Before I start, I would like to say that I feel Kobe Bryant is a very good player and is the second best shooting guard in the history of the league.
However, I find it completely ridiculous that Kobe is now regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Even more absurd is that Kobe is regularly being compared to Michael Jordan.
All this after winning one championship without Shaquille O'Neal.
Against Houston, I was shocked. Everyone picked the Lakers to come out on top easily, especially when Yao Ming went down for the rest of the playoffs. However, Los Angeles actually ended up playing a seven-game series against the Rockets.
Next was Denver. Now, the Lakers actually played pretty well against the Nuggets, but they were not exceptional. They exceeded expectations, but Denver really wasn't that talented of a team.
Finally, there was Orlando. Again, Los Angeles played well, but they got lucky.
Orlando could not hit the shots they were making against Cleveland, and they did not get the same production from Hedo Turkoglu. They got lucky in several instances; Courtney Lee missing an open layup, Jameer Nelson playing terrible defense against Derek Fisher, and Dwight Howard missing his free throws.
These were not accomplishments on the Lakers's part, but failures on the Magic's.
Now, on to Kobe. His numbers were solid throughout the playoffs and the finals. However, there were a few things I noticed about him. For one, his shot selection was (and still is) very questionable. He constantly takes very difficult shots that only occasionally go in the basket.
When he does make them, we all marvel at the fact that Kobe just made a terrific shot. But what we don't think about is all of the times Kobe will take that shot and miss it. When he does, we just dismiss it as him missing a tough shot.
Towards the end of games, I noticed Kobe missed shots and turned the ball over several times. Often, it was other Lakers making the big plays down the stretch.
Secondly, though it does not directly impact Kobe's play, he complains after nearly every single call he doesn't get. I'm not exaggerating when I say I frequently saw Kobe turn his head and scream at the officials when he would take a tough shot that wouldn't go down.
People argue that Kobe Bryant is a good leader, and for the most part I agree. But that doesn't seem like good leadership. Also, after seeing Spike Lee's movie Kobe: Doin' Work, I began to notice more faults in Kobe's leadership. Too often during breaks in the game, Kobe would tell other players what they needed to do and what they were doing wrong.
He should let some things go.
Finally, Kobe's defense isn't as good as some say it is. Yes, he gets the athletic steals and the crazy blocks, but he isn't really a lockdown defender. Trevor Ariza was the guy the Lakers turned to when they needed big defensive plays. I'm not saying Kobe is a bad defender, just not a great one.
Like I said above, Kobe Bryant is a great player. He is in the top-20 all time, and may even make it into the top-10. All I'm saying is the discussions of him being better than Michael Jordan must stop.