Kobe Bryant had racked up a combined 39 assists in three games heading into Wednesday's contest against the Phoenix Suns.
The Los Angeles Lakers won all three of those games, sparking talk of a potential turnaround.
But the 92-86 loss to the Suns on Wednesday showed that there is no connection between the Lakers winning and Kobe passing more. The reality is Bryant is a scorer first and foremost, and he should not be asked to constantly swing the ball around, especially with Steve Nash on the team.
Bryant had nine assists in Wednesday's game, but he also shot just 7-of-17 from the floor and had six turnovers. It's part of the reason why he posted a plus-minus of minus-eight for the game.
Of the 15 shooting guards averaging 30 minutes per game or more this season, Bryant ranks 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio, via Hoopdata.com. Of the 14 shooting guards that averaged 30 minutes or more last season, Bryant ranked 12th.
Get the picture?
While Bryant certainly possesses the ability to swing the ball around and set up his teammates, it's actually hurting the Lakers more than it's helping them.
Bryant is one of the greatest shooting guards and scorers of all time. Especially with the collection of underachievers on the squad's offense these days, he should not be giving the ball up so much.
When his teammates convert, it gives the impression that he should be passing more, but in reality he's still the team's best offensive threat. When he tries to be a point guard, he's actually doing opponents a favor.
That doesn't mean Bryant shouldn't pass. He does need to get his teammates involved. Otherwise, the team falls flat (the Lakers are 1-13 in games in which he has three assists or fewer).
But asking him to be another point guard on the team beyond Nash isn't playing to his strengths and, frankly, doesn't make Los Angeles a better team.
Nothing Bryant has done this season has led to the Lakers' demise. It's up to the rest of the team to come around. He shouldn't be expected to try to get everyone into a rhythm offensively.
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