Kobe’s Week To Remember

Darius Soriano —  January 15, 2012

With last night’s loss to the Clippers, the conversation has once again shifted from Kobe’s scoring brilliance to his shot volume and how it affects the rest of his team. That’s a topic for another day, though. Today, instead, I simply want to appreciate what he’s been able to do on the court as a reminder of how great a scorer he can be. Despite the ailments, Kobe’s attacking the rim, sinking his jumper, and moving off the ball in a way that reminds of the player from several seasons ago. As a Mavs fan tweeted me last night, Kobe’s made the Lakers appointment viewing this week and coming from a fan of a rival, I think that’s really saying something. So, sit back and enjoy Kobe’s week that was: starting on Tuesday, 4 straight 40 point efforts in a 5 night span that I’ll remember for some time.

Darius Soriano

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59 responses to Kobe’s Week To Remember

  1. He is by far the best player in the league.

  2. I noticed that on some of these sequences, Griffin and Jordan, or Evans, were both simply standing next to Andrew, while Andrew stood and watched, and the guy left alone, often McRoberts, sometimes Pau, would also stand and watch. There were a couple of times Kobe did miss Pau flashing into the paint.

    One reason Matt Barness still scores some when Kobe is playing like this is that Barnes seldom stands around.

  3. Didn’t Brown coach with the Spurs when they had the twin towers? Why is this offense so bad with Bynam standing around watching. Is it attitude problems or coaching problem. You think Orlando FO is watching AB being a offensive observer?

  4. Kobe is going to keep hijacking the offense till he fails to score 40. But yes we would be more effective of course if other people touched the ball… Especially Bynum. And how about that Morris kid? He might be our best PG. the guy can push and pass that basketball. Of course he is also our best scoring PG. All of this doesn’t say much as we have Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. I also wouldn’t feel badly about that loss. The Clippers have played the fewest games in the league and were coming off a two day rest while we have played the most games in the league amd were playing our fourth game in five nights.

  5. Kobe: Nice post Darius – as I have pointed out several times, everyone should just enjoy this NBA legend in action. The next few years will determine, where in the top five of all time, he will rank.

    Offense: Good point by robinnred. Everyone should be moving and at least getting position for the rebound. Moping? We could have kept LO for that : ) Ken: Don’t be too hard on MB yet. Look at what he has to work with. I do not think 9-5 is underperforming for this group. True?

  6. Just finished watching the above footage and came to the conclusion that D Howard would have been a spectator as well. In almost every highlight that Bynum is in he is doubled. Howard surely would have received the same attention.

    As a matter of fact I believe in someways Andrew is helping Kobe on this streak. When Andrew came back he dominated the paint. Teams quickly adjusted, flooding the paint. Kobe hasn’t had the same amount of attention that he normally receives. As a matter of fact in the Cleveland game Byron Scott threw doubles and triples at Kobe in the 2nd half and Kobe had a rough time. Teams are going to be left with a choice, defend Kobe of the paint. Now if we could come up with one more reliable scorer, it would open up the offense for everyone.

  7. All I know about players is that warriors play to win, whether they get the ball on set plays, or whether they run the floor hard and play defense but still do not receive the ball.

    Matt Barnes is a warrior, McJosh is a warrior, Darius Morris is an up and coming warrior.

    So, do not say that Bynum is discouraged because he does not get the ball, so he is going to stand around and watch. All-Stars do not wait for someone to hand them the requisite stats to be considered all-stars. They go out and create opportunities for themselves to be considered all-stars. If Bynum is waiting to be handed the status all-star rather than earning it. Then one must ask does he deserve to be an all-star? Better yet, does he deserve to be the no. 2 option on defense.

    Bynum is discouraged because even when he went out and scored double digits in points and rebounds the consensus remains that the Lakers need D-Ho. So, in his mind, why help the Lakers win games now that will position them for the playoffs, when he knows that he will not be around to partake of such positioning.

    Further, Kobe has been around five teams that contained the components of a championship. Kobe would not be so optimistic if he did not believe that this team plus D-Ho were not capable of contending.

    Lakers management cannot afford to go through the next 7-8 weeks with a 37 year old and a rookie at point guard. There is no way this can possibly happen. The Lakers lost against the Clippers because they have one pressure situation ball handler…and that is Kobe.

