Kobe Bryant‘s early struggles continued last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder giving doubters more fuel to throw on the fire. Los Angeles Lakers fans may be torn on the matter, but I know that the Black Mamba will strike soon.
Bryant has totaled a mere 33 points in three games thus far. Those numbers may be a bit deceiving due to Bryant’s clear intention of getting his players involved. He does not want to step in and command the ball as he usually would. The Lakers were playing well before he came back, and he probably does not want to ruin their groove.
Bryant is not to blame for the team’s last three losses. Those players who gave this team some hope without Bryant just have not been the same since his return. Pau Gasol has yet to find his “big boy pants” leaving him victim to some harsh criticism from his own head coach.
Bryant may be forced to step up and induce his venom in the Lakers’ lackluster system. When he starts to take more shots he will feel more comfortable. He was not completely unsuccessful in his efforts through the first three games. Bryant put up 13 assists on Friday night in Oklahoma. He displayed his improved passing ability last year, and he seems even more eager to be the man who puts his team in the best position to win.
It will not be long before everyone is bowing to the magic of the Mamba. Bryant’s earned enough respect, but he always wants more. In an interview earlier this week he made it clear that the driving force behind his return is to pursue a sixth ring. The Lakers will need to make some moves before any rings will be won, but we all know just how much Los Angeles loves to bring in those top-tier free agents. Bryant will slowly get himself back into shape waiting for the right move to be made.