The Lakers struggles this season have been front page news. How could they not be? With the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the firing and hiring of Head Coaches Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, respectively, this season has commanded nothing short of top attention.
To the surprise of most, the Lakers’ off-season moves to bring in top offensive talent, Nash, and defensive talent, Howard, has not panned out. At least, not as far as wins go.
With a record of 20-26, the Lakers are currently 10th in the Western Conference and four games out of 8th.
No one, besides perhaps the Lakers fanbase, has taken these struggles harder than Kobe Bryant. Makes sense, considering Bryant may be one of the most proud players in the league. He has also seen more victories than most other players too.
It seems Kobe has had to learn a hard lesson; his selfish scorer ways have been not only unnecessary, but seemingly counter-productive. 21 times this season Bryant has scored 30+ points. The Lakers are 7-14 in those games and 13-12 in games when he scores under 30.
Recently, Kobe has taken on the role of not only scorer, but facilitator. Sound familiar?
Michael Jordan was not revolutionary because he could score. Wilt Chamberlain scored. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored. Jordan changed the game by the way he scored, passed AND rebounded, making his teammates better.
Without Phil Jackson around implementing his triangle offense, Kobe has turned over a new leaf, or at least the last four games. Bryant has averaged 11 assists per game the last four games, up from his career 4.7 per game average.
The Lakers record the last four games? 3-1.
Now we’ll see if Kobe can keep it up.