    Mitch will have a point guard on board prior to the Lakers 8 road games.

    I like the edginess this team possesses…err, when they are not fatigued by 4 games in five nights.

    Go Lakers! And, Kobe keep shooting while on this streak, we are witnessing history.

    Lastly, of course announcers are going to say that Kobe is shooting too much. Remember, they are the same people that said that Kobe was dead, so now they have to justify their position on Kobe by saying he shoots too much. LOL!

  8. Bynum’s barely fighting the box out, let alone demanding attention from the defense. The coaches need to be in his ear about this. This could have very easily been a 20 rebound game for him, but he was playing small for his size.

  9. While Kobe deserves high praise for his desire to win and his dedication to keeping himself in shape he could learn a lesson from another former Laker great. Magic always made sure that Kareem, Worthy and Scott got theirs early and often in games. This ensured that those other players (especially Kareem) were vested in the game. This way Magic could take over the 4th quarter – offensively – if need be and not be considered selfish.

    Given the compact season there is no reason for Kobe to be shooting so much. The Lakers can not win it all with Kobe shooting 35 times a game. My fear is that Kobe is doing this as a power play on a new coach letting Brown know who is in charge.

    It’s still a long season and I believe you need to lay the foundation for being a team early on. Kobe may lead the league in scoring but the Lakers won’t go far in the playoffs. Better Kobe to trust his team mates as Bynum and Pau should be shouldering more of the scoring load.

  10. 6)
    You’re correct that Bynum is helping Kobe on this streak more than Kobe is helping Bynum.

    7)
    All big men can do is defend and rebound. That’s what Bynum did. He pulled down 16 rebounds. Centers can’t help it if they are constantly doubled or if the guards don’t pass them the ball. It is out of their control. Another reason the Lakers need a PG. I think Morris can facilitate an offense but I doubt he has the balls to look at Kobe screaming for the ball and not pass it to him. To be honest… It’s Derek’s only good quality. He is the only player who consistently passes the ball down low to Andrew.

  11. Bynum is discouraged because even when he went out and scored double digits in points and rebounds the consensus remains that the Lakers need D-Ho. So, in his mind, why help the Lakers win games now that will position them for the playoffs, when he knows that he will not be around to partake of such positioning.

    That is both immature and utterly unprofessional. If that truly is his opinion and way of thinking, the sooner we ship him out, the better.

    For comparison, look at Pau Gasol. He was traded. The only reason we still have him on the roster is because the league refused to let the Lakers get Chris Paul and vetoed the trade. If anyone has cause for hurt feelings, it’s him, not Andre Bynum. Yes, Pau still vanishes on offense from time to time, and he gets pushed around in the paint and misses layups and rebounds as a result, and doesn’t always play 100%. But he doesn’t sulk or mope over the fact that he was signed away by the front office. He doesn’t let a sprained shoulder stop him from suiting up, he just goes out there, and does his best to help the team out when the coach calls his number, and doesn’t say a word of complaint.

    That’s basic professionalism, and I don’t care how old or young you are, if you want to play in the NBA, you need to learn not to take these things personally.

  12. Aaron,

    Bynum, Gasol, and the rest of the Lakers interior let the Clips grab 17 offensive boards. I don’t care how many rebounds Drew grabbed. If you watch the video, he clearly wasn’t fighting for position, either offensively or for rebounding purposes.

  13. I will repeat my question from the other thread. People talk endlessly about what they think Kobe, Pau and Andrew are doing wrong, but what, if anything, can Brown do to get more out of the other guys? Go big with Kobe at the 1 and play zone? More Morris? More Ebanks? Play Murphy more with Bynum and Kobe, so you have two options on the box with a big at the arc? Use Morris, Ebanks, Barnes, and McRoberts with Bynum and try to run when Kobe sits, with Bynum as the #1 option in the half-court? The defense has been pretty good–should Brown focus on that, maybe play MWP a little more–try to wn games 87-81?

    No trades are happening for at least six weeks. We are stuck with Blake, Fisher, MWP, and Walton. Kobe, Pau and Andrew, warts and all, remain very valuable players. It is what Brown can get out of some of the other guys that will decide how well the team does on this part of the journey.

