Kobe Bryant Is Not the Lakers' Problem

6/24/12 in NBA   |   natsaar   |   160 respect

May 21, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts to being defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in game five of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 106-90.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIREIn a recent article by T.J. Simers of the LA Times, he makes the assertions that Kobe Bryant is the reason that the Lakers will not win another title. His reasons are that Kobe is not the player he once was, and most importantly, he's getting paid too much for the Lakers to mak any big moves and bring in a great squad.

While these are valid concerns, there are still plenty of reasons why Kobe Bryant is highly valuable to the Lakers, both the fans and the team. The first, and most obvious, is that he will always come prepared to play every game.

The Lakers don't have anyone else, with the possible exception of Metta World Peace, who comes to play every single night, no matter what, and never gives up. The image of Andrew Bynum staring into space, thinking about fishing, while Kobe was trying to keep the Lakers in the playoffs is forever burned into the minds of Lakers fans. That was not the face of a winner.

Now, that's not to say that Bynum isn't a winner, because he absolutely is. However, every team needs someone who is the heart, and with the loss of Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher Kobe is that heart. Simers did bring up an interesting stat:

"And Kobe hit 32.7% of his shots down the stretch to place him 109th in the NBA in field-goal percentage. When Bynum was given the chance to shoot in the closing stages of a game, he was successful 82% of the time to place No. 1 in the NBA."

That is a stat a lot of people will use to make their case against Kobe, as Simers does, however, it can't be denied that he has willed that team into many a win. It isn't smart for Kobe to play in the Olympics this summer, professionally, but it is completely understandable why he would want to. He will pay for it next regular season, but he's still not the Lakers' biggest problem.
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6/26/12   |   GeorgeMon   |   159 respect

Kobe needs to change the way he plays. I've been a Kobe fan since the first day he walked into L.A and understand why everyone would be up in arms about the assertion that Kobe is the problem but, as much as I hate to admit it, he is. Kobe runs that team like a dictatorship and players like Bynum and Gasol tune out offensively because the offense runs through Kobe so much. He gets everyone out of rhythm by takeing so many shots and dominating the ball. Kobe is just a little too old to carry a team the way he used to, but then it's also on Mike Brown for not getting Kobe to buy into the system and feed the post.