Comparing MarShon Brooks and Kobe Bryant: Ridiculous or reasonable?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Is there any comparison between MarShon Brooks and a young Kobe Bryant?

Coming off of the Nets win over the Kings on Saturday night, one of the big story-lines was how well MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic played off the bench, combining for 29 total points.

While we were able to deem this Teletovic's "breakout game," for Brooks, some were simply calling it a "Kobe-esque" performance. Yes, comparing Brooks to one of the NBA's all-time greatest players, Kobe Bryant.

Now, this isn't the first time we've heard the comparison made, as Brooks was asked about it in pre-draft interviews, even before he entered the league. Brooks himself didn't feel comfortable saying his game was comparable to Kobe's, simply stating that he's "more like Jamal Crawford" than he is Kobe Bryant.

But Steve Lichtenstein, over at CBS New York, among others, seems to think that Brooks does remind him of a young Kobe Bryant.

He writes:

There are times when I watch sophomore Brooklyn guard MarShon Brooks and I think back to a young Kobe Bryant.

He does go on to note an important caveat in that Kobe entered the league at age 18, while Brooks did so at age 23.

He continues:

There’s also no evidence that the competitive drive that propelled Bryant into the upper echelon of the NBA’s all-time greats is inherent in Brooks’ DNA.... But when Brooks has his game going, he is a threat to score from almost any spot on the floor, Bryant’s signature basketball attribute. While Brooks needs to work to improve his three-point shooting accuracy, the combination of his uncanny ability to weave into the lane on penetrations and his deadly pull-up jumper can be pure Kobe-esque.

What we know about Brooks is that, yes, he can score the basketball. There's no question about it. But to call anything he's done over his career Kobe-esque, well, that's where the debate begins... or ends. Many will argue that there isn't even value in having such a discussion.

Well, here's a look at Kobe's rookie season side-by-side with Brooks':

Kobe_bryant_marshon_brooks_comp_medium

Brooks' per-game numbers were better than Kobe's, across the board, however he did also player nearly twice as many minutes than Kobe did, which when extended to a per-minute (or per-36) basis, you can see that Kobe was actually more effective. Also, remember, he was 18 years old at the time.

In looking at each player's second season, respectively, you can see Kobe starting to pull away:

Kobe_marshon_season_2_medium

Now, of course you have to factor in the playing time and the regression in confidence under Avery Johnson, which when you look at per-minute efficiency, Brooks actually isn't that far off from Kobe. Except for, you know, the fact that he's four years older than Kobe was at this point in his career.

In fairness to Brooks, it's actually not fair to compare him to Kobe. In fact, it's not fair to compare anyone to Kobe Bryant.

If you want to talk style, sure, maybe there are moments where he pulls up on a two-dribble step-in and buries a jumper from the right elbow -- reminiscent of, yes, Kobe Bryant. But it's tough to call his performance, including the one against the Kings on Saturday, anything but Brooks-esque.

And you know what, that's not a bad thing. There are some 400-plus players in the NBA who make a living by not being Kobe Bryant.

What Brooks needs to do is be himself. He needs to continue to provide scoring off the bench and work within the rotation. He doesn't need to go out there and "be Kobe Bryant." And it isn't fair to him for anyone to expect him to play at that level.

Lichtenstein concludes:

In Brooks’ case, he doesn’t have to match Bryant’s leap, but I think there’s certain similarities in their skill sets such that the Nets should continue to look to Brooks as a potential cure for some of the woes that have plagued their attack against the better teams this season, at least enough to warrant an encore on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Oh, great, the Nets are in Philadelphia on Tuesday? You mean, the birthplace of... Kobe Bryant!?

[Note: Back in 2011, Kobe's trainer, Tim Grover -- who also worked with Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade -- told Chad Ford that MarShon reminded him a bit of Kobe.]

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