  14. 12)
    If you watched the game as coach Mike Brown pointed out the reason we gave up so many offensive rebounds were because the “smalls were not active enough getting long rebounds .”

  15. On another site, I saw a guy suggest making Fisher the backup 2. He plays 10-15, with Morris, backing up Kobe. Blake and Barnes start with the big 3.

  16. robinred: As usual, I agree with “most” of what you post. Where we may disagree, is that I do feel that Pau and Drew need to step it up a bit. Putting that aside, I am ecstatic with 9-5 and would be elated with us keeping this up and being 18-10. How bout you? I think your focus on the role players is correct, and the 87-81 scenario is almost mandatory, however, I am thinking that MB is actually getting a pretty good result with the cards dealt.

  17. 15)
    Fisher is too bad to play with the second unit. The starters at least marginally mask Fishers inabilities to play defense, dribble, pass, as shoot. As a back up he would look even worse. If Fisher doesn’t start he would not be able to get in the game… Which might be a very good thing for the team with Morris looking like a solid NBA player.

  18. The Lakers offense will need to be more balanced come playoff time, but with the current state of the team, I have no problem with Kobe taking a large percentage of the shots. He is carrying this depleted, injured and tired team on his back at an MVP level, and should continue to do so until his teammates get healthy and/or the team adds some playmakers and shooters on the perimeter.

    According to Mike Trudell, Pau is not taking the ball to the hole and settling for outside jumpers because his sprained shoulder is still bothering him.

    The last time Bynum got all the shots he could handle, he was completely gassed in the second half. Bynum is still not in game shape, and has become a liability on offense when facing double teams.

    Add in the injuries to Artest, Blake, and the rest of the bench, along with a struggling Fish, and you have a recipe (almost a necessity) for Kobe to take on added responsibilities in scoring.

  19. @ Robert,

    I am not thinking record like I usually do; with this team, I take them one at a time. The next five games are very tough.

  20. Robert

    Check back with me after we play Dallas, Miami, Spurs, Orlando, Philly and have a win against Portland, Chicago and the Clippers.

    Then I will give you my as response.

  21. Hey Darius,
    How come you’re not doing the game recaps anymore? You guys have a good staff overall, but I like your writing the most.

  22. Kobe is just unconscious right now.

  23. @22/Josh – much agreed. All the talk about Bynum, other players, whatever, is fine and part of the larger discussion. But Bryant will not be denied – he’s in a zone and with all his ailments, is still doing things that make my jaw drop. Like you said, just unconscious.

  24. Kobe had a great week. I give him his due. However, I am more concerned about the team will do this upcoming week. The only numbers that will matter are the ones in the Win/Loss column.

  25. This video pretty much sums up the Kobe debate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzT_6nAyPe8

    “That boy’s got the devil in him”

  26. Vintage Kobe “Bean” Bryant

  27. Kobe has had the same quest since he entered the league. To be the best ever. To that end, I only have 2 players “clearly” ahead of KB. They are MJ and Kareem. There are three others who are very debatable: Wilt, Magic, Russell. The rest including Shaq, Bird, Oscar, Mikan, and Jerry, he is already in front of them.

  28. @ 11. Mimsy

    To say Pau is not still playing in a fog is totally inaccurate. Both he and Bynum are playing less than their potentials. Why? Tired from the schedule, probably. Logging heavy minutes, true. Not knowing if they will be traded, most definitely.

    Pau does not look happy and his play (only one twenty point game) shows that he has not played to the potential he did when he rescued from Memphis. He is MORE professional than LO was, but he is distracted, as he was last year. IMO if he hadn’t been so distracted at the end of last year and in the playoffs, the Lakers had an excellent chance to make it to the Championships.

    Any jelly spined, punk can be professional when spit upon, it takes a real man to get pissed off and kick some ass. See Kobe Bryant.

  29. I’m truly “amazed” by Kobe the athlete, “so-so” about Kobe the Laker, and worried about Kobe the man. Having separated from his wife and kids, I wonder where he’s staying. I hope that he drops in on old Jelly Bean once in awhile.

