Once Steve Nash Returns, Will Kobe Defer?
His ability to create opportunities for his teammates is unparalleled as he will always maintain his dribble, even in tight situations because he is so adept with a basketball in his hands. With Mike D'Antoni now at the coaching helm, Nash should become the focal point of the offense with Kobe Bryant taking a back seat.
Now I know what you're thinking. Kobe take a back seat? Are you insane?
I could be insane. But hear me out. Kobe Bryant has never played alongside a playmaker like Nash, ever. Nick Van Exel manned the point in Kobe's early years, but soon after he played with Derek Fisher, Smush Parker, Steve Blake, Darius Morris, etc.
Kobe has always been a ball-dominant off-guard who would create opportunities for himself first and foremost, and look for the open guy when he drew double or triple teams. Now that he has a point who is completely comfortable in the head coach's system, will he be able to defer to him on offense? Can he allow another player to be responsible for his nightly scoring? Can he trust his point guard to get the job done or will his natural instincts that have driven him for over 15 years take over and cause a backcourt rift.
This issue will become the Lakers question of the season. If Kobe can somehow transition into an off-the-ball scorer this season (upon Nash's return), the Lakers will have the opportunity to compete for a championship. If he continues to dominate the ball while leaving Nash as an off guard, this Lakers team will prove unsuccessful. Nash is most effective with the ball in his hands because he is unselfish and savvy.
Will Kobe defer? Probably not. And that's why the Lakers will not advance further than the Conference Finals.