Lakers Can’t Lose Sight Of The Other End Of The Floor

Darius Soriano —  August 6, 2012

This off-season the Lakers have worked to shore up their most damning perceived weaknesses. In trading for Steve Nash, they’ve added the playmaker at point guard that also gives them elite shooting from the perimeter. In signing Antawn Jamison, they’ve bolstered their bench by adding a scoring threat that also has the ability to space the floor from the PF position. With rumors of a transition to the Princeton Offense via the hiring of Eddie Jordan and the hard looks at back up SG options like Jodie Meeks or Leandro Barbosa, the Lakers look to be going all in by fixing their offense.

It’s not difficult to see why the Lakers would take this approach to their off-season. Last year they were mostly an average offensive team, ranking in the mid-teens most of the season before a late push settled them in at 10th in offensive efficiency. All year the team struggled to find the right mix between a Kobe-centric offense and one that featured the big men, often running disjointed sets that left the team working against the shot clock with at least one of their big three threats (usually Pau Gasol) not being used in a manner that optimized his skill set.

And while the addition of Ramon Sessions – whose stellar play after being acquired gave the Lakers are real offensive boost – masked these issues for a stretch, the offensive woes returned in the playoffs. Against both the Nuggets and the Thunder, the Lakers struggled to produce consistent offense against a packed paint that took away their post options, ultimately not able to aptly pose a perimeter threat to keep defenders from digging down on their big men.

Solving these issues should have been a priority going into next season. A few more buckets or better offensive execution down the stretch of games may have found the Lakers in better position to advance farther in the playoffs than they did.

However, while I’m ecstatic the Lakers have attempted to fix their offensive issues with deft acquisitions, I also know they’ll need to be better on defense next season if they hope to be a much better team. What’s not mentioned enough about the Lakers again failing to advance out of the second round is that it was their defense that failed as much as their offense.

In the 14 regular season games in April, the Lakers posted a defensive efficiency of 109.5, or the equivalent of being nearly 2 points per 100 possessions worse than the worst defensive team in the league. If you thought that was some sort of fluke, consider that in the 17 regular season games in March, the Lakers’ defensive efficiency was 103.1 which would have ranked them 19th on the year if they’d played that way all season. These numbers were dramatically worse from earlier in the season when the Lakers didn’t post a defensive efficiency worse than 98.6 in December, January, or February.

In the playoffs, the Lakers’ defensive slippage was just as pronounced when they posted a defensive efficiency of 106.5 over their 12 post-season games. Some of that is surely related to the fact that the Lakers played two of the league’s better offensive teams in Denver and OKC. But the fact remains that stops – especially key ones – were hard to come by for a group that sorely needed them.

After adding defensively challenged players like Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison only the need to be better on D is only highlighted further. More than ever next season, the Lakers will need a sound defensive scheme and fully committed players buying into making it work. Last season that wasn’t always the case as guards too often got caught on screens without recovering. Big men, meanwhile, were frequently out of position playing much too low on picks (Andrew Bynum) or sliding too high at bad angles (Pau Gasol) to deny the penetration that diced up the defense. Add to that wings that didn’t always close out hard or didn’t race to the paint to help the helper on the back line and the results were spotty at best by the end of the year.

So, improvement will be needed. Luckily, the Lakers have some ingredients to become the defensive team that they need to be. With Kobe shedding some pounds he should be able to better navigate screens and chase his man around the perimeter. Ron’s improved health and conditioning should also help him return (close) to his standards from previous seasons. And, of course, if Bynum can focus more of his energy into being one of the elite game changers he has the ability to be, the Lakers can be one of the better defensive teams in the league.

And, in a strange twist, the offense can also help them. If the Lakers do end up running the Princeton O, they’ll return to a two guard front that will promote better spacing and floor balance. This will help them in transition – an area where they’ve long struggled whenever their twin towers share the floor. Plus, if the Lakers can return to being one of the elite offensive teams, they should also be able to better control the pace and flow of the game by making the other team take the ball out of bounds at the end of possessions rather than getting run at after misses.