    Maybe MWP could give Kobe a referral for counseling, but improvement on the mental health front would probably lower his performance on the court–a tradeoff Kobe would be reluctant to make.

    Kobe’s always had a problem, but he always had respected advisors to help him harmonize his skills to meet the demands of a team sport. Now his coach is just an enabler–but maybe he has no choice.

    I’m afraid that this will not end well.

  30. I sincerely hope Kobe doesn’t end up going the way of Iverson: A volume shooter that piles on points, but fails at winning.

  31. 9-5: The reason I asked a couple of you about the record, was to try to see where everyone stood on our performance coming into this tough stretch. Many of us have questioned the roster, the age of the team, etc.. This can’t be forgotten when looking at results. If you think we need change to win, then that means the current roster is not going to threaten the 33 straight record. : ) That being said, I think the rotations, the offense, the Kobecentric focus, etc. – which have all resulted in 9-5, are doing the job (and so far – so is MB). Does anyone think we should be better than that, given the holes at 1 + 3, the lack of bench, and the brutal schedule (which will hold everyone’s win total down a little this year)?

  32. anti Dwyer Abbott January 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

    @30,
    7 finals 5 rings and plenty of eye-candy for 16 years which can easily fill 10 DVD worth of media.
    Pour some more gasoline..

  33. Some numbers:

    Kobe is now 280 points behind Shaq for #5 all-time.

    Assuming 25.0 PPG and that he plays in every one, Kobe:

    Passes Shaq in 12 games.
    Passes Wilt in 160 games.
    Passes Malone in 345 games.
    Passes Kareem in 403 games.

    My thoughts:

    1. I think he’s going to get there.

    2. I am very excited to watch these milestones fall.

    3. I fear a list of similar calculation can be found on the wall of wherever he is sleeping these days, which I’m not so sure is such a good thing for the Lakers chances….

    Anyone else think he’s going to get there? Anyone else doubt that he is determined to get there?

    I know he’s denied that this is a goal, but find that to be bulls–.

  34. Watch how frequently Pau and Bynum lose track of the ball on offense versus Matt Barnes. I don’t expect them to continually dive to the hole off ball but the knowing where the ball is might be considered a little important if you want “touches”. There are concurrent series where the center and forward are ball side but their back is to the ball or they meander away from the ball to set a soft pick or pick flowers. It’s been driving me mad watching it most of the season.

  35. Does anyone think we should be better than that, given the holes at 1 + 3, the lack of bench, and the brutal schedule (which will hold everyone’s win total down a little this year)?

    ____

    I think the team is fortunate not to be 7-7 or 8-6. I don’t mean “lucky”, but fortunate in that Kobe has blown up and they have Kobe and that Drew has had some monster games. As many noted in pre-season, the West is very deep and balanced. Even the weaker teams have some good/decent players. There is no team in the West that is truly terrible. And as discussed as nauseum by myself and others, the Lakers’ roster beyond Kobe, Pau, and Drew is extremely weak.

    This is why I am not focused on W-L in the same way I usually am. With the Big 3, the Lakers are capable of winning any time they step on the court. But with the schedule, the roster issues, and the competitive ecology of the league, they can lose just about any game as well. Look at the next five:

    DAL @MIA @ORL IND (IND IS 9-3) LAC

    The Lakers are capable of winning any of those–and of losing any of them.

  36. 23,

    Dave M. yes Kobe’s in the zone so give him the ball. If Lakers continue winning that’s great, we need to feed the duck that lays the golden eggs. However, if Lakers are losing games because offense is solely concentrated on one player, it’s no longer entertaining to watch plus the fact that we impede the development of other ducks. Sooner or later, these hungry ducks will be noisy with their quack, quack, quack! Another Laker melodrama.

  37. I’m bored with the “does Kobe shoot too much” conversation. Look, Kobe is who he is. He plays ball the way he plays. That’s not going to change. We can all harp on it, but it does nothing to further the conversation. Would the Lakers be better off, or would they have been better off for the past six years or more, if Kobe passed more often to the bigs? Honestly, there’s no way to really know. Kobe’s aggression forces the defense to heavily shift his way. Heavily. If that aggression was dialed back, the defensive focus would also change. How would Pau and Bynum handle more defensive pressure? Who knows. Right now Bynum’s showing he’s not ready to handle being The Man in the offense since simple double teams completely flummox him. That being said, if he had had more opportunities over the years to learn to deal with the double, he’d be a better player today.

