Can’t Get This Play Out Of My Mind

Darius Soriano —  March 23, 2012

Kobe Bryant is no longer the uber athlete he was in his prime. The fearless attacking of the rim and posterizing of big men has been replaced with more a more measured and calculating style. That said, when he makes a highlight play, it’s still amazing to see. And, against the Mavs, he made a play that was simply out of this world. Spinning off of a Jason Kidd ball denial in the post, Kobe caught a lob pass that was directly under the rim, got nudged from behind while in mid-air, and flipped up a reverse lay-in all in one motion while falling to the ground. This play happened on over a day ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It was that good. See for yourself and enjoy.

Darius Soriano

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32 responses to Can’t Get This Play Out Of My Mind

  1. It’s funny… When people talk about athletisism as I have discussed before they mostly think of speed,quickness and verticle jump. A majority of what it takes to become an NBA athlete is coordination. And NBA players will hold onto that much longer. What I think (I know others have argued against it) has made Kobe a top 5 athlete of all time, is his coordination. And that, as you can see above, he won’t lose anytime soon. Wow. Just a spectacular athlete…even still.

  2. darius: funny you should lament and replay the kobe shot from the other nite against the mavs. my brother called me last night (he lives in berkeley, ca) and all he could talk about was kobe’s shot he saw on the highlights on espn. is kobe that old that expectations have been lowered or just the opposite, the expecations remain the same and this example serves as a reminder of his outrageous capabilities ?

    as you know, kobe was on air w/mason and ireland yesterday afternoon to wish mason a happy b-day. the discussion turned to jim buss and the jest of it was, kobe likes the guy and they get along. further, that people in general misunderstand jim buss and that jim buss is truly interested in improving the lakers and that he is a methodical and thoughtful purposeful person. ok, i embellished a little there. ireland noted jim buss will be a guest on the mason and ireland espn/radio broadcast -am710 this afternoon between 4:30pm and 5:30pm to take calls…. pretty amazing stuff. he must be reading this fb&g blog or is being informed and influenced by many of the ideas forthcoming from various bloggers to want to participate in a question/answer session today. hopefully no one will attack him w/innane question(s) because this appears to be a sincere effort on his part to connect w/laker fans in a positive way everywhere.

    Go Lakers !

  3. This is off-topic, but I am so glad that the Lakers got Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill. Finally that team has some support from the bench and it’s perfect timing as the Lakers will look to make a deep run come playoff time.

  4. I’ve often thought that Kobe has toned down his attack on the basket over the years in order to maintain his availibility throughout the seasons. Teams have plenty of players itching
    to give the Mamba a good hard foul. I am very appreciative of his toughness and his ability to play on a day to day basis.

  5. My kind of article… Pointing our something that should be obvious but for some reason isn’t. This is who Andrew Bynum always was… Nothing new.

  6. Don’t forget about the starting component of that play. Pass from Pau from 23 feet out over Dirk’s arms. Pass was pretty sweet and easy Kobe finish without the foul.

    Pau brings so many dimensions to this team.

  7. I guess it hasn’t been just Lakers fans that have seen Derek Fisher play before. THIS IS A MUST READ. Trust me. The OKC blog blasts Thunder for signing Derek Fisher.

  8. @ #6, glad someone recognized and gave Gasol credit for such a great read & pass.

  9. @ #5, By the definition of the rules, is Bynum more eligible & worthy of “Most Improved Player” or “Comeback Player” of the year award for this season?

  10. When you get shoved from the back(which means you don’t expect it), natural reaction is to freeze up (or rather, tighten up) and brace for the fall, but Kobe somehow has time to fight that response and flick it up.

    The more you watch it, the more you think about it, the more you don’t believe it.

    Just like his footwork. Not overly athletic but still sublime and incredible.