If all of these things can come together, the Lakers can show the better defense they’ll need to be one of the elite teams. It won’t be easy, but it will be possible. It will take the same defensive commitment on the hardwood that the front office showed off it to improving the O this summer. And, come October, the players and the coaches mustn’t lose sight of that.

*Statistical support for this post provided by NBA.com

Darius Soriano

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56 responses to Lakers Can’t Lose Sight Of The Other End Of The Floor

  1. Too many minutes for the Big3 resulted in dead legs at the end of the season. A liitle more help from the bench this year will be where they need to be defensive. If it hasnt been saied enough the benched SUCKED last year. No rest for the starters on a 7 man deep team of veterans and the results of last years defensive failing dont surprise me. The bench needs scorers, hold the lead or increase what the starters have built, that comes by putting the ball in the basket. One more piece, Meeks or Barbosa, should do this team wonders. The same players that posted great defensive numbers at the beginning of last season are still here, all they need is some rest during the year.

  2. I agree that the thin bench contributed greatly to wearing down our starting unit on defense at the end of the year.

    However, one other fact is the addition of Sessions at PG. We all listen to the comments about Blake and Fisher being the worst two PGs in the league, but we don’t give enough credit to how Fish was able to integrate with others on defense. Sure he was slow, but he was able to work with the other players tendencies to keep us at a average level. With the addition of a new, young face – with less than average defensive chops – the loss of continuity on defense also contributed to our problems (IMO).

  3. About 90% of the defense this season rests solely on Brown’s shoulders. A scheme has to be put in place to hide some of the team’s shortcomings. We saw some in the Okc series hopefully that can continue to next season.

  4. Craig W.

    Im kinda feeling what your saying, but Session wasnt the problem. It was a moodier, disengaged, wanting to shoot three pointers A.B. showing up on game day. When LA acquired Session it wasnt that long before A.B. decided he wanted to revolt against THE MAN(whether thats the FO, #24, or MB who knows). His inconsistent play while anchoring the D made Fish look better than Session, when in fact it was just all related to Drew inconsistent ways towards the end of the year. If Sessions had gotten the same engaged Drew that Fish go the first half of the year I think the story would have been different.

  5. Darius,

    The obvious change in defense next season is the addition of Dwight Howard. That would change everything.

    From the playoffs, it would appear that the judicious use of Jordan Hill would help next year–even with no Dwight.

  6. I agree with Kevin at #3. As I have noted, Brown has talked several times about his supposed chops as as defensive coach. This team represents a great chance to show them.

    And, of course, I agree with #4. As the K Bros said when writing about why the Lakers need to hang in there with rthe Howard saga: “Defense. Defense. Defense.”

  7. #5. I must have missed the report where the Lakers made that trade.

    I do like the retention of Hill. Will be interesting to see how Brown divvies up the minutes between him and Jamison as the back up bigs to maximize the production he can get from both.

  8. having a training camp to implement his defensive philosophies will do brown and the lakers wonders. oh, and my vote is for meeks over barbosa.

  9. Totally agree with Vyas — not having camp was a real issue with the Lakers, moreso than with other teams given the change in schemes and staff. The bench must also improve. This team sorely needs a good spot-up shooter who can hit the open looks when getting kick-outs from Nash or Kobe’s drives, or off of double teams of Pau or Drew.

    One more piece, Mitch….

  10. TheNCDon,
    I didn’t say Sessions was the problem – only that he contributed to the problem.

    We all have the tendency to simplify the problem – and hence we also simplify the solution. The Lakers had a number of problems and I don’t think AB was the focal point.

    I think the personal changes make playing the way coach Brown wants to easier. I think the training camp will make playing the defense the way he wants to much easier. Now we have to see how he handles substitutions in-game to see if he can keep from wearing down his ‘older’ starting unit over an 82 game season.

