What will Kobe do upon his return?
Posted by: SPQR on Apr 16, 2012 - 05:27 PM
In light of the Andrew Bynum’s and the Lakers stellar play in Kobe’s absence, there has been much debate about what it means, and what it will mean.|
I have read some members saying that we must forgive some of Kobe’s biggest supporters, for taking shots at Drew. That some of them are living in the past. That change is hard. Not easy to accept.
I can understand that. And there is merit to those comments. Yes, change can be difficult. Espeically when it comes to fans perceptions of an iconic player on a beloved sports team. And Kobe is so much more than even iconic.
I have also read some remarks saying that there is worry about the team adjusting to Kobe’s return.
Now all these things can be discussed, argued and debate all year on LTB. But in the end, they are just words; articles of disagreement. In the end, they have no purchase on events that transpire on the court; just grist for the LTB discussion mill.
But unfortunately for both the team and the fans who live and die with it, these idea’s will actually have a very strong impact on the Lakers when Kobe returns from his hiatus. Because his reaction, how he decides to comport himself on the court for the rest of the year and his career will have a direct bearing on what happens to this team.
Because it shouldn’t be the team that has to adjust to his return, it’s Kobe who should have to adjust to the reality of where he and this team is in the year 2012.
It doesn't matter if some of Kobe's fans are decieving themselves, living in the past, still viewing him as a 27 year old monster surrounded by a mediore team populated by average players. Nor does it matter if others think that of them.
What those fans think and say, doesn’t really matter. It is their right to think and say it. They are just thoughts and words on website. It affects nothing in real Lakers basketball life. Just as nothing any of us say here does.
The real problem is, Kobe is also living in the past. And that’s where things get downright ominous for the team. Because what he thinks, what he does, most assuredly affects this team right down to its very core.
With Kobe at 33, and with players like Drew and Pau and yes, Sessions and others, there is NO WAY in hell we should be going into almost every game knowing Kobe will get off the most shots; not only us knowing, but more importantly, our team knowing and the OTHER team knowing: The team that has to defend us. The team whose job of defending us you want to make as hard and varied as possible.
The shots on this team should be predicated on who we play, the defense they play, the mismatches, ball movement and who is hot. Nothing less than that. Night after night. Some nights it will be Kobe’s night. Others Drew. Others Pau. Some perhaps even Sessions. And others a total team shooting effort, spread out like butter on toast.
But it should NEVER be one person’s personal purview, game after game. Not on this team. Not if you really want it to be a team, to be all that it can be. Not if you really want to maximize your chances to win a title.
To just arbitrarily decide Kobe will almost always get the most shots is suicidal to what his best for this team. It plays into our opponents’ hands and ties our own. It makes us easier to defend, easier to beat. And why on earth would any fan of the Lakers...or player on the Lakers, want that? It is in direct contravention to the current reality and talent on this team, Kobe’s age and smart basketball.
We actually went through his exact same thing a few years ago. Kobe missed some games. The offense took off in every respect, and people asked, "Will the new improved offense stay when Kobe returns?"
Well, it did not take a genius to answer that question. Anyone who knew Kobe after watching him all those years knew what would happen.
And now, with Kobe even older, Drew even better, the great addition of Sessions and the flourishing play of Pau, Metta, Barnes and Blake, the question is asked again.
And if Kobe’s answer is the same, it is easy to see the end results.
That answer will bring three bottom lines: this team will not be as flexible, as good or as efficient on offense as it should and could be. Number two: it will make us easier to beat in the playoffs. And number three: Kobe, yes, the great Kobe Bryant, he of the five rings and countless scoring records, will end up, through the feeding of his ego, hurting this team.
And you know what? No five rings, thousands of jaw dropping shots or incandescent games excuses any player hurting his team. No past history, for anyone, any player, allows something like that to happen to the team, the organization, the other members of the LAKERS TEAM. There are no excuses at all for taking a team that could possible win a title and mitigating and attenuating those chances just for a blood sacrifice at the altar of one’s ego.
It is as inexcusable as it is foolhardy. It shows a complete contempt for everything but yourself.
Are these hard words?
Sure they are. But if Kobe does listen to the darker angels of his nature, he will earn every single one of them. In spades.
If Kobe at 33 can look at things objectively, we will see a big change in his game when he returns. And this team would have a chance to soar. To become an elite team. Maybe a machine.
And if he doesn’t do it, if we don’t see it, if we return to Kobeball, if we lose in the playoffs playing Kobeball, please don’t come on here decrying his teammate’s inadequacies and the front office for failing Kobe Bryant.
Because that will be as big a waste a time as this whole season will be if we do end up playing Kobeball upon his return.
A lot of interesting things have happened this year. And I have no doubt much will yet unfold throughout the rest of the season and our playoffs.
But the most seminal, the most important, the most indicative of what fate will eventually befall us is this: What will Kobe Bryant do upon his return?