  11. BigCitySid,
    I don’t know if there is a definition of most improved or anything else. But AMAZING QUESTION!!! I think comeback. Great question. I think it will be hard for Bynum to win most improved compared to Jeremy Lin as Bynum has played very well for four years in a row. Yes he has taken his game to a new level (this would be a new level for everyone not named Shaq, Kareem, and Dwight as Darius pointed out a few days ago) but a player like a Jeremy Lin has gone from out of the league to solid starting PG. Thats a bigger leap than Bynum has made by definition as Andrew has had a 20 plus PER for the last four to five years. He has only increased it a point and a half or something like that.

    But… If it were me I would give it to someone like Bynum. Much harder to go from good player to MVP/all star starter than go from hardly used young player to okay starting PG. But def he is the comeback player of the year. Most def. it has been four years since he has been healthy and a featured player on this team. Has to be comeback POY right?

  12. I think everyone should answer BigCitySid’s question. The best question asked on this site all year maybe. Is Andrew Bynum more eligible for Comeback Player of the Year or Most Improved Player of the year?

  13. I dont really care if Bynum wins those awards….I want Bynum to be in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year. If he hustles more on D, and transfers some of his offensive focus onto defense, he might have a chance in the next few years.

  14. Well, there’s no such thing as a Comeback Player of the Year anymore. That award was doled out from 1980-1986, but then renamed as the Most Improved Player of the year and has been that ever since. Here’s the last 5 winners:

    2010-11 Kevin Love
    2009-10 Aaron Brooks
    2008-09 Danny Granger
    2007-08 Hedo Turkoglu
    2006-07 Monta Ellis

    I think Bynum has a shot at it. Other contenders will be Lowry or Lin (maybe Pekovic?), just off the top of my head. Linsanity has kind of fizzled as of late, but it was one of the biggest breakout stories in all of sports, let alone the NBA. That article at SS&R that you linked to Aaron shows that Bynum hasn’t actually improved that much this year. He was showing his ability back in that 2007-08 season; now his numbers look better because he’s been healthy (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!) and he’s been getting big minutes. Also, in my opinion, he’s actually regressed a bit defensively. He’s still a major factor down there, but he definitely hasn’t been the game changer he was in that 18 game stretch post ASG last year. He bought into Phil’s insistence on defense and rebounding and was winning games on that side of the floor. He seems to be a little more enamored with his “numbers” now, which I’m fine with because he is a BEAST down low; I’d just like him to bring out that defensive monster of last year we all saw.

    So, in short, I think he has a shot at MIP, but I wouldn’t consider him a favorite.

  15. @ 6 Chownoir – great point about Pau. I think he is so quietly good at what he does, that people miss how skilled he really is. (maybe he could get some lessons in pounding his chest after every play from Blake G.)

    @ 10 Harold, This is why I Iove watching Kobe (when he is not jacking up long contested twos and threes). There is a precision to his movements that can only come from muscle memory and it is mind boggling to think about how much work went in to developing that. Although I agree with Aaron that Kobe posses a great deal of athleticism, I think what put him into the top five category is his work ethic and attention to detail.

  16. LT Mitchell@#13….

    Excellent point about Bynum. I wonder if Drew can embrace the dirty, gritty side of the game. When I hear statements along the line of “I’ve got to get my numbers” being attributed to Andrew, I cringe.

    I don’t know the context in which such a statement was made, or if it is even an accurate quote, but I do know that Bynum is the Lakers’ biggest and most physical player. He needs to defend the Laker paint zealously.

  17. BREAKING: Mike Brown has just announced Sessions will start tonight.

  18. I have always thought that Drew lacked maturity for his age. I realize many of you think he’s just a “kid”, but in reality he’s a grown man that needs, at times, to act like one. I firmly believe that some of the issues he has (lack of hustle, loss of focus, anger issues) could be resolved with a disciplinarian type of coaching, but in the end, it may be too late to do anything but to learn to live with this attitude. It’s sad, because if Drew had half the discipline of Kobe Bryant and exhibited half the hustle of guys like Turiaf (non-superstar) and Howard (superstar), he would be an unstoppable force.