  11. The Lakers can only be a good regular season defensive team if Bynum gives consistent effort on that end of the floor since the team is riddled with less than stellar defenders. Although I doubt that will happen as seven footers don’t have a history of putting that kind of effort on defense day in and day out. But with a great scheme and another year of improvement for Drew I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lakers pkaying championship caliber defense come June (if Nash, Kobe, and Pau don’t lose another step).

  12. Kobe’s tripping right now looking 34 years old. He has to let the offense work not work for offense. Find a way to impact the game on team usa other than scoring.

  13. With Nash on the Lakers now how many of those stretches of consecutive dead basketball plays is Kobe allowed to have before it becomes detrimental?

    I’m with Robert that Lakers need to Kobe to score to win they also need him to do the other things he does well. Go Lakers!!

  14. I hope Kobe is saving himself for the Lakers, because he looks like the weakest starter on the floor right now for Team USA. His FG% has been awful except for one game against Nigeria. Durant is by far the best player for the US.

  15. If Kobe doesn’t get it on the Olympic team coached by Coach K (Kobecentric play – all one on one iso), why in he heck do you think he will respond to Mike B?!?

  16. gundersonrogers August 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    The comments mostly missed the topic of the article:
    DEFENSE!

    Sad that we lost out on Grant Hill. He can defend.
    Jordan Hill’s not bad D in the paint.
    But who will defend off the bench?
    How well will Pau and Bynum keep those slashers who zip past Nash?
    For Brown’s defensive system to work, it’s not just team defense. Guys will have to defend one-on-one too. Currently, we don’t have those guys.

  17. seven footers don’t have a history of putting that kind of effort on defense day in and day out

    Aaron,
    Ever heard of Dwight Howard? Stop trying to defend Bynums lazy play on the defensive end. Haven’t you noticed since Bynum became our premier big man on the post, that’s when we started losing. We won rings when Pau was the featured big man.

    And if you haven’t been watching the Olympics, Pau is still the best skilled big man in the game. He is way better than Bynum and clearly hasn’t lost a step. Mike Brown just used him incorrectly. He used him as a stretch four, instead of featuring him in the post.

  18. I think this will be a make or brake year for AB and I think he will produce,both offensively and defensively, we don’t need DH, to win a title, just get that out of your head, DH, although 2 years advanced on the court, AB is catching up, also the pieces will help, a starting PG (Nash), A backup PF (J. Hill), a backup SF (A. Jamison), now we need a backup SG (Meeks and/or Barbosa) and a backup PG (C. Del Fino) and a better coaching staff, this philosophy of letting each coach have their own offensive/defensive input is a bunch of BS, the head coach has to have the balls to make all assistant coaches accountable to him and he has to be accountable to winning games with better coaching and personnel management, that means to make sure the younger legs get more time, so the vets are more rested at the end of the season and ready for the playoffs and the title game and if he can’t do that then he should tell Jim Buss that he should pick another head coach, before the season begins, in other words, preseason should be enough time to determine if he can hack it or not !!!!!

  19. Ebanks and Eyenga have the tools to be excellent defenders in this league. I would really like coach Brown and MWP help those two get the most out of their athleticism. Their offensive shortcomings be damned, since we can have Kobe/Nash/Drew/Pau work on that end.

  20. Boy, we really need someone to reduce Kobe’s minutes this season. Good, we got Nash and Jamison but it’s not enough based on Olympic showing. Gasol was not spectacular too in this Olympics.

    Well, from the rumor mill, Lakers has showed interest with Meeks, Barbosa, K-Mart and lately 6′ 10″ Vernon Macklin. Unfortunately, nobody is biting the minimum mle except Jamison on a pro bono contract.

    The minimum mle is like working with a well-known aircraft manufacturer, Boeing for $ 8 per hour without any benefits. Lakers say, sorry no more new luxury taxes take it or leave it while Boeing too, reasons out that someone in Asia would accept this job for $2.50 per hour with pride and contentment. lol!

