Sports Opinion & Analysis

Kobe Should Be The One Who “Shuts Up”

In NBA on November 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Despite the loads of future Hall-of-Fame talent on their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are off to an 0-2 start for the second straight season. The team isn’t playing defense, and the offense looks surprisingly anemic and inept.

And if you ask Kobe Bryant about it, he’ll tell you everyone just needs to shut about it.

“I’ve won so I can [tell people to shut up]. For Mike [Brown] it might be a little tough to say that so I’ll say it for him, ‘Everybody shut up.”–Actual quote.

The problem with Kobe’s logic is this: just because he has won in the past doesn’t mean he has an infallible knowledge on how to win in the present. If it did, then technically he wouldn’t have lost two NBA Finals (2004 and 2008), right? I mean, if you know exactly what it takes to win, why don’t you use that knowledge every single time?

Kobe saying he knows how to win and therefore no one should question him, is a like a retiree with a 1985 programming degree saying, “don’t worry, I know computers so let me fix your iPad.” What may have worked in the past doesn’t always translate to the present.

“Except for managing an NBA team, I know nothing about failure.”

And right now, with an 0-2 start, Bryant doesn’t know a thing about winning.

This isn’t to say he won’t, and that the Lakers won’t somehow figure out how to win in the future. With Oklahoma City trading away James Harden, and the Spurs getting older by the day, the Western Conference is completely up for grabs.

But that’s a lot of “what-if’s”, and if the Lakers don’t listen to some criticism and readjust their style of play, they won’t know anything about winning in 2012, and won’t even be in contention once May comes around.

As displayed by my early July freak out, it should come as no surprise that I am a diehard Phoenix Suns fan. And because I am a diehard Suns fan, I have watched a lot of Steve Nash basketball. Probably an unhealthy amount. With that said, I can tell you that unless Nash is playing in a fast break first, pick-and-roll second offense, you might as well see what Smush Parker is up to, because Nash is no different from any other mediocre point guard in league.

The Mike Brown Style Offense (i.e. slow-down and get in your set before anything else) will not work with Nash running it, and it is a disservice to the athleticism of Dwight Howard.

“Why should I even bother learning to the offense? I’m just going to be in Brooklyn next year anyways.”

Howard is the best big man in the league, and unlike the last best big man (Shaq), Howard can run the court in a reasonable time. Same thing with the Gasol and Ron Artest (again, I refuse to degrade myself by calling him anything else).

The real issue facing the Lakers is that the team is supposedly, as expressed by Kobe himself, still Kobe’s team. So everything has to slow down in order to go through him. Instead, Brown should kick up the offense’s tempo, and let Nash run a fast break offense through Dwight, Gasol or Artest. When that doesn’t work, kick it out back to Nash to run a pick-and-roll via Dwight or Gasol.

Then, if that doesn’t work, kick it back out to Kobe (or Nash, who is a quite the shooter as well), and let them score as a last resort. For the Lakers to work as they are currently built, and to find a way of winning like Kobe supposedly knows all about, the Lakers need to let the other guys figure out what to do, and then only rely on Kobe as the offense’s fail safe. With that much talent of the team, the Lakers are no longer “Kobe & Co.,” but rather a collection of some of the best talent found in the league for years. They need to utilize all of it, and not let them just become a supporting cast to one player.

But until then, until they do figure it out, Kobe needs to shut up about the criticism and complaints, because right now, the Lakers are flat-out awful, and don’t have a clue about winning.

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