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Kobe shooting woes sign of changes coming to Lakers

Jan 2, 2012, 5:06 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant looks on against the New York Knicks during second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

Kobe Bryant was ice cold last night, shooting 6-of-28. That of course has led to the standard black or white Kobe discussion on the internet — his defenders act as if he can do no wrong, his detractors think he shoots for his ego not because he’s one of the game’s great all time shooters.

As with all things Kobe, it’s not that simple.

Kobe and the Lakers are adjusting to major changes — Mike Brown’s new offense and the shift of the Lakers to an inside-out offensive team. Here is what Brown told the Los Angeles Daily News.

“We got a couple of things we can run to get (Kobe) in his sweet spots,” Brown said. “I’m still trying to figure out that, too. We’ve got a guy like (Andrew) Bynum, we’ve got a guy like (Pau) Gasol, who deserve touches. You always want to play in the flow. We’re all kind of feeling our way right now.”

Kobe is now a primary ball handler on the pick-and-roll and that’s a big adjustment from the actions of the triangle. Unleashed like this Kobe’s nature is to attack — and so he takes on more of the offensive load. He has a usage rate of 38.2 (basically percentage of possessions used when he is on the floor), which is the highest it has been since the Smush Parker/Kwame Brown era in Los Angeles.

Just like those seasons, when Kobe starts off shooting 1-of-10 like he did Sunday night he will keep shooting because Kobe has shot his way out of slumps for 15 seasons. His incredible confidence in himself is a reason he has 28,000 career points. He still sees himself as the best scoring option.

But Kobe has to adjust.

The Lakers beat Denver the night before because despite having Nene the Nuggets can’t stop Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. For two games Bynum is averaging 23.5 points per game shooting 66.7 percent — feed the man the ball.

Kobe is the only guy who can really create his own shot on the perimeter for this Lakers squad, Kobe is going to be the guy with the ball in his injured hands. But he must learn to be a distributor more than just a scorer. For the sake of the Lakers he has to approach it differently. He has to feed the post more. He has to get himself to the post more. The Lakers need to work inside out.

The Lakers have the size and skill up front that no team can match. That is where they are going to win games, that is where they are going to advance deep into the playoffs (that and defense). Kobe still needs to be Kobe, but a modified version. Sort of like the Lakers themselves.

Can Kobe adapt? Can the Lakers? It may take time, but if they can they are a threat in the West. If not, things will end early for an older Lakers team.

  1. goforthanddie - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Kobe’s about as professional as ballers get. You can’t blame a new coach/system for 6-for-28 shooting. He either had an off-night (in which case maybe pull him?) or he’s too hurt to be effective (in which case, maybe pull him?).
    I think Kobe’s smart enough to know when to say when, but there is that ego thing, and God knows Kobe has one. Maybe the change LA needs to prep for is Kobe not playing.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jan 3, 2012 at 4:27 AM

      Have you ever watched Kobe play for the Lakers? Professional? Sure, when it comes to gunning. He’s a professional gunner. This is what he does. Kobe knows when to say when? You are delusional.

      Kobe does need to meld with the team. This will be the most difficult year of his career as the team moves to another alpha dog to win the next banner. He needs to think and play more like it’s 2001 and not 2009.

      Go Lakers!

  2. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Being the ultra-fierce competitor that he is, you can bet Kobe is PISSED off that the team couldn’t bring in some firepower to ensure they stay elite. Right now it seems as if Kobe has to create offense all on his own(which he has proven to be rather effective at over the years), but the guy isn’t a kid anymore. CP3 could have been the player to facilitate the offense for Kobe and others, instead of Kobe having to do it alone.

    The Clip-show was basically the little brother in LA that got smacked around and disrespected, with the Lakers reigning as the kings of Hollywood. The roles seem to be reversing, fewer teams seem to be intimidated by LA…and thats sure gotta sting for #24.

  3. bearsstillsuck - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Stick a fork in them.

  4. mtm1321 - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Kobe you missing Shaq?

  5. borderline1988 - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    The Lakers have the best frontcourt in the league. Bynum is turning into an absolute monster. He and Gasol are the perfect combination in terms of their different skillsets.

