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Kobe’s play with Team USA could foreshadow Lakers offense

Jul 24, 2012, 3:39 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant of the US looks on during an Getty Images

Against Spain on Tuesday, or when Team USA opens Olympic play against France Sunday, watch Kobe Bryant work in the offense.

He often starts on the weak side, or certainly off the ball, as Chris Paul comes off a high pick and tries to dissect the defense. LeBron James will do some shot creation for himself or others as well. Kobe will work hard off the ball, pop out off screens and when he gets the rock he attacks if the mismatch is there, or he finds an open teammate.

It’s not the ball-dominating guy dribbling a hole in the floor Lakers fans recognize. Because he doesn’t have to be.

That could be what we see more of with Kobe and the Lakers next season now that Steve Nash is there to handle the ball and they still will have Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (or some combo of All-Star big men) in the paint. The brilliant Kevin Ding paints the picture at the Orange County Register.

Actually, (Lakers coach Mike) Brown’s aspiration in taking the job a year ago was that Bryant would score more efficiently by playing more from the backside of the Lakers’ offense after an initial thrust via Bynum or Gasol in the post. That can actually work next season, because Nash is an absolute innovator in the concepts of space and time.

Besides being a uniting force as a team leader, Nash will bring the Lakers’ offense back to Bryant’s irrefutable truth learned from Jackson: You should first take what the defense gives you (even if scoring against what the defense doesn’t give you is rather more satisfying).

Last season, the Lakers needed Kobe to create from the perimeter because nobody else really could. And when Kobe creates, it’s usually for Kobe. But Nash changes that equation. At his introductory press conference, Nash talked about was getting Kobe easier baskets and cleaner looks. Kobe still scores, but becomes more efficient doing it.

If you think Kobe wouldn’t do that, I think you don’t know Kobe. He’ll do whatever he thinks helps the team win. On Team USA that is defend and play off the ball. On the Lakers last season that didn’t really work well.

Next season might be a different story.

  1. misterdreamer119 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Whatever man. Dood is a ball hog and eats up the clock then shoots a difficult shot. A leopard cannot change his spots.

    • jetstizzi85 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      That was because they didnt have a great PG like Nash…which they do now…frees him up

    • urodaddy07 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      learn how to spell – lesson 1: the word is “dude”.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 25, 2012 at 4:57 AM

        Lol!

        …Says the guy who starts off his sentence with a lower case letter.

      • bedetermine - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:40 AM

        Lol!

        …Says the guy who starts off his sentence with a lower case letter.

        LOL!

        Says the guy that used an ellipsis to start is sentence. Especially regarding the fact that his sentence never actually quoted anyone.

    • 24thesho - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      The “ball hog” has a few World Championship rings, too. Jus sayin’…

  2. teedraper - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    “It’s not the ball-dominating guy dribbling a hole in the floor Lakers fans recognize”

    Listen you pissant! Not one Laker fan thinks that of KB you salty little bitch!

    I hope you end up like Jay Marrioti

  3. thraiderskin - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    if he is willing to do what he can in order to help the team win, how about cutting the Lakers some cap space or atleast alleviate some of the lux tax.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      players in the nba cannot rework their contract like they can in the nfl. the lakers can amnesty kobe but then he has to resign with another team and i don’t see that happening either.

      kobe has done this before. he played with shaq, remember. they might not have been cozy with each other but their games were.

  4. karnage81 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I wish ppl wud stop with the he doesn’t distribute the ball s***. He basically averages 5 ast a game for his career and he didn’t start the first two. he is paid to score hence his position shooting guard

  5. joshm5683 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    As a Lakers fan I have complete confidence Kobe will have no problem relinquishing control of the offense to Nash. I think Kobe realizes how much less work he’ll have to do and remain fresher and get good shots. I think from my point of view, I only question how he handles it in crunch time. 5 minutes to go and a game within 4 points……….thats when I question if Kobe is willing to let Nash handle the ball. I think if anyone thinks Kobe will have a problem doing it the 1st like 44 minutes of a game, you just don’t like Kobe and think he has to have the ball all the time. He will give it up then, the real question is what happens in a close game. I just hope that the offense runs smoothly to close games out.

  6. misterdreamer119 - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Really dood? Since when did spelling count on the www?

    • mytthor - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      Since always. But it only counts if not seeming like an idiot doesn’t concern you. There are 2 groups of people who don’t mind seeming like an idiot. Willful idiots, and oblivious idiots.

  7. lakerluver - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Great piece of writing. Kobe’s game is the most misunderstood in the NBA. He has never had the opportunity to just be a two guard because he’s never played with a true point guard. Kobe’s only goal is to win rings. He knows that is what separates the greats from the truly greats.

  8. papichulo55 - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Agreed. Great article that gave me somethin new. Kobe has a will to win that is second only to MJ.

    Kobe and LBJ brings home the gold!

  9. proballerslounge - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    http://proballerslounge.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/who-had-the-better-game-mj-or-kobe/

    69 vs 81 points

    • crtzinc - Jul 25, 2012 at 12:36 AM

      81 will always be greater than 69. Jordan had an overtime period too, hah no contest.

  10. 3pointlegend - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    There is no way in the world Kobe will alter his game plan because of Steve Nash. Nash is a Laker to improve the offense of every not named Kobe. Kobe now has a player who he can trust in a big moment, but don’t think for a minute Nash presence changes the way Kobe plays.

  11. rtfinch - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I don’t know, Jordan took less shots, got fouled more, and didnt have any 3’s.

  12. omniusprime - Jul 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    We’ll see if that idiot Clown Brown can actually figure out an offense Kobe will be effective in. Last season was a disaster on offense as Clown Brown didn’t have a clue how to replace the fabled and effective Triangle Offense, the greatest offense ever created for basketball. What the Lakers need are better bench players, we need to get rid of those deadbeats Flake, McRoberts and Murphy.

  13. paulhargis53 - Jul 25, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Never played with a “true point guard”?!
    Fisher, Van Exel,Payton,Scott.

    What you fail to mention is that the system he played in under Jackson didnt require a traditional pg.

    You don’t know anymore than anyone if he can handle playing with one. Pure speculation. Kobe will take his shots no matter what, no matter whose playing. It wouldn’t be him if he didn’t go 9-27 most nights.
    Stop comparing him to Jordan also.
    That you have to stoop to highest scoring games to find somewhere Kobe outdid him speaks volumes.
    Kobe is not the best ever, he’s barely in the top 5 for his own team.
    Prime, its great to see a Laker fan that gets it. Their bench will be their downfall unless its fixed.
    Ok, lakerluver, this is where you namecall and make up lies about me. I do have a team, they are better than your team too. I don’t tell you who it is, cause it pisses you off. Get ready for another 2nd round exit though. No bench= no further than that.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      yes…true that the triangle does not call for a strong PG, a system that was in place for most of his career. personally, none of the PG’s you mentioned are in the caliber of nash (the Glove lost a couple steps by the time he got there), so it will be interesting to see what will happen as i believe nash can still be a force on the floor.

      well…we will see who is eating crow at the end of the season. i always say there are at least 6 teams every year that have a legit shot to win the title…the Lakers being one of them. you have your opinion that they will not win it, fine by me. i’m saying thet have a very legit shot at winning the title…but, time will tell.

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