  21. drrayeye: Nice post at #5
    Darius @7: I missed that report as well, however I look for it at least 5 times per day.
    rr/Kevin: Yes – Brown should earn his keep and improve our defense, but also correct that the best way to do that is to get Mitch to contribute in a big way : )

    Stay Focused

  22. (7) Without a trade for Dwight, defense would be very lucky to tread water.

    There are still moves to be made.

  23. Installing an offense that the Head Coach doesn’t even understand has me wondering how their even going to find time to work on defense.

  24. Durant is by far the best player for the US
    —-

    His shot was dropping today; in some other games, it hasn’t been. James is the best player on the team, and the best in the league.

  25. ESPN has now has had three “bench Kobe” themed pieces during the Olympics, which was quite predictable.

  26. With Nash on the Lakers now how many of those stretches of consecutive dead basketball plays is Kobe allowed to have before it becomes detrimental?

    You are looking at it backwards. With Nash on the team, there won’t be as many possessions that end that way, since the defense will have to deal with Nash, in a way that it never had to with Fisher, Blake, or Sessions.

    Things have pretty much reached the point with Kobe such that any time he misses a fallaway or two, some people make a big deal about it. Westbrook, Williams and Anthony put up a combined 4/21 tonight…but I haven’t heard about that, either here or at ESPN.

    Iguodala and Kobe each played 20 minutes; Iguodala outplayed Kobe tonight.

  27. rr: When the offense breaks down Kobe WILL call for the ball on consecutive possessions and WILL get the ball on consecutive possessions. That’s the way things have operated for 16 years that won’t change. It may not happen as often but when Kobe gets frustrated and forces the action to score it won’t help chemistry. Long way until the Lakers season but that 3 minute stretch today wasn’t his best.

    That dunk by Igoudala should’ve counted.

  28. Looks like Meeks just rejected the Laker’s offer.

    Do we even want K-Mart?

  29. @ moderation–thanks for moderating out the grammar police postings from earlier today and for moderating what, in retrospect, was a lengthy and snotty response on my part….I need to put a big sign over my computer that says “thou shalt not feed the trolls” so I spare everyone the nonsense…

  30. #30. Yeah, I try to squash stuff like that the best I can. As an aside, the commenting guidelines sort of touch on that anyway, so I deleted the comments. I really do wish folks would read the guidelines…when followed, the discussion really is better.

  31. I actually believe that we are only one piece away from a championship trophy. Obviously we need a backup wingman but I believe that we CAN have a good defense and maybe win it all was it is.

    Everyone knows that Jamison can’t guard anyone anymore, but he will be playing the often mentioned “stretch four” and will be doing it so in limited minutes. I believe that the answer for our defensive problems on the wing is the development of Devin Ebanks (once we resign him). He is not a good player yet, but it’s up to the coaching staff to develop his skills, specially on the defensive end. He’s long and athletic and could help us a lot.

    If you remember Rambis’ SSZ from three years ago, we had certain lineups which were extremely long and caused fits for the opposing teams. Maybe that scheme can no longer be done, but I would like to see us play some more zone defense with the following lineup on the floor:

    Kobe
    Ebanks
    Artest
    Pau
    Bynum

    Obviously it would be done for limited periods, but it’s an easy way to rest our veterans while packing the paint with long arms and forcing the contested long jumpers. If it works, I can totally see us rotating some of the starters while keeping the zone with no dip in defensive efficiency. Couldn’t Eyenga, Jamison and Hill effectively rotate in such scheme?

    This is why I’m curious to see year 2 of MB. I have a terrible opinion on him as I believe he is not properly equipped to be the head coach of a professional team. I think he lacks tactical knowledge, willingness to be bold and command of the locker room. But if he uses this roster as it should be used, I can see us winning every single game that the opposing team is held below 100 points. And with this roster I think we could do it throughout the playoffs.