    As the blogger mentioned, this is about Kobe adjusting. Sure, Kobe is the lone player on the Lakers who can actually put the ball on the floor and drive. But the Lakers are really, really hard to beat when Bynum and Gasol are getting touches and playing well.
    Kobe will still get the ball late in the 4th. But he’s gotta stop shooting 10 shots in each of the 2nd and 3rd quarters of games. It doesn’t help anyone when a guy who is shooting 30% is putting up tons of shots each game (except for the opposing team).
    He should distribute, save energy for the 4th, and then make plays to win the game.

  6. wiLQ - Jan 2, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Surprisingly it was the first time he had game with such terrible shooting [6/28] & 6 TOs… but that was enough to join my list of most unique stat-lines of first week ;-): http://weaksideawareness.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-most-unique-feats-in-week-1-of-nba-201112/

  7. glink123 - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    I’ll take Deng, Boozer, and Noah over Bynum, Gasol, and McRoberts. Lol. Bynum has 2 decent games and suddenly he’s Kareem.

    • cosanostra71 - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      I was under the impression that Bynum has had 4 decent years, but I guess we could pretend he’s only had 2 decent games.

      • pudgalvin - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        Figure in the games he’s missed and it’s more like two decent years stretched out over 4.

      • progress2011 - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:14 PM

        Bynums knees are soooo jacked-up, he appears deformed trying to run. As cosanostra71 mentioned, he has not been reliable.

        Bynum can only get you 30-40 games a season MAX !!!

        Gasol is a great inside presence but as previous Hall of Famers, that have played with kobe have complained, when he is jacking up ill-advised shots, it disrupts the flow of the game and the flow of big men to get the touches they need.

        The lakers play better as a team, with more continuity, WITHOUT KOBE !!!

        There is a reason people refer to Cali as La-La land. It’s because the residents there are dreamers.

        This is one of the better reports written by Helin.

  8. keyshawn22 - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Kobe=ball hog

    Kobe=chucker

    Kobe=Most selfish player in the NBA

    • goforthanddie - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Kobe=5-time champion

    • leib15 - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Kobe= top 10 player of all time
      Keyshawn22= blogging in his tighty-whities from his mommas basement

  9. mtm1321 - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Kobe you miss Shaq yet?

  10. keyshawn22 - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Yea so is Derek Fisher whats your point?

    Maybe they should both write Shaquille some thank you notes for 3 of those titles….

    • goforthanddie - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      And who would Kobe write to re: the last 2 titles? Did Fish win them? Yeah, like Luke Walton won them.
      Get over yourself. You don’t have to like him, but don’t make yourself look stupid.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      maybe shaq should thank Kobe for the help..huh? ever thought about that? ya think shaq would have those 3 without kobe? NO…he wouldnt.

      really? comparing fisher’s role to kobe’s role on a team? keyshawn22, thats just stupid. kobe is a leader/major contributor on the team. as much as i love fish, he is a role player. comparing the 2 is lunacy. your arguement is weak and lame.

      ya know keyshawn, another extremely selfish player in the NBA at one time was MJ…think about that one.

  11. chadinkc30 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Classic Kobe hate…maybe Shaq should send Kobe and Wade a note for his titles, because without them he’d have ZERO! Kobe is the best player in the NBA since Jordan & its not even close

  12. jimothyvonstojavic - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Kobe has never been a high percentage shooter. He just jacks up so many shots he has to make some. People need to get over him.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      oh yeah…lets get over his 5 rings and role on a yearly contender. jeez…get over him? dude, how stupid. lets just dismiss the best player in the NBA the past 10 years. man, i forgot how many ignorant people there are here saying/thinking stuff like “oh…i hate the Lakers…therefore…kobe sucks.” just stop people. i didnt like the atlanta hawks but i never said dominique wilkins sucked…

  13. keyshawn22 - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    If u recall it was fisher and artest who made the big shots in game 7 of the 2010 finals while Kobe went 6-24. We all know the lakers would have won the 3 peat with Eddie jones starting instead of Kobe also. I never said fisher was as good as Bryant all I said was he is also a 5 time champ.

    The guy who made all the big shots for the 3 peat team was Robert horry not Kobe.

    Kobe is just a volume shooter who was lucky enough to play with shaq or he’d just be another mcgrady

    • goforthanddie - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh. Shut up with your personal bias. I’m sure LA made the Finals because of Fisher and fscking Artest.
      Again, cork the stupidity.

  14. chadinkc30 - Jan 3, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Man some people are really stupid! Eddie Jones hahaha

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