5 Reasons Why Kobe Bryant's Days of Winning NBA Championships Are Over
Kobe's years of contending for NBA championships is quickly coming to an end, and it isn't really all his fault.
The Lakers don't seem to want to add legitimate talent around Kobe, and they don't seem to value his input about big-time franchise decisions (i.e Phil Jackson's Replacement).
Advice for the future years Lakers' front office, when you have a bonafied superstar with an absurd ego like Kobe Bryant, you better include him in every decision you make; even which doughnuts to buy for the Monday morning meetings.
Kobe Bryant won't win anymore NBA championships, not because he can't but more so because the Lakers don't know what to do to help him win.
I'm here to tell you why Kobe Bryant's most recent 2009-2010 NBA title will also be his last.
5. Lakers Foundational Talent Isn't Getting Any Younger
The foundation of the Los Angeles Lakers is the core talent of Kobe Bryant (33 years old), Pau Gasol (31 years old), Derek Fisher (37 years old) and Metta World Peace (32 years old).
Pau Gasol is the only one of those players who increased his points-per-game average after winning the NBA championship in 2009-2010.
Metta World Peace had a steep drop in production from 11.0 ppg to 8.5 ppg.
Derek Fisher dropped from 7.5 ppg to 6.8 ppg, and the black mamba himself, Kobe Bryant, dropped from 27.0 ppg to 25.3 ppg.
While those numbers aren't necessarily terrible, they show the fact that the production of the Lakers foundation is declining—and that isn't a good thing for the Lakers' or for Kobe's chances of winning another ring.
Until the Lakers draft or sign a young big-name talent, Kobe's chances of winning another championship are squarely on the shoulders of the Lakers' aging talent, and I don't think they can handle the weight.
4. Talent Around Kobe Isn't Getting Any Better
Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers right now, and that is part of the problem.
Aside from Kobe and the aging Pau Gasol, there is no top-tier talent on the roster.
I know the Lakers have Andrew Bynum, and for the last five years he has been the captain of the all-hype team, but until he proves that he can produce regularly at an All-Star caliber and not get injured, he can not be considered top-tier talent.
The Lakers need young, athletic talent around Kobe Bryant with players who complement the way he plays the game.
They need athletic small forwards/shooting guards who can cut to the basket with ease and step back and hit jumpers off Kobe double-teams.
No, Lakers, you don't need aging talent like PG Baron Davis, SG Tracy McGrady or SF Grant Hill. The Lakers need talent like SF Caron Butler or SG Jason Richardson alongside Kobe if they want to win a championship within the next two or three years.
That will be hard to do, since the Lakers currently are sitting over the expected salary cap.
If the Lakers don't add some athletic young talent to the roster either in free agency or in the 2012 NBA draft, theirs as well as Kobe Bryant's championship hopes will fly out the window.
3. Western Conference Gets Tougher and Tougher Each and Every Year
That look on Kobe's face of pure shock is what we will be seeing for the next four or five years.
The shock that he is displaying is in response to the athletic and elite talent that keeps popping up in the NBA's Western Conference.
It seems that every year the Western Conference continues to get better and better.
Whether it is the increasingly dominant play of the young Grizzlies and Thunder or the overwhelming consistency of teams like the Spurs and Mavericks, it seems like the Western Conference can't be stopped—not even by Kobe Bryant.
The Western Conference is becoming a league led by the success of young and athletic talent. Kobe's athleticism is not in question, but it is without a doubt declining to the point where he cannot consistently hang with the youth of the league for an entire season.
A lot of people are saying that the shortened season will favor aging veterans because the season won't be as grueling for them.
I tend to think the opposite way—that the players who play with a high energy night in and night out will be the ones who benefit, because the season's length won't catch up to them.
No matter whom the shortened season favors, there is no doubting the fact that the Western Conference continues to get younger, more athletic and subsequently more dominant. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they are moving in a different direction, getting older, slower and less dominant.
The Lakers' inability to hang with the movement of the Western Conference will ultimately mean that Kobe's 2009-2010 championship will be his last.
2. Brian Shaw Didn't Get Hired as Phil Jackson's Successor
If there is one thing you know you shouldn't mess with on the Los Angeles Lakers, it is the ego of Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers did just that when they hired former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to be Phil Jackson's successor without even talking to Kobe about it.
Whether he will admit it or not, Kobe has an ego that is larger than life, and for almost a decade the Lakers catered to that ego.
When they signed Mike Brown instead of Kobe's first choice (Brian Shaw), they stopped catering to Kobe's ego. That couldn't have been made any clearer.
I don't foresee the Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant years lasting too long. After three subpar years with the Lakers, Brown will be out and Kobe will be further away from his prime than he is now, which means no more NBA championships in Kobe's future.
Mike Brown couldn't get the job down with LeBron James in Cleveland, so what makes you think he will be able to get it done with a much more egocentric superstar in Kobe Bryant?
I guarantee the Lakers' first year without the triangle offense will be a mess, which means Kobe Bryant will not be a happy or satisfied Laker come the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season.
1. Kobe's Selfish Play Hasn't Stopped Since 2002—and It Never Will
There is no debating whether or not Kobe Bryant is a dominant player, because he clearly is.
He just isn't as dominant as he used to be, and he needs to realize that.
Ever since Kobe's career year in 2005-2006, when he averaged an absurd 35.4 points per game, his offensive production has been in decline.
While his decline hasn't been as profound as others, it is still happening, and it is the reason why he won't win another championship.
Kobe needs to realize that he isn't the same player as he was even two years ago, when he won his last championship. If Kobe wants to win another championship, he must realize that he can't do it alone. He needs to become a facilitator of the game rather than a pure offensive threat.
If the Lakers are smart, they will bring in some serious talent (i.e Dwight Howard) around Bryant to keep him happy. If they don't, their run of NBA championships will be over, too.
As Kobe gets older, he must realize that he is part of a team and he can't win another championship without buying into that team concept.
He thinks he plays for the Los Angeles Kobes instead of the Los Angeles Lakers, and that has to change.