  19. darius: great news (BREAKING: Mike Brown has just announced Sessions will start tonight.

    did not want to see mike’s pic in the dictionary under the heading imbecile.

    Go Lakers !

  20. Kenny T,

    It’s hard to find fault with Bynum’s inspired play this year, but if he could just learn to pass quickly when double teamed, the offense would benefit with three excellent playmakers on the starting unit (Kobe, Pau, Ramon), attacking against a scrambling defense. Based on Bynum’s comments about wanting his numbers, I’m beginning to think Bynum’s failure to pass out of double teams is more reluctance than inability.

    If Bynum transferred some of his energy from offense to defense, the sky is the limit for this team.

  21. Great move by Brown, starting Sessions. Now he can see what he’s got. Rather than us all playing armchair coach, Brown can get some game data to make informed decisions as to where in the lineup Sessions helps the Lakers most. I think it is smart to do it early because there is really no practice time to figure it out.

  22. @ 17, best news I’ve heard all day. Knew it had to happen w/i a 1/2 dozen games. Now that our “Big 4” are starting, will our bench production start to suck again?

  23. This is not really “Breaking News”. Most everyone knew this was gonna come eventually. It finally happened. Everyone is excited to see what this kid can do playing more minutes and getting a flow going with the starters. Be prepared to see Ramon play the rotation I predicted yesterday and a few days ago. Basically the same Bynum plays. He leaves anywhere between the 4 and 3 min mark of the first and third quarters to the bench and then comes back in to start the second and fourth quarters with the second unit and plays the rest of the half. Enjoy Ramon everyone. He is the real deal.

  24. Kobe’s Play: This was one of the best plays in the NBA this year.
    Kenny T@4: With reference to your comment of toning down the attacks: I think that has been true for a while. The unbridled assaults that used to occur during the Shaq era are legendary. One of my favorites, was also a turning point in a couple of ways. It was the most vicious reverse slam of Kobe’s career against the then KG led Wolves to beat them in the WCF. Unfortunately, KB hurt his shoulder which hindered him for the finals that year. There were many spectacular dunks since that era, but not IMO, of the completely reckless abandon variety of that 04 and earlier period.

  25. @ Aaron–based on my rudimentary math skills, aren’t you saying Sessions is playing 40-42 minutes per night (assuming no garbage time)? That seems pretty steep.

  26. BigCitySid,
    Well… Since those points, assists, and rebounds Ramon puts up will now join the numbers in the starting column… Yes. The bench “production” will decrease. But the second unit will play just as well since Ramon will more than likley still be playing with them. I do think now that Brown is upgrading Ramon’s role he will do the same with Jordan Hill. I expect Hill to be the Lakers big man off the bench starting tonight or Sunday. That will really help the “bench production”.

  27. Dave (from previous): First of all, my criticism of Jim Buss is not all logical : ) Others vent on MB or KB, I choose to vent on Jimbo. That said, I believe he is paying lip service to the KB question, + I think many on this site are as well (Meaning we have KB until 14 + let’s wait to see what happens after that). Well that is true, but if you look at what “could” happen, then you can’t guarantee “Laker for Life”, although I would love that.

  28. Mindcrime,
    Your math skill are most definatley better than mine. Since Bynum has been the anchor of the second unit he has played like 37-38 minutes a game. Since I think Sessions will be playing the same role I figure he will be playing the same amount as Bynum. Out of the two I think Ramon can handle it better 😉

  29. Don’t know how I feel about Sessions starting but we’ll see tonight. What would be the most Mike Brown thing would be to play Sessions 40 minutes.

  30. Question to all:
    Would it make sense to start Sessions against teams with legitimate point-guards (Westbrook, Parker) and quick back-courts (Blazers?), and bring him off the bench when he’s up against the old guys and average points (Kidd and say… Chalmers?)…?

  31. darius: in light of recent events, in particular today, i’m sure you are working as quickly as possible to post today’s game preview because of the mindboggling possibilities that come to mind. let the games begin.

    Go Lakers !

  32. Our starting 5 just became the tops’ in the league now.