    Point is, all these hypotheticals really get us nowhere. Personally, as a Lakers fan I am forever thankful to have a player like Kobe on the squad. There is not a single player I can think of who has given more of himself to assure that a franchise is successful. I don’t care what his motivation is, I care about results and Kobe has helped guide “our team” to incredible results. Would those results have been ever better if Kobe wasn’t Kobe and was more like ________ (insert your “balanced” player of choice here), I don’t know. Moreover, I don’t care. Kobe brings it every single night and there are very few athletes you can say that about. Is 28 shots too many on the second night of a back-to-back? Well, it looked to me like Kobe was one of the few guys on the court who had energy. He had energy because he is maniacal about conditioning. Once someone else on the team steps up and gets as serious about conditioning and honing his game, then we can go ahead and talk about that player having the “right” to more shots, etc.

    I love Drew and Pau, though both frustrate me often. Yes, Kobe often ignores them when the fight for position. More often, though, Kobe ignores them because they have NOT fought for position. Overall, though, those three are giving the Lakers plenty. It’s the awful PG play (I love ya, Fish, now do the right thing and retire so the team can get younger, quicker, more athletic, and better) and the spotty bench play. The Big 3 can’t consistently do it alone.

  38. Less watching Kobe and more expecting him to miss or pass the ball if you cut.

    It irritates me the most that Kobe does not get enough screens for him or have other players making themselves available by cutting. It looks a lot more often like Kobe doing a clear out or just plain ISO and then everyone else not having a clue what to do except stand still. The same with rebounding too.

    I hope the team wakes up to that part.

    Bye.

  39. lil’ pau @ 33: Not only is he still determined to be the leading scorer of all time; he has not given up on being the BEST of all time. A couple more rings and the leading scorer of all time, with all the other accolades he has, it could happen. Trust me – he thinks about it – and yes it is a good thing for us : )

  40. Robert, the concern I have is that a couple more rings and leading scorer of all time might be mutually exclusive goals.

  41. Nobody gets this good without tremendous drive and ego – nobody!

    To sit here and gripe about why Kobe doesn’t involve his teammates more, or simply rely on being a passer is to simply forget exactly who Kobe is.

    There are very few Kobe’s in NBA history and we should simply be glad he is on our team. Sure we can comment about what we wish, but this continual “harping” on what Kobe is is absolutely stupid.

    No other word for it – stupid!

  42. As a fyi, it’s been a travel day cor me so the preview will be up in a couple of hours.

  43. I don’t think it is the volume of shots that is the issue; it is the way those shots are developed. When Kobe gets his shots out of the offense, then there’s not too much wrong with putting up 30 of them. However, shots that result from Kobe pounding the ball, maybe passing it out but getting it right back, then shooting, are the kind that kill offensive flow and player movement. It’s always been that way, and it isn’t unique to the Lakers.

    One of the many reasons that it would be preferable to have a legitimate PG is that it would be that guy who would have the ball in his hands most of the time, presumably looking to pass the ball to whoever is open. Instead, the Lakers primary ball handler is Kobe, and there are many possessions where everyone can see that Kobe has his mind set on putting up a shot.

    The thing that most people advocating for Kobe to keep shooting because “he’s in a zone” don’t seem to get is that the Lakers are a better and more dangerous team when Kobe gets an assist rather than a basket. Assists energize teammates and encourage them to run the floor and be active in the half court. It would be great if players would do that anyway, but it would also be unusual….

  44. Kobe’s aggression forces the defense to heavily shift his way. Heavily. If that aggression was dialed back, the defensive focus would also change.
    ____

    Correct. There is a lot of statistical evidence for this, notably the performances of some of the guys on the 2005-2007 teams before and after.

  45. I have been critical of the Lakers. But I can’t wait to see how we respond to these next 5 games. Will Mike Brown continue to run nothing but Iso’s. Or will Kuester come up with new wrinkles. Can our bench answer the bell when called upon.

