Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kobe…The Passer?

How long will the passing last?

Things are just so crazy right now in my life that I barely have time for anything. I feel like I’m getting so busy that I need to have Siri remind me to eat at least once a day. Living in Los Angeles is so fast-paced but laid back at the same time. Weird I know, but trust me, if you lived here you'd get it. It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. 

Being an aspiring screenwriter means I’m always busy doing five things. 1) Writing a screenplay, 2) reading a screenplay, 3) making calls to sell a screenplay,  4) researching a screenplay or  5) talking to someone about a screenplay, theirs or mine. That’s pretty much become my life. I can’t remember the last time I watched SportsCenter or PTI or Around the Horn in the pass few weeks. I’ve been almost completely out of the sports loop, save for one thing. I’ve found a way to carve out time for my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. So I wanted to take a moment to give you a few of my thoughts on their “mini” resurgence.
Pau Gasol, The 20 Million Dollar 6-Man
Earl Clark is giving LA a spark.

Weeks back, I wrote a piece on them and gave my thoughts on their struggles at the time. It got REALLY REALLY bad between then and now but I held off on killing them, writing about them because the team was basically the walking wounded. A lot of what I wrote back in December is still true. Mike D’Antoni still isn’t the right fit at head coach. He keeps trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. His style of play will not work with this team but damn if he isn’t trying to force it to. That’s why one of the leagues best low-post players, Pau Gasol, is on the bench and the "Immortal" Earl Clark, is in the starting line up. Clark fits what D’Antoni wants to do, so he’d rather play him than find a way to play a guy that’s a better player with a much higher basketball IQ. Anyway back to other things that's wrong with them, Dwight Howard still doesn’t look healthy, (A HUGE FACTOR RIGHT NOW. The guy just doesn’t look right. He did return to playing earlier than he was suppose to and maybe that wasn’t the best move after all. That being said, I’d STILL take him over Andrew Bynum any day.) and their defense is “shaky” at best. With a record of 20-25, the Lakers still have a hole to climb out of just to make the playoffs, but they can finally see the light. 

Nash's MVP/All-Star days are long gone.
It’s not because of Steve Nash’s presence, (Wow, I’d really like to have Chris Paul over him right now. I’m sorry, but Nash is looking really old this season. Oh wait, maybe it's because he’s been in the league 17 years, he’s about to turn 39 in a week and he’s no longer in Phoenix with the NBA’s best medical staff. A place where I’m totally convinced they have a freaking witch doctor on staff. There’s no way a team like the Lakers shouldn't have a better medical staff than them. More money = better doctors. And he has TWO YEARS LEFT ON HIS CONTRACT. I NEED A DRINK!) or Earl Clark’s “meteoric” rise. (AGAIN, SOMEONE THAT SHOULDN'T BE GETTING MORE PLAYING TIME THAN PAU GASOL.) The Lakers recent and future success is all about Kobe Bean Bryant and him NOT scoring 30 plus points a game.

Looking back at the last nine games, the Lakers are only 5-4 but going inside the numbers you can see the effect that the change in Kobe’s playing style is having on the team. Kobe has become more of a presence on the defensive end of the court which has led to the team only allowing over 100 points twice in the last nine games. A big deal considering they’re allowing 101.1 ppg, good for 26th in the NBA. In the five games before these last nine, they allowed at least 103 points. And yes, they lost all five of those games, which was part of a six game losing streak. (And they ONLY allowed 99 in that sixth lost.)  If it weren't for a late surge by New Orleans last night, the Lakers would have held them under 100 points as well.

With Kobe using so much energy on the defensive end, it’s forced him to become a passer. Nash is still the best facilitator on the team but in the end, Kobe can do anything on the court he puts his mind to. Even pass. Kobe has only averaged over 6 assist in a game during a season once in his career and that was only because he DIDN'T WANT to average more. He’s a scorer and he’s done that better than almost anyone in the history of the game. But what Kobe is above all things even above being a scorer, and a winner, is he’s a HYPER COMPETITIVE PSYCHO and I say that with love and respect for him as a basketball fan and a Kobe fan. It took him a while to figure it out but even he realizes going all “Kobe” was going to fix this team’s problem. (Webster’s Defines going “Kobe” as  going into a state of mind in which you feel like your team/partner can’t possibly help you "win" anymore. You feel the need to do whatever JOINT activity you're participating in by yourself, in order to have team success. While going "Kobe", you perform at new personal heights of unseen selfishness for the greater good of your team. However, most times going “Kobe” leads to greater individual success than it does to overall team success. If you’re married, going all “Kobe” in the bedroom could get you divorced.)

Howard is all smiles as long as Kobe shares.
Defense is all about effort because playing defense isn’t fun and the effort given relates to the amount of “fun” you get to have, i.e. shooting the ball. It’s not fun playing basketball with someone who shoots thirty times a game. In fact, it sucks. When Kobe is hogging the ball and the shots, the other players feel left out and like they’re not involved in the game. And where's the first place it shows when a player doesn’t feel involved?  Their effort on the defensive end. When Kobe is looking to pass first, it makes his teammates more willing to go “balls to the wall” on the other end of the court because they know going back down the court they actually have a chance to score. Ron Artest Metta World Peace always plays great when Kobe shares the ball. Howard looks like he's having fun again and the team "vibe" is a million times better. Kobe’s always been a very gifted passer because he’s a very gifted basketball player. He' the hardest worker in the league while also being the league's smartest player. No way THAT guy, hardest working/smartest guy, couldn't pass the ball, and pass it beautifully and effectively no less, if he didn’t want to.

Kobe looks to do whatever it takes to push LA into the postseason.
 Earlier in the season, Kobe was too busy chasing points when he should’ve been chasing wins. I don’t know how many points Kareem scored and I don’t care. I do know how many rings Kareem has and how many rings Jordan has. Kobe knows that he can score a million points this season but if THIS team doesn't make the playoffs it's going to be a huge stain on his legacy. Too much talent for this team to flame out and the captain will ALWAYS, fairly or unfairly as it may be, get the blame. It’s all about winning and for the Lakers to win, Kobe has to keep doing what he’s doing. Keep passing the ball, keep making his teammates happy and keep playing killer defense. I still think the Lakers have more than a few problems, mainly a coaching one, but I always go back to this. There's too much top-end talent on this team for them to miss the playoffs. And if THIS team figures it out, no one wants to play them.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe and share the blog. Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below. Follow me on twitter @ParisLay. Until next time... Enjoy the View!

No comments:

Post a Comment