Los Angeles Lakers: The 5 Biggest Adjustments Kobe Bryant Has Made This Season
The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers season can be described in many words: confusing, conflicting, frustrating, among others. The reason behind all the confusion, conflict and frustration has to be credited to the many team adjustments, including its newest acquisitions.
However, the player who has quite possibly made the biggest adjustments this season is the team's longest-tenured star: Kobe Bryant.
Here are five of the biggest fixes No. 24 has made this season.
5: Putting Trust in His Teammates
The Black Mamba has always been known for being the Lake Show's leading scorer, with a penchant for dropping anywhere between 30-45 points per game. However, this statistic doesn't come without some criticism.
Despite defending himself, just like he did to ESPN Los Angeles, many fans question his "ball-hog" antics, claiming that he takes so many shots due to a lack of trust in his teammates.
That being said, this season has been one of change.
Averaging 27.9 PPG in 2012-13, Bryant is learning to rely on those around him, including Steve Nash, Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard. It seems as though the Mamba is finally realizing that it isn't one man's scoring that wins games but rather the effort of the entire team:
You're just trying to do whatever it takes to win. Trying to figure things out, even if you're adjusting your game as dramatically as I have, it's just doing whatever it takes to get your team to win.
Kobe Bryant, John Krawczynski of the Huffington Post—Feb. 2
4: Successfully Transitioning from Various Coaching Styles
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Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich, Mike Brown, Mike D'Antoni. These are just a few of the names that have had the opportunity to coach the 13-time All-Star throughout his career. Traditionally, when Bryant was displeased with a coach's performance, he made sure the Lakers' front office knew about it.
However, he has made a significant improvement in adjusting to the constant changes that have been made in coaching styles recently. Jumping from the triangle offense, a formation he knows like the back of his hand, to the Princeton, and now, the pick-and-roll, Kobe has learned to quickly adapt to his environment, making him an even deadlier Black Mamba.
3: Realizing Nothing Lasts Forever (not Even Him!)
At 35 years old, the five-time NBA champion is realizing that he is going to have to wind it down, both on his body and on the court. With talks of retirement looming around the corner, he knows that he will have to address his future, rather sooner than later.
That being said, he is showing significant improvement when it comes to being the mentor and playing the behind-the-scenes role. Who knows? Maybe, we'll see him running the Xs and Os from the bench in the near future.
2: Increasing His Leadership Role
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Bryant is quickly realizing that his days as the NBA's franchise superstar are progressively coming to an end. He's figuring out that if the Lakers get a win, it may not always be because of any high-scoring antics worthy of a SportsCenter top five.
Knowing this, he is using the knowledge he has acquired over 16 seasons to serve as an unofficial tutor to younger players, such as Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and of course, Dwight Howard.
Bryant can be seen in many a press conference crediting teammates who are his junior. This mentality could possibly be what takes the Lakers to the next level.
1: Keeping a Cooler Head
In the past, when Bryant showed displeasure with the Lakers' performance, he would vocally express it and made sure that everyone heard him. One case that evidently proves this is in 2007 when the Black Mamba was caught on video going off on a profanity-laced tirade, practically demanding that former teammate Andrew Bynum be traded.
Six years have passed by since that incident, and it's safe to say he has done a lot of maturing since then. His calm, yet motivated demeanor has proven to be the catalyst in keeping an already-struggling Lakers team together.