Kobe Bryant has become more of a distributor and less of a scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers over the past two months this season, but he looked like the classic Kobe Friday night with 40 points in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Bryant scored 40 points for the first time since December against the Blazers. This comes just three games after scoring just four points, his lowest total in a full game played since he scored two points in 28 minutes all the way back on March 28…1998. The fact that he’s averaging more assists per game than he has in the last seven seasons is all fine and dandy. Fantasy basketball owners, however, drafted Bryant for his scoring – something he’s done better than anyone for much of his career – and that’s what he needs to get back to.
He not only found his shooting stroke Friday – shooting 15-23 from the field – but he the Blazers couldn’t stop him from driving to the basket and he was 9-9 from the line. While just under 27 points per game (fourth in the NBA) shouldn’t be considered a “down year”, the fact of the matter is that the 19 points per he was averaging this month before Friday’s performance is unacceptable.
The Lakers signed the old man Steve Nash to dish out assists and they have Bryant to score. In his 17th season, there is certainly plenty of wear-and-tear on his body. Nonetheless, he is still one of the best scorers in the league and if the Lakers are going to accomplish anything this season, they need him to rack up the points. The Bryant that averaged just under 34 points in the month of December is the one that fantasy owners, and the Lakers, should wish to see for the rest of the season.