The NBA is now nearing the end of the offseason. I have a habit of watching past games and player mixes during the offseason for my love of basketball. Upon watching one of many of the mixes created by YouTubers, I stumbled upon many comments. Many of which are fans firing hate messages at each other:
"you dont know that...and the only reason why lebron wouldn't get 81 is cuz he isnt a ball hog and would never take 50 shots...to do something so pointless...."
"You know what, your saying "you dont know Lebron can get 81" You wouldnt even be saying this if Kobe got it. He made it look like its possible when really its not for anybody else. But Lebron is never going to get 80, 70 or maybe even 60 in a game for that matter. Anyways Lebron is a ballhog, he avgs 21 fg per game, Kobe avgs 22 since lebron came into the league and Lebron handles the ball basically every possesion, so he is a ballhog"
"Kobe and Jordan are the biggest ballhogs in history but they win championships!!! Ballhogging must be a good thing!"
Ballhogging. Nobody likes a ballhog. Basketball is a team sport but the NBA created an atmosphere where there is a focus on individual performances. Nothing makes more money than a pair of Kobe Bryant sneakers or a LeBron James t-shirt.
Marketing 'superstars' is definitely profitable otherwise the NBA wouldn't have done it in the first place.
Being born in the last two decades, the two superstars that I saw most playing on TV are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Both of which are bashed a lot on youtube. Both are called ballhogs but they obviously have different styles.
Firstly, Kobe Bryant. He has a nice strong build but gets most of his points jumpshots over driving but isn't afraid to get to the post whenever he needs to etc...I think his ability to get to his hot spots through getting open or through dribbling is where he shines.
He needs the ball to be effective.
Obviously, with a physique like his, defense and setting screens are parts of his game but on the offensive end, he needs the ball. We often see him handling the ball at the second quarter—the Lakers inbound pass to Kobe Bryant and let him become a combo guard. It then either ends up with a screen by Gasol (or Bynum) and Kobe getting an open look or an open lane.
Or it ends up a passing game with Kobe grabbing the two points.
A younger Kobe Bryant would choose taking on the double team and shooting over them rather than passing to the open man. He does it well but there are obviously better options (perhaps an open Fisher?). Nowadays, he passes it up. Perhaps he has matured and trusts his teammates more, or perhaps its age sucking up his stamina.
Only he knows. But passing it up will lead to one thing and another, the rock ends up with Kobe having the last touch and, more often than less, a swish.
On the other side of America, we have LeBron James. Prospect player. His game involves overwhelming defenders with his tremendous size (even for football, some would say) and slashing his way through to the basket. Ending with either an and-one or at least two chances at the free throw line.
Another nice addition to his array of weapons is his perimeter pull-up dagger—which won the Cavaliers more than one game.
Like Kobe Bryant, this guy gets the ball a lot.
Five out of six times, we would see LeBron James finishing with a pull-up or a drive. The rest would involve LeBron James passing out of a double team to an open Mo Williams or Delonte West for the finish. Either that or Cavaliers are leading by a large margin and LeBron James is benched.
Sounds scary and it is pretty scary.
Hold on a second—didn't I say that basketball was a team sport? How is it okay for Kobe Bryant to have all the shots after halftime and LeBron James to have the ball for most of the game?
Not so long ago, the Lakers were struggling against the Nuggets in the playoff series. Kobe Bryant took a lot of shots and a lot of them were forced. This resulted in a very low percentage game. The Lakers cinched that game but it was no doubt that they could not have done it without Kobe Bryant.
You can see where my stance is now. As long as you have the ability to do so, you should hog when necessary. If you don't and you hog, you are asking to be benched by coach.
The Cavaliers stats plummet without LeBron James. Delonte West can lead the floor but does not have half the presence that LeBron brings with him. LeBron can draw double and, sometimes, triple teams and can pass perfectly to the open man. Whereas nobody else can.
On the other end of the spectrum, we often see teams leading by 10 or 20 late in the game and have the whole bench on the floor. When the eighth or ninth man hogs, they often lose the lead and sometimes lose the game.
Kobe Bryant shooting over 20 people with the whole team open. LeBron James driving blindly without purpose. Carmelo Anthony and his ever so often one-on-one games (though the addition of Chauncey Billups has helped ease this situation a lot).
If you have the ability do it and your teammates entrust you with it, hog.