If you’ve followed the Lakers at all over the course of Kobe Bryant’s career, one theme that is revisited often relates to the stagnation of the Lakers’ offense and how that relates to Kobe’s shot volume.
On one side of the coin is the argument that Kobe shoots a lot because his teammates stop moving, instead choosing to watch him work with the ball in isolation. Kobe’s a gifted scorer in these situations, and the argument says when he gets the ball it’s easy to sit back and hope that he can do something positive with it.
The other side of the coin is that players stop moving because Kobe’s not going to pass them the ball anyway. We’ve all seen possessions where Kobe narrows his focus on the basket and, in the process, doesn’t pass the ball to teammates who may be open. That argument always ends with Kobe being a “ball hog” and someone who would rather shoot than pass.
I’ve always subscribed to the theory that it’s a little bit of both and that you can’t paint Kobe with any broad brush when it comes to his playing style. I’ve seen him force shots over multiple defenders when there was seemingly no need to just as I’ve seen him pick apart defenses with deft passes and high level decision making. There is no definitive Kobe Bryant style, he’s a chameleon on the court and, whether you like him or not, an offensive basketball genius.
That doesn’t mean he’s always right or that he’s infallible. Every player is prone to having bad games and making mistakes, the great ones included.
In any event, the video above is a nice snapshot into one part of Kobe’s game that has always been true (at least to my eyes). When the game is starting to slip away, Kobe tends to try and do more in order to help his team win. Where others might try to get their teammates more involved, Kobe tries to impact the game in the best way he knows how — by getting buckets. The interesting part is that, as the video explains, Kobe actually is more efficient when his team’s deficit swells and he’s trying to get them back into the game.
What this all means in the bigger picture is a topic for another day, but enjoy the clip above. Because while we may never get a definitive answer about why the Lakers’ offense stagnates, this video really does give us some insight into what Kobe could be thinking when the Lakers start to find themselves down big.
(h/t to TrueHoop for the video)