Former NBA player and coach Scott Skiles made a guest appearance on the Dan Patrick Show a while back. Skiles is very knowledgeable about basketball and was one of the best pure point guards back in the ’90s, and his last job in the NBA was as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. Among several topics, one of the things they talked about was comparing the late great Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Skiles said he never had the opportunity to coach a player of that caliber, and he mentioned their playing styles are very different. With his 6’8″, 250-pound frame, LeBron is one of the most athletically gifted players in NBA history. Skiles thinks that is one of LeBron’s most significant advantages against the opposing players alongside his passing and playmaking abilities. On the other hand, Kobe was more oriented on scoring, and Skiles thinks LeBron is not the type of player that would go on and score 80 points in a game as Kobe did.
“LeBron is just so powerful. The thickness of his body and tremendous court vision. Kobe is a little more slippery. LeBron never scored 80 points in a game, for instance. All the stuff he does, being able to get double-digit rebounds, 15 boards, and does whatever it takes. They are both obviously in the top 5 players of all time. I never had an opportunity to coach a player great, but I would take both of them.”
Skiles also thinks it would be tough to choose between LeBron, Kobe, and Jordan if they were all in the same draft class. Skiles said that would be a challenging assignment for any coach or GM; however, he gave a slight edge to Michael Jordan and would probably choose him over the other two.
Skiles was often the smallest player on the court and had to figure out how to be effective and impose his presence on the game. He was a brilliant floor general who executed the offense perfectly, especially playing for the Orlando Magic. He said it was essential for him and the players he coached how to position themselves in the right way during the game. That is especially important for players who are not so athletically gifted.
“I had to be tough. I’m small and not particularly athletic. You have to get your defensive schemes to a point where the guys move inside and out, and they are in the right spots. It’s hard to take charge, for instance, if you are in the wrong spot. You have to get there early, and there are more guys than you think that are willing to give their bodies up, but they just weren’t drilled enough to know how to get there and things like that.”Scott Skiles, via Dan Patrick Show