  46. If the Lakers win a championship with Kobe playing the way he’s playing (him gunning while his teammates stand around aimlessly and watching) it would be the greatest individual achievement in the history of team sports because no team in the modern era has ever won a championship this way. Even the G.O.A.T MJ didn’t win soaking up this percentage of his team’s possessions while taking extraordinary difficult shots.

    I’m definitely gonna enjoy the ride because basketball at it’s core is about entertainment and it’s fascinating to see Kobe attempt to do what I (and most basketball fans) think is impossible, create a winning formula while the other 4 players on the court are in effect spectators.

    So either way I’m gonna watch in awe of Kobe Bryant’s individual basketball brillance because for anyone who’s ever shot a basketball at a hoop before, what Kobe Bryant is doing right now is so magnificant and profound it borders on the surreal.

  47. VoR: Kobe knows it is all about the rings. We just need to get him some help.

    Funky: Kobe can’t/won’t be Magic, and trust me if he wasn’t firing, we would have a bunch of 24 second violations with this group.

    Archon: I like the last 2 paragraphs. As far as the first paragraph: The real question is whether we can win a championship at all with this group. I do not think Kobe’s shot qty/quality changes the odds all that much. Mitch can change the odds quite a bit.

  48. The thing that most people advocating for Kobe to keep shooting because “he’s in a zone” don’t seem to get is that the Lakers are a better and more dangerous team when Kobe gets an assist rather than a basket.

    ___

    This is an assertion, and while there are, historically, some numbers that support it, it is highly questionable right now, given the lack of talent on the team.

    I would also suggest that another thing people “don’t seem to get” is that Kobe is a scorer. He is a pretty good passer, with average to above-average court vision. But what he is great at is scoring. All players play to their strengths.

    You are correct that the shots need to come in the flow of the offense; however, as discussed, Kobe’s aggressivness forces the other team to account for him all over the floor. This often helps players with limited skillsets to play more efficiently with Kobe–Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, Trevor Ariza, and Brian Cook are all exanples of this.

    More recently, Jordan Farmar’s numbers did not see any uptick in New Jersey and his EFG cratered last season. He is playing well this year (the Lakers could use him–he would start on this team).

    Finally, we have Shannon Brown, who now plays with Steve Nash. Brown’s EFG has collapsed thus far in PHX–it was .480 here. It is at this point only .400 in Phoenix.

    Looking at the current team, Barnes is having the best year of his career so far. Pau has declined a bit, but that is likely age and the shoulder. Bynum is the main focus of the Kobe shot talk, and in his case his USG, with Lamar gone, is way up. It is at 23.9 after being at 17.6 last year.

    Unfortunately, his efficiency has not come along for the ride. His EFG has dropped from .574 to .528. His FT problems are a key there.

    There is one guy–McRoberts–that seems capable of doing more than he is.

  49. 41,

    “No other word for it – stupid!”

    ~~I thought there is moderation in this site. Cool down Craig, we’re not public figures and we’re not one of your minions within your household so you have no right to call names.

    I defend Kobe and I also understand when people make comments about monopolizing the game. It goes both ways and I think they’re “fair comments”. He’s being treated with respect and awe but what people are also saying that if the offense is too predictable, then it could also be detrimental in the long run.

  50. Hey Darius: Could you include a codicil in your pre-game write up or perhaps a separate comment about how low Cuban can get his cap figure after this year? Thanks

  51. #9 One is a point guard and the other is a shooting guard. And besides if the Cap, Big game and b scott were out there I am sure Kobe would be getting them the ball.

  52. 33, lil pau, I too think it’s interesting to think about Kobe passing those all-time scoring marks. Consider the following:

    Let’s assume Kobe rides off into the sunset after he turns 36. This is highly debatable, as Kobe may keep chugging until he’s 40 like Kareem. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume he retires upon turning 36. This would occur in the summer of 2014, just before the 2014-2015 season. So that gives us the rest of this season, then 2012-2013, then 2013-2014.