    You all say that for better defense we need better defensive players? I say we need a smarter coach…

  32. The title of this thread is, “Lakers Can’t Lose Sight Of The Other End Of The Floor”. In spite of that I read that Kobe is really old and ineffective. He should simply give up the ball to someone else who can do more with it. And this is a Laker site!!! Good Grief!

    When Wilt played for the Lakers it was in the last years of his career. I didn’t hear so much carping at that time, even though Bill Sharman had him functioning mostly as a defensive presence.

    Kobe is a basketball presence in the same stratosphere as Wilt. He is not a stupid player and his focus is on winning – not just personal gratification, more so than pretty much any superstar today, with the possible exception of Steve Nash.

    Give it a rest with the Kobe bashing. The Lakers have done pretty well this summer when compared with other franchises. I am not asking for Pollyanna here, but let’s keep the comments on how we improve – not on bashing our current stars.

  33. I think the one thing Kobe on offense can do to help the D is being more efficient and taking higher percentage shots. Long contested jumpers lead to long rebounds which then lead to run outs and easy points for the opposition. Lets face it, Bean is a high volume jump shooter at this point of his career forays to the cup are few far and between. It is time for the O to work for Bean, not the other way around. Nash should do wonders for that aspect of the game, as well as getting others involved on O. So teammates want become disinterested on D because their not getting the ball on the other end.

    Im not trying to bash any player or anyone because this is a team game, but it seemed to me last year as the O got stagnant the D suffered as well. The right balance has to be attained for this team to really reach their potential. Alot of championship egos to keep in check, but hopefully the drought of the last two years can be motivation to work together and not against one another. A team of individuals will never beat a team of one, no matter what game you play or job you work at.

  34. This is a lakers site. This is the elephant in the room. Kobe was for years the best player in the world and it was not close. At all star games he was the LeBron. The guy who just moved differently on the floor. Kobe led the league in usage rate by a significant margin last year and put up his worst FG percentage since he was 18 while doing it. Kobe isn’t going to let anyone on the Lakers shoot more than him next year. So monitoring his effectiveness this summer as a basketball player is of great consequence for the Lakers chances next season as championship contenders. The rest of the world is noticing the disaperience of Kobe during these world games… We should be as well.

  35. I’m glad you are so inside Kobe’s head, but your track record indicates you ought to stop with the absolutes.

  36. I think it’d be silly to not acknowledge that Kobe’s been having a rough go of it in the Olympics. I think it’d be just as silly to not acknowledge that the sample size of these games is quite small and that taking what we see now and determining he’ll play like that next year isn’t the smartest thing to do. There’s reason to wonder how great Kobe can be night in and night out in his 17th year with over 50 thousand minutes on his odometer. I don’t wonder if he can be an incredibly impactful player next season, however.

  37. To cover Lakers footspeed and lateral quickness issue I think Brown may try to play some zone this year. I remember a few times they played 3-2 zone but were shredded and went away from it quick.

    I just want to see the team on a string defensively. They don’t have to block all the shots or get steals in passing lanes. Play the kind of team defense Chicago, Boston and Miami play. And only those 3 teams I would consider elite team defenses from last year.

  38. Also it’d be great to see Brown scheme a defense to take away a team’s option 1 and/or 2 that night. He took away Westbrook’s driving lanes for a few games but really nothing else.

    Miami trapped Harden and forced him to pass on every single PnR in the finals and made him a jump shooter. Then when he got a driving lane he was so out of rhythm it wasn’t as money as it was vs SA or Lakers.

    George Karl forced Kobe into one-on-one situations. Bodied up our bigs and fronted them forced Kobe to play iso ball. Then when he saw Brown always put Blake/Sessions backcourt in he countered. I forget with which lineup (If someone knows can you refresh my memory). But Karl’s schemes made that a 7 game series.

    It’s time to see some schemes from Mike Brown. I can’t recall any throughout the year besides the PnR adjustment in the Okc series.

