Some people believe that Kobe Bryant is on his last legs. The Kobe that were used to seeing, the guy that could will a team to victory on his own is no longer. But that’s what happens as players get up there in age.
Not everyone is as lucky as Tim Duncan. Greg Popovich can keep him fresh because of the depth and talent on the Spurs. Kobe doesn’t have that luxury; this is a team that had the worst record of any Lakers teams ever. They only won 21 games last year. You can’t expect a competitor like Kobe to just sit back and watch his team lose games, even if he is in the twilight of his career.
This is a man that has won 5 championships. Even Laker greats such as Jerry West and Magic Johnson have said that Kobe Bryant will go down as the greatest Laker of all time. You can make an argument that he is one of the best players of all time let alone greatest Laker.
But that’s a topic of discussion for another day.
If the Lakers are to have any hope of making the playoffs this year, the team is going to have to come together and compete as a team. Last year there was too much isolation basketball, the team would give the ball to Kobe and stand around and watch him take a contested shot or pass the ball out for a last second shot.The offense was inefficient because of this.
They ranked 24th in the NBA in offensive efficiency last year. They also ranked 8th in the NBA in percentage of points coming off of two pointers. This shows that the Lakers attempted way too many mid-range jump shots last year. With the NBA moving towards more pace and space basketball, the team needs to start attempting more three’s because taking long contested two’s isn’t a good idea when trying to have an efficient offense.
They also need to step up on defense. They gave up the second most points allowed to teams, only the Minnesota Timberwolves were worse. That isn’t going to cut it in a brutal western conference, were your going to be competing with some of the best players in the NBA on a regular basis. Adding Roy Hibbert should help, he allowed opponents to shoot 42.7% at the rim last year. So having a rim protector like him should help sure up some of the defensive problems. But the perimeter defenders also have to give a better effort on that end of the floor.
If the team can actually play defense this year, (Teams are too good in the West. If you don’t play defense you won’t win many games.) And move the ball on offense to help bring the efficiency up, the team will be able to compete. If not this is going to be another long season for Lakers fans.
Lets hope that doesn’t happen though, for the sake of the greatest Laker of all time.