Last night, during the Los Angeles Lakers‘ primetime matchup against the Miami Heat, there were both positives and negatives to take away from the Lakers’ performance. One positive was that the Lakers defense was a tad bit improved and kept the Heat out of the lane for the most part, excluding the human freight train known as LeBron James. But one glaring negative was Kobe Bryant’s 8-25 shooting night, including him connecting on just 3-16 through the first three quarters.
Bryant’s tough start led to him venting some frustrations after the game:
“I need some help offensively to save energy and not have to isolate and do things like that,” Bryant said. “I’m going to need some picks. I’m going to need to catch-and-shoot like I did in the fourth quarter a little bit to make my job a little easier. I think the first three quarters of me just standing around the perimeter, the defense is praying for that. We have to do some things to free me up and get me in open spaces, this way I can be more active on the defensive end of the floor.”
While Bryant’s point of needing more screens is valid, the superstar also needs to exhibit better judgment and shot selection when those screens aren’t coming.
Kobe has made an outstanding career out of making difficult shots. This is who he has been as a basketball player for over two decades now, so to assume that he would adjust the nature of his game at this point would be futile.
But hypothetically speaking, let’s entertain the notion. Instead of Bryant forcing difficult shot after difficult shot when the offense breaks down, what if he instead dished it off to Steve Nash and let Nash utilize his superior playmaking abilities to create a better scoring opportunity? Nash could in the least get Kobe or Dwight Howard or Metta World Peace a better look more often than not, no?
Kobe Bryant is shooting the highest percentage from the field this season than he has ever in his 17-year NBA career, and in many of those games, Nash was out with a leg injury. The Lakers also were under .500 in those games. Maybe the time has come for Bryant to relinquish some of the responsibility and actually allow his teammates to help him in other ways besides just setting screens to get himself open.
Just a thought.