Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kobe Bryant's playing pop-a-shot, but at what expense?

Kobe Bryant taking the Raptors to school for 81 points Sunday night has everyone in a tizzy. Yes, a tizzy! You can't find anyone in the media or on the web that doesn't have an opinion. So here's mine...

Kobe is a selfish prick. Then again, I've spent the last 3 years watching a Detroit team that makes the extra pass, finds the open man, spreads the ball around, plays defense, and sacrifices personal stats in order to win.

I agree with those who say that Kobe is one of those once in a generation talents. But don't the best players make others around him better? Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas did, to name just two. Bryant has never done that, and I doubt he ever will. It's kind of hard when you never pass the ball. Kobe's going to be double and triple teamed the rest of the season and he will still jack the ball up, rather than pass to an open man.

On the great "Inside the NBA" on TNT the other night, Charles Barkley said it best. During a discussion of Kobe's recent points explosion, David Aldridge said, in his opinion, Kobe is throwing up jumpers because his teammates shoot brick after brick. Barkley came back with (paraphrasing) "They're so stunned they even got the ball, they don't know what to do!"

I'm surprised the Zen Master puts up with it. Phil Jackson seems to be in a win now mode, rather than building for the future. He'll get a few more wins with Kobe playing pop-a-shot, but at what cost to the other 14 guys on the roster? If I'm Lamar Odom, I want out of town so I can play play on a "Team," not on the Los Angeles Kobe's.

Could the Los Angeles Kobe's gel better as a team if Kobe passed the ball when his teammates were wide open? How about rewarding a good pass with one from Kobe in return that could score an easy hoop? Why go the extra mile for Kobe when you aren't getting anything for sacificing your own game? It's not as if those sacrifices are leading to wins. It must be an awful lot of fun being on the floor, setting up Kobe, then just standing around hoping to get a rebound while he goes one on five...every time down the floor. Kobe is an out and out black hole, no good player is going to want to be on the same team. Just ask Shaq.

Kobe was a selfish ball hog when the Lakers were championship caliber. If he dumps the ball into Shaq (as he was being covered man-on-man) during the '04 Finals, maybe it becomes a closer, even winnable, series rather than the Pistons blowout (AKA 5 game sweep) it became. As good as the Pistons D and Ben Wallace are, Shaq was literally unstoppable down on the blocks. But Kobe continued to force off balance 20 footers while well covered. It looks more and more that the Lakers last three titles were thanks to Shaq's efforts, rather than Kobe's.

Which leads me to the ancillary discussion this game has brought up. That being, "Kobe for MVP." Does someone putting up monster numbers on a .500 team deserve the MVP over those playing at a high level (Chauncy Billups or Dirk Nowitzki) whose teams are actually championship contenders? Steve Kerr, in his latest Yahoo blatherings, says to forget the intangibles, Kobe's MVP, arguement over. This brings up talk similar to the, "Did Andre Dawson deserve the MVP despite playing on a last place Cubs team?" debate. In my biased mind, it's premature to say case closed, Kobe's MVP. He's going overwhelm you with offensive numbers, but the Lakers are going nowhere other than to a first round playoff knockout. That's if the Los Angeles Kobe's even make the playoffs, as it's far from a given.

Kobe will be first team NBA, but he's not MVP. True MVP's make their teammates better and lead their teams to titles. My MVP is Chauncy Billups. Now that's case closed.


  1. Uh oh, look out, you are now going to officially be tagged as a "hater" for the evil things you said about Obi-Wan Ball-Kobe. However, I do agree, so I guess we can be haters together.

  2. Yes, listen to the Sports Dude. I had to ice myself all day after the beating I took from the Kobe Lovers Club yesterday. Who knew that guy had fans?

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  4. R u stupid as hell. Dude, Kobe is even better than MJ! Has anyone ever scored 81 pts. beside Wilt? NO! And he did it shooting better than 60% so it is okay. It's not like he is missing every shot. he passes when players r open, but thats rare so he usually shoots becuase he can make it. he also score 62 shooting better than 60% so he deserves MVP!!!!!

  5. Kobe 4 MVP

  6. LOL! He is not a hater he is telling the truth. Kobe 60%? What? Here are Jordan's top five 50 plus games with points and FG%: 69 - .6216, 64 - .5510, 63 - .5365, 61 - .5641, 61 - .5789. Has Kobe every shot 50% for a season? Uh? No. Also, against Detroit in 1988 he had 59 points and a .7777 field goal percentage from the floor. That's right! Put that percentage or any other one up with his attempts on any night.

  7. it's April 15th and guess what! Kobe's team is going to the playoffs, he'll win the scoring race and will go deeper in the playoff than anyone thinks!