  39. Lol. You just had to call me a troll again. I’m actually a somewhat regular reader here.. I thought I was giving some advice, not grammar policing. When I write, I like others to let me know if I’m doing something wrong so I can fix it. No big deal.

    Anyway, it looks like Meeks won’t be signing for the minimum, at least according to his agent. Bummer. Hopefully we can pick up Barbosa.

  40. Kevin

    The players have to execute what the coach wants them to do. The coach cant get on the floor and perform what he teaches. This team just didnt seem to want to do what it took during the season to build any type of consistency that would carry over into the playoffs.

    The talent gap has closed on LA, the league has caught up and some teams surpassed. No longer is the margin of error so great they can coast and turn it on when they want too. A sporadic season yielded its ugly head in both postseason series ending with LA giving away two winnable games to OKC that would have changed the series. At the end reverting back to bad habits of not moving on offense and standing around on D waiting for Bean to save the day. I doubt Brown or any coaches on the bench told them to do that.

    My point is, coaches win because of the talent on floor. A scheme will only take you as far as the players execute such scheme. Im not ready to put more blame on Brown than on the players, until I see them make a change on the court. I dont want to say that the hunger and motivation to be the top dog is completely gone, but it seems the dog has lost its bite.

  41. Question is does the Laker front office think they need more help on the defensive side of the floor? I thought 6’5 defensive minded Roger Mason would have been a good fit backing up Kobe, but I heard very little about him on the Laker front (which was a good thing because that’s how the Lakers work), but now I’m reading Mason has agreed to a one year contract with the Hornets.

    Maybe it’s time for the Lakers to back off of the available free agents…not much left.

  42. More than lusting for any remaining free agent or possibly never-consumated trade, I want to see MWP start the season at the level he was pre-elbow/Harden’s grille. So many people are talking about playing small but you play the best game you can with the players you have to maximize your opportunity. Team USA is in the high 20s when Tyson Chandler is on the court and something like +8 when he’s off. Ron hulking out on the court all season with Bynum making a contract statement on both sides of the court might be the additional boost this team needs to keep themselves in the mix.

  43. Kobe looks every bit of an old superstar very well past his prime in London. No championship this year and on, until his $30M contract expires

  44. Aaron,

    We still have the best center in the NBA :-) Steve should help pry the ball from Kobe and pass it to him.

    There’s also just no way Kobe repeats last year this time around – he is not literally the only guard capable of bringing the ball up and initiating offense. His usage percentage might not decline significantly, and he’ll probably still shoot a lot. On balance, though, his looks should be higher quality, even if he forces things a little. Oh yeah, and there’s actually an offensive system that should be in place and worked on in training camp, so Brown probably won’t have to throw Kobe the keys like he said he had to do last year.

  45. Aaron: I usually do not point out the shortcomings of your posts, however you are repetitively bashing Kobe, so I must respond. Last year you boldly declared that the Lakers had a championship roster. You then stated we would win it all several times. Kobe and his $30 million contract were on that roster. We have since made some decent additions, yet now, we have no chance. I realize Kobe is 3 months older than he was when you made your bold statements, and I realize this is an election year, but this is taking flip flopping to a new level.

  46. Robert @ 47–

    That’s because Aaron believes we have downgraded from an ‘elite’ PG in Ramon Sessions to an ‘average’ one in Steve Nash and further fears we may exacerbate this decline by trading away the league’s ‘best center’ in Andrew Bynum for that mediocrity from Orlando.

  47. @45 – “Kobe LOOKS…every bit of an old superstar…”

    Really? Yes? No? Maybe? Just that game?

    Kobe had good and bad moments this olympics.

    So that’s guarantee he’s going to fail next season playing for the Lakers? Very unlikely.

    Biggest concern should be Socks to play D. Simple as that.

  48. @45

    Kobe has been deferring to young guns the energy guys.He is not washed up just saving legs.