    First, let’s take the most optimistic view, where Kobe plays in every regular season game over the next three seasons, and continues on his tear, averaging 30ppg over that stretch. This is extremely unlikely, so we can use it as an upper estimate of Kobe’s final point total. Now, there’s 52 games left in this season, and Kobe has 28316 points as of this posting, so:

    Multiplying (82+82+52)*30=6480 and 6480+28316=34796, which is over 2000+ short of Malone and 3500+ short of Kareem, placing Kobe 3rd all-time, just above MJ. In order to pass Malone, Kobe would have to average 30 ppg for about 70 more games, and then 50 more games to pass Kareem.

    Now, let’s assume a more pessimistic outlook. Hypothetically, assume Kobe only plays in 40 of the remaining 52 games this season, and then only 70 in each of the next two seasons. Next, assume Kobe’s scoring goes down and he “only” averages 25ppg over the course of those games.

    Multiplying, we get (40+70+70)*25=4500 and 4500+28316=32816, placing him just over 500 points above Michael Jordan, but still far below Malone and Kareem.

    Thus, it is fairly easy to conclude that it is going to take a combination of high-level play and longevity for Kobe to get even close to Malone, let alone Kareem. But Kobe’ll almost certainly pass Michael Jordan.

    Aside: It’s interesting to note that if MJ hadn’t taken off 2 years to play baseball (160 games, 30ppg), and 3 years between the Bulls and Wizards (240 games, 20ppg), MJ would easily be the points leader, at around 41000+.

  53. I have an absolutely crazy idea that is probably completely insane but how about putting Pau in the 2nd unit? Not because he does not deserve to be a starter (he absolutely does) but it seems to me that having Pau, Bynum & kobe on the floor together results in Pau not really being used as much as possible. I’m wondering if McRoberts played more with 1st unit (where his energy would fit in the way Barnes has) and Pau being the primary offensive weapon with 2nd unit (like MWP was supposed to be) would help both units.

    Of course Pau would still start the game and finish the game with starters

    Crazy? Stupid?

  54. 48, Robert, I assume you want to know if Cuban can make a run at both Howard and DWill. Assuming Cuban can find a taker for Beaubois and Dominique Jones (probable), they renounce both Lamar and Brandan Wright, and they find a taker for Shawn Marion (possible, if improbable), the Mavs will have only Dirk and Brendan Haywood’s corpse on their books, leaving them at $29M. Given that the cap is $58M this year, and I believe the CBA keeps the cap flat at $58M next year, this leaves the Mavs with around $29M in cap space.

    The max contract that DWill or Howard can take in a free agent deal is about $16M. For both players, this would be a paycut of between $1.5 and $2M depending on if they extend their deals with their current teams or pick up their player options.

    It seems very unlikely that anyone would want to take on Brendan Haywood’s horrendous contract (seriously, how many of those did the Wizards dole out?), so the Mavs only option is to offer both those guys a little bit less than they could receive on the open market, similar to what Miami did.

    So, it seems just as likely that Howard and DWill end up together with Dirk in Dallas as Lebron and Bosh did with Wade in Miami. But I still seriously doubt that Orlando is going to hold on to Dwight for the whole season (they don’t want to get Lebron’d, or Shaq’d may be a better way to put it).

  55. #48, I understand that Kobe is a scorer. Just like Iverson was a scorer. Scorers who dominate the ball generally don’t play on championship winning teams. It’s why I think a team like Oklahoma City will probably be better over time than an Iverson-led Sixer team, since OKC’s scorer gets his shots off passes from teammates rather than off the dribble.

    This is why I think the biggest weakness in the Lakers is the PG position–simply because it is unreasonable to expect Kobe to transform into Magic (or some other facilitator). That’s not his game.

    However, when a scorer is your best ball handler, you’re going to naturally have a lot of other players standing around. When two of those players are all-star caliber players, I would attribute the problems to the system more than a lack of talent. Clearly the Laker bench is weak, but their starting 5 is extremely talented.

    I’m just saying that for this team to live up to their potential, they’d be better served by having Kobe get shots in the flow of the offense after receiving passes from a more legitimate PG.

  56. Zephid,

    You are forgetting the Amnesty Clause. Dallas can Amnesty Haywood.

    Lakers fans, including Jim Buss, have IMO not taken this possibility seriously enough from the day Odom was traded.

  57. Haywoood would still count against the cap, in that case, but not against the tax.

  58. Correction: Amnestied players apparently do not count against the cap.