We’ve heard this story before, but with different players. Many said that Jordan shot too much, but he also has 6 championship rings to basically say “who gives a shit.” Did Iverson shoot a lot? Yes. But he was also forced into a role for most of his career that certainly didn’t help his chances of winning a title. He needed a true point guard to create shots for him. He wasn’t built to shoot 20+ times a night, while trying to hand out 10 assists consistently.
What about Kobe Bryant? You know, the man who reportedly slept with over 100 women behind his wife’s back in Los Angeles, who has 5 championship rings to go along with a career average of 19.4 shots per game (Remember, that’s just average). Now, turning 34 in August, Kobe’s aging. He has a bad knee, an arthritic finger on his shooting hand that in turn, altered his shooting style, and now has a torn ligament in his right wrist (an injury that would sideline most, but he’s Kobe).
Kobe is Jordan tough and has his work ethic, so what’s a wrist injury? You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s a wrist injury in basketball you moron?! It’s everything!” It might be everything to everyone else, but not Bean. His jumpers are still falling and that beautiful baseline fade is still fallin’, nothings changed except his dreadful 20 percent from 3s.
Yet, he continues to shoot those 23 shots a night this season:
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wajnarowski. “ You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
Yes, he’s averaging the third-highest shot attempts of his career (23.5 in 2002-03, 27 in ’05-06) just to get his 27.6 points per game, but he’s still shooting 44 percent from the field.
Which, for Kobe, is just about right.
Other than Bryant and Gasol being the main focal points on offense, big man Andrew Bynum has finally come into his own. And, more importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). In his first six games back with the Lakers, Bynum’s averaging a phenomenal 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds a night (11 defensive rebounds).
L.A. might have the best Big Three on paper right now in the league.
As Dime Mag’s own Sean Sweeney pointed out today, despite the Lakers having arguably the best trio in basketball right now, they’re still average offensively with their 94 points per contest. Their defensive could be better, too, with their allowance of over 100 points a night, which places them at 15th in the league.
L.A. missed out on their much needed point guard when the NBA decided to pull the plug on the Chris Paul trade. Hell, they couldn’t even get J.J. Barea. They’re slow, their perimeter defense is almost non-existent, and the exact same can be said for their “tough guy” Matt Barnes.
So what will the Lakers do before the March trade deadline to better their chances at advancing further in the playoffs? Dwight Howard, maybe? But would you really trade for him if Bynum’s playing this way? Because, as of right now, Bynum’s the best big man in the league. Could they maybe snatch up a guard from their neighbor’s down the street (Clippers)? Who knows.
But one thing’s for certain: “I’m going to do what I do,” Kobe Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”