  49. Kobe, Williams, Westbrook, and Melo are all scorers not shooters. Melo and Kobe were the best scorers in the league in their primes. Kobe is past his and Melo offers nothing more. Scorers are on some games and off others. The problem with Kobe and Melo is that they stop the ball and dribble the air out the ball. That stops all motion by the team, it causes disinterest by the other players and creates bad defensive possesions because the others don’t feel involved.

    Williams and Westbrook are point guards effectively. They will always have the ball in their hands. Williams can at least assist and keep others involved. Westbrook is too damn cocky and thinks that he is the best player even on the Olympic team. He and Harden (especially) are being exposed during the Olympics. Harden is not half as good as he thinks he is. He is being crossed over left and right and when his shot isn’t falling, he contributes nothing. Westbrook gets to sit down everytime he doesn’t keep the others involved. I don’t think he will ever get it.

  50. As far as defense, this will be the test for MB to turn Ebanks into a defensive stopper. Watching Ebanks quickly makes you aware that he may look like Trevor and have a similar build but he does not have Trevor’s defensive ability. He appears to be getting frustrated due to lack of playing time and when he does get in, he doesn’t play as you wish he would (something thar Hill did to perfection).

    The person I worry most about is Drew. I just can’t see ever being motivated to be what Phil asked him to be years ago (a stopper). Yes he had 30 rebounds in the game and twice had 5 blocks in a game, but his effort is always in question. This is where Kobe’s chucking worries me. Drew must be motivated and scoring to play both ends of the court. If he doesn’t score, he won’t play defense.

  51. For you early birds, entertaining qt final game on now between Russia and Lithuania (NBCSN). David Blatt, an ex Princeton player, and one of the more successful coaches in Europe, coaches the Russians. Switch the game on (or catch a replay) if you want to know what a legitimate Princeton offense looks like.

    I still don’t understand how this [Princeton] offense is the offense for two heavy seven-footers and an aging backcourt.

  52. I don’t think Kobe is past due, he’s current but just on rest and recreation in the Olympics. He would contribute here and there but leave the bulk of the work to the young legs and those who wanted to shine in this Olympics. If it warrants his support, he would do some rebound, a sporadic stopper, a facilitator but no longer the go-to-guy. A lot of you on this site are mostly young with faint clue of what happens when body structure becomes weary. You don’t feel those gaps in conserving energies but expect a player who has been in this league for almost 20 years with the highest playing time to be always in the optimum mode like your fave hero in your smart phony computer games. Of course, he’s human and expect to tone down a little bit in summer time.

    I wish to reiterate again that he needs help in the coming season as far as “playing time” is concerned. He should not be put to a task like previous season wherein he plays 40 minutes per game as one of the starters, the bench and the closer. The Coach and FO should acknowledge physical limitation of the super duper Superstar on the way to 17th Championship. I just believe that all battles are won if you have well rehearsed plan of action and inspired execution.

  53. I don’t know who the “Aaron” was who wrote comment number 45 but it wasn’t me, the real Aaron. I believe the Lakers can win a championship…. Just not with Kobe as the best player anymore. Bynum needs to have a another big step up next year to raise his PER near 27. That’s the magic number for PERs of a championship teams best player.

  54. rr: When the offense breaks down Kobe WILL call for the ball on consecutive possessions and WILL get the ball on consecutive possessions. That’s the way things have operated for 16 years that won’t change

    One more time: assertions aren’t facts. The problem with Kobebashers is that they place too much emphasis on him. This is the first time Kobe has played with Steve Nash, and the fact is that you don’t actually know how things will play out. Also, having Nash makes the offense a lot less likely to break down.

    Darius,

    No, Kobe has not played well in the Olympics, but the ESPN TrueHoop/stats crowd backhands him constantly. Abbott, Hollinger, Mason, Haberstroh and Arnovitz all obviously dislike him to varying degrees, and it shows up in how they write about him. None of them will ever admit it, but I could give examples all day.

  55. that dont means nothing