Team Kobe vs. Team Rodman

Posted on September 3, 2010 by


Ethan Sherwood Strauss – of Warriors World Net – recently asked me the following question:

“Who would win, five prime Dennis Rodmans vs. five prime Kobe Bryants?”

For my answer, let’s just review all of Ethan’s post:

Because it’s September and because the Dubs are daring me to conjure something about Rodney Carney, I asked economist/statman/hoophead Dave Berri this old musky question:

“Who would win, five prime Dennis Rodmans vs. five prime Kobe Bryants?”

I assumed he’d choose Rodman, because the Worm bests the Mamba in Berri’s Wins Produced metric. His answer surprised me:

“As for Rodman vs. Kobe… people often argue that a team of Rodmans (or a team of just Ben Wallace, or a team of Bieidrins) wouldn’t be very good since no one can score.  That might be true, but a team a team of just Kobe or just Iverson wouldn’t be too good either.  After all, Kobe can’t guard a center and he can’t rebound as well either. As for a team of Kobe vs. a team of Rodman… well, Rodman can’t bring the ball up the court.  So that is a problem. He also isn’t much of a scorer.  But he would tend to dominate the boards, which might be good since he would miss a lot of shots.  On the other hand, Kobe could bring the ball up the court and get his shot off.  But he better make it, since he won’t get many second shots.  Put it all together…. I think I take Kobe. Rodman is going to lose too many possessions before he ever takes a shot.”

Not sure I’m too sold on 2005 Kobes enduring the press thrown by the frothing flock of 91’ Rodmans, but then again, I believe Bryant to be the most overhyped guy in NBA history (albeit a good player and a joy to watch). And yes, point taken, the idea that a player’s worth should be valued in terms of how he and four clones would perform in an alternate alien universe? Questionable. Still, I love hypotheticals like this–not because they unlock some grand secret–but because they stoke my imagination in a way visions of dinosaurs used to. And before you confidently tell me that Kobe’s the obvious pick, remember: Dennis Rodman ripped down a jaw-scraping 18.7 boards per game.

So what do you think, who would win? What other impossible matchups would you love to see?

Speaking of Berri, he recently called Monta Ellis the most overrated player of 2009-2010. I have no qualms with Berri’s numbers on Monta–I just disagree with his measurement of ratedness. The basketball cognoscenti seem wise to the turnovers, aware of the defensive deficiency. As for the actual GMs who run this league…I’m hoping an Iggy for Monta deal happens sooner than yesterday.