven-game series and a ring were on the table, who would win between the All-Kobe and All-LeBron squads? Let’s take a look at the teammates and what would likely happen if this were to go down.

Point Guard: Derek Fisher vs. Kyrie Irving

Derek Fisher vs. Kyrie Irving

Derek Fisher may have never made an All-Star appearance, but he was as reliable as it came when it boils down to starting point guards. Fisher won five championships with Bryant. That is some true chemistry right there. Fisher was a solid defender, game manager, and shot 37% from three-point range for his career. You could do a lot worse when you think of a man to run the offense.

As for Irving, he is one of the best ball handlers we have ever seen. He owns a devastating baseline move that is nearly unguardable. He has also developed a three-point shot that has hovered close to 40% in recent years. While his defense is suspect, his offense is off the charts. Irving won a title with LeBron in Cleveland in 2016, where he made three consecutive Finals appearances. There is not a big sample size in comparison between the two as the two players have played just two games against each other.

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant vs. Dwyane Wade

Kobe Bryant vs. Dwyane Wade

We saw plenty of this in the 2000s. Bryant never met Wade in the NBA Finals, nor the playoffs since Bryant played his whole career with the Lakers in the Western Conference. Bryant won an MVP while Wade entered his prime seasons. That also included two scoring titles where he averaged as much as 35.4 points per game in a season.

Wade also won a scoring title while Bryant was in the league, so this would be a true back-and-forth matchup. In 20 games against Wade, Bryant averaged 26.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds. In those same games, Wade averaged 24.3 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. Bryant is the better defender, but in this matchup, it appears by not much.

Small Forward: Lamar Odom vs. LeBron James

Lamar Odom vs. LeBron James

Having Odom defend LeBron would be a tall task. Odom was at best a Sixth Man of the Year, so in this scenario, he would have to play starting minutes against the second-best player of all time. Odom was a serviceable player that averaged about 13 points and eight rebounds for his career. Odom would need help on the defensive end.

As for LeBron, we have seen him score 50 points on some of the better defenders. He would easily have the best offensive advantage in this series. If LeBron can average a triple-double in the NBA Finals against the likes of Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant, then why wouldn’t we expect anything less here? In 22 games against Odom, LeBron averaged 26.5 points, 7.2 assists, and 7.0 rebounds. In those same games, Odom has averaged just 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Power Forward: Pau Gasol vs. Chris Bosh

Pau Gasol vs. Chris Bosh

Gasol was the perfect fit alongside Bryant when he came over to Los Angeles. He immediately made an impact offensively and defensively and helped the Lakers win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He was a player that could give you about 18 points and 10 rebounds each night. Not to mention, we have seen Gasol go toe to toe with Bosh, where he was the superior rebounder, passer, and defender.

Bosh was the better scorer between the two, but Gasol had more success. In 20 games against Bosh, Gasol averaged 19.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. In those same games, Bosh averaged 18.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. It’s a narrow margin for victory, but Gasol has had the upper hand each time.

Center: Shaquille O’Neal vs. Anthony Davis

Shaquille O’Neal vs. Anthony Davis

This is a hard one to figure out. Both players never suited up against each other and even if they did, Davis was first entering the league, while Shaq was nearing retirement. It would not have been a true Shaq vs AD matchup. All we can do is look back on history. The facts are that Shaq owns a massive side advantage, converts at a high rate in the paint (8th best of all-time), and can block shots when needed.

Davis is a borderline Defensive Player of the Year candidate, can score about 20 points and grab 10 rebounds with ease, and has developed an outside shot. This would be “old school vs. new school” in the element of centers. Shaq does hold the advantage with an MVP and three Finals MVPs to his name, while Davis has just one appearance in the NBA Finals with LeBron.

Team All-Kobe Advantages

The clear advantage in the paint is obvious. Gasol and Shaq appear to be a better combination than Gasol and Davis according to the stats. On paper, Gasol and Shaq should control the boards, which could allow the team to push the ball in transition. Bryant is one of the best one on one ballplayers in the history of the sport, so this would give him plenty of chances to cash in.

Another advantage is having that inside-out game with Bryant and his two former bigs. These two won five championships combined with Bryant, so he has the chemistry. It worked against teams in the past, so it would likely work again here.

Team All-LeBron Advantages

The pair of LeBron and Davis was one of the best duos in transition when the team won the Finals in 2020. Even with LeBron being older, he led the league in assists and many of those buckets were to Davis. Now, imagine having Irving, Wade, LeBron, and Davis as potential combinations. Wade and LeBron are potentially a top-5 duo to ever play together. That ball movement would be crisp and hard to defend.

Another obvious matchup problem is LeBron and Odom. The doubling amount of production from LeBron over Odom has to be a real concern. It would probably force Bryant to switch, but LeBron was just as successful against Bryant. In 22 games, LeBron averaged 28.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists when he played him.

Who Wins A 7-Game Series?

This series would easily be a true back and forth as one game would go one way and the other would go another. In a series that could easily be a coin flip, All-LeBron would win the first game. The All-Kobe team would not make adjustments and try to let Odom contain LeBron, but he would score 35 points to lead the team to an easy 110-89 victory. After shoring up a few things on defense, a rotation of Bryant, Odom, and Gasol would keep LeBron quieter in the second game, as Bryant and Shaq combined for 70 points to lead All-Kobe to a 101-96 victory.

All-Kobe would win their second game in a row with their twin towers in the paint. Gasol’s ability to play outside the arc would pull Bosh out from down below to set up one-on-one matchups between Shaq and Davis. Shaq would use his size to bully the “smaller” center and score 25 points and pull down 19 rebounds, just missing a 20-20 game.

In the fourth game, All-LeBron would pull Davis out of the center to try and bait Shaq from leaving the post. This would allow plenty of pick-and-roll scenarios with the guards and Bosh and Davis. Free throws would be the name of the game as All-Kobe would only make 18-of-37 at the line. That included Shaq missing eight free throws himself. Irving, Wade, and Bosh would make 25-of-31 to win a narrow 100-94 game.

All-LeBron would take the fifth game with another stellar performance from LeBron. LeBron would break out of a tough Game 3 and 4 shooting slump to score 37 points, grab 12 rebounds, and dish out 10 assists for his first triple-double of the series. LeBron would focus on the one-on-one matchups with Bryant and Odom and decimate them with his explosive power. However, a 112-101 victory would be followed with a 121-109 loss with 40 points coming from Bryant because you know he wasn’t going to let this series end in six games.

In the end, the duo of Bryant and Shaq goes to their old school three-peat days and comes together with a performance that shocks the world. Shaq records a 30-point, 20-rebound night as he just completely overpowers Davis and whoever else tries to guard him. Bryant has one of his best shooting nights and scores 50, including the game's last 10 points. LeBron tries to match with 36 points, but the old-school Lakers make their way back to dominance. Despite having potentially five Hall of Famers on LeBron, Bryant does what he does best and that’s winning.

Series Result: Team All-Kobe def. Team All-Lebron 4-3

Series MVP: Kobe Bryant


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