5 Reasons Kobe Bryant Is Actually Hurting Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, he is the leading scorer in the league. He has never had a problem scoring.
But I assure you, there are a few things Kobe could do more of and do less of that would make the Lakers more successful moving forward this season.
Bad Shot Selection
Kobe has never had the best shot selection.
He is a fan of fadeaway jumpers with two defenders on him and contested triple-clutch layups in the lane.
We tend to look past this because he amazes us by making these brilliant shots from time to time. However, it comes down to getting the best shot available on the floor, no matter who is on the court.
It's a little too late to ask Kobe to change his game up now, but if he wants to get back to his winning ways, he should become more of a distributor and take better shots in the flow of the offense.
I'm not trying to tell Kobe Bryant how to play the game of basketball, but I'm likely not the only one who thinks his shot selection is far from the best.
Not Satisfied with His Current Team
Kobe Bryant has repeatedly come out and said he does not believe the team will look the same by the time the trade deadline comes about.
What this tells me is that not only does he know the current roster is not capable of winning a championship, but also that he does not trust the players he has around him. This is more apparent than ever when he hesitates to pass it to the open man and instead settles for a bad shot.
It is clear Kobe is seeking change in the roster, and it seems as though he has given up on the players he currently has around him.
Doesn't Look Inside Enough
The media continues to fool us into thinking that Kobe "saves the day" or once again Kobe hits the "clutch shots" at the ends of games.
However, let's just take a look at the Lakers' last game where once again Kobe "lifts the Lakers past the Toronto Raptors."
For starters, there is no reason the Raptors should have been in the game with LA. The Lakers jumped out to a hot star and ended the fourth quarter up 34 to 19.
The reason they got off to such a good start had to do with one thing and one thing only: They were getting the ball inside.
Both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol finished the first quarter in double figures, while Kobe only had two points. Yet, the Lakers had a 30-plus-point quarter and held the Raptors to less than 19.
Nevertheless, for the rest of the game Kobe was more aggressive as far as his shot attempts.
The Raptors crawled back into the game slowly but surely, and Kobe had to hit some big shots at the end to escape with the win.
In reality, if the Lakers—in particular, Kobe Bryant—would continue to feed the post all game long and utilize their two seven-footers, they would be much better.
No Longer Sets the Defensive Tone for His Team
Kobe has been named to the NBA All-Defensive first team nine times. However, he no longer plays with the defensive passion we have seen him play with in previous years.
With Derrick Fisher being one of the worst starting perimeter defenders in the league, Bryant needs to be setting the defensive tone more than ever. Instead, teams come in and torch them on the offensive end. The Lakers really do have the ability to be a solid defensive team despite having Fisher starting at point guard.
With Bynum and Gasol, two seven-footers waiting inside, there is no reason the Lakers shouldn't be better on the defensive team.
However, at the end of the day it starts with Kobe Bryant, the team's leader. If he isn't playing hard on defense, he can't expect his teammates to, and he's getting blown by just as much as Fisher.
When Kobe steps it up on D, the Lakers will.
Simply Going Through the Motions
All these reasons bring me to the fact that Kobe is simply going through the motions. I mean, Kobe said it himself—he can score 28 points in his sleep.
Nobody will ever say it, but he has given up on his team and doesn't think his team can contend for a championship, despite what he may say.
In last year's playoffs it was proved that the Lakers can no longer turn their play-hard switch on and off when they got swept by the Mavs.
If they do not turn it around soon, they are in danger of not only coming into the playoffs as an extremely low seed, but they are also in danger of not making the playoffs in an extremely deep Western Conference.
It's no secret the Lakers' success lies in Kobe's hand, but just because he is scoring does not necessarily mean he is doing everything he can in order to help his team win.
He's got to be a distributor, a leader, a scorer and become an even smarter player as he gets older, and he also learn to trust the teammates he's got around him.
The sooner he trusts them, the easier it will be on him and the more his chances increase of capturing that sixth ring, which we know he wants more than anything.