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Kobe says this is most talented Lakers team he has been on

Oct 2, 2012, 2:53 AM EDT

New center Dwight Howard greets Kobe Bryant during NBA media day for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in Los Angeles Reuters

Kobe Bryant has been on Lakers teams with amazing talent — Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, Glen Rice, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum.

But he said he has never been on a more talented team than this one, which has a likely starting five of Steve Nash, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard (once everyone is healthy).

That’s an impressive (and expensive) superteam. One that could contend for a title. Kobe talked about it with Marc Spears of Yahoo.

“On its face, it’s the best talent I’ve been around,” Bryant said. “Whether that translates into winning a championship remains to be seen. But just on paper you’re talking Defensive Player of the Years, MVPs, All-Stars. You’re talking about a myriad of things. Guys who are at the top of their position at one point or another. It’s pretty dope.”

He’s right.

This is more talented than the 2004 team (with Payton and Malone, a team that fell short in the finals to a hot Pistons squad), because this team has more guys near their peak. Nash is not young but he is still as good as anyone alive running the pick-and-roll. Howard can score and is a defensive monster — and defense is the key for the Lakers. Gasol will make it work because he’s versatile and besides, that’s his personality. He fits in. And Kobe will do what it takes to win.

The team needs to come together, no doubt. There are a lot of “on paper” questions about the Lakers that still need to be answered. (And probably will in the affirmative — these are veteran players whose skills don’t overlap. They likely figure it out.)

It’s going to be fun to watch because they will be one of the best teams in the league, but if it goes south it could be a firey train wreck. Howard knows all about being in one of those.

  1. xjokerz - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    2004 lakers were better. IMO

    • zacksdad - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      And the 2004 team lost due to injuries included. Kurt seemed to forget that again.

  2. lakerade - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    I feel blessed to get to watch such exhilarating teams year after year, can’t wait for this season to start and get all this talent off paper and on the hardwood! #17

  3. dpeter11 - Oct 2, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    Keeping my fingers crossed for the fiery train wreck! Boy Dwight Howard is a dope.

  4. ibchuck33 - Oct 2, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    Dwight Coward deserves to crash & burn

  5. omniusprime - Oct 2, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Let’s get this party started! I can’t wait to see the new look Lakers with tons of talent. I hope that Nash and Howard will be extra hungry to win a title and claim their first rings. Go Lakers!

  6. cpaulii - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    The scary part is that the Lakers added + 43 points/game after adding the new players and subtracting the players from last year no longer with the team. insane number when you think about it, and that number did not include Douglas-Roberts 7 points/game if he makes the team.

  7. paulhargis53 - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Dumb comment. Howard is not going to average what he did last year. Jamison is not going to see 17 points a game. Neither will ant new bench players hit their previous seasons totals. Howard is the 4th option, his points will come off rebounding for the most part.

    Kobe will take as many shots as he has to to get his 27 points.
    This team has all the ingredients for an implosion. Starting with Howard’s bad back and Kobes refusal to let go of ” who’s team is it”.
    Can’t wait for the train to leave the tracks….

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Take a look in the mirror for that train wreck you want so badly…..

    • mightyquinn69 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      @paulhargis53. You are the train wreck….lol

  8. manchestermiracle - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM


    Otherwise, a nicely positive article about the Lakers for a change, although these single quotations could easily be combined into one posting.

  9. shockexchange - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Horry Jr is way too modest. Given the watered down NBA, Pau Gasol / D12 at the same ____ time … two skilled 7-footers at the same ____ time, MWP (at one time the best player on the planet), Nash and Horry Jr may be the best team in the history of the L.

  10. kso1234 - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Kurt, I love how you conveniently called the Pistons a “hot” team instead of “better” team. That Pistons squad was BETTER than that Lakers squad, that’s why they won.

  11. pop562 - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    @paulhargis53, seems like you really hate the lakers a lot and that’s understandable. But to wish for a team to implode is a bit irrational and downright bitter. I know the only reason you root for the celtics is because your man crush on KG. But it came to my attention for the past year that any article that relates with the lakers you are more than obligated to comment.

  12. giselleisasucubus - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Kurt, come one, really? This team is more talented that 04? No way. You are dead wrong. Shaq & Kobe were in there prime. Payton & Nash are a wash, one was a better defender(Payton) and Nash is better on offense. That’s a wash. You going to tell me that Malone at 36 was less effective than Gasol at 33/34? Look up the numbers. Malone was still good, and like Gasol, needed other pieces w/him to win (which he still didnt do). Bottom line- Shaq & Kobe were in there prime, so the ’12 team doesnt compare. If someone tries saying that Howard is even close to Shaq, you just don’t get the game, and sorry, I’ll take 27 year old Kobe over 35 year old Kobe any day.

  13. giselleisasucubus - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Yeah, that Pistons team got hot for about 3 YEARS, BTW. That is like saying the Celtics got hot in 08 and 09-12 because they havent won a title. That Pistons team was awesome.

  14. paulhargis53 - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Manchester: Really?! Uff, that’s all you got? What a pathetic attempt of a put down on your part. Thing is, I didn’t expect much from you, you never disappoint.

    pop: “man love for KG” Is that supposed to bother me? The fact that I like a player that is more old school than any other player. That somehow equates to man love? Good God, I’m having a battle of wits with unarmed people.

    I don’t hate the Lakers, I detest the know nothing fans such as yourself. I hope they implode just to watch the crying on here.

    Kobe is a great ballplayer, but he’s a pos as a human being, yet you people worship him. That and the loudmouth know nothingness is the reason I can’t stand a majority of your fanbase.

    • skids003 - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      I agree. I think the Lakers of the late 60’s, with West and Chamberlain and Baylor were better, maybe not physically, but much better than their peers. And before someone blasts me, yes I know, this is about Kobe’s teams.

  15. suhnum1fan - Oct 2, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Dwight Coward’s temporary home

  16. bougin89 - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I have to disagree with Kobe that this is the most talented team. Any of their teams on their 3-peat in the early 2000’s would beat this team because Kobe was much better back then and nobody in the league was as good as Shaq. Plus those teams had great supporting casts.

    Maybe this team would be rated better in NBA2K13 but on the court i’d pick any of the 3-peat teams to win in real life.

  17. paulhargis53 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    mighty Quinn: lol, rotflmao…..

    Did you think of that and write it all by yourself, or did you have help?

  18. mightyquinn69 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    So I see that most of you think that Kobe is wrong in his assessment of the talent level of the two teams he’s played on. Well, I say he’s right. 1) Payton/Nash=Wash, 2) Malone/Gasol=Wash Shaq/Howard=Howard is so much better as a defender & rebounder than Shaq,it’s not even close. 8/24=8 04 Bench/12 bench=2012. Overall advantage goes to the current squad. Slightly!

  19. tcclark - Oct 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    talent is something you have regardless of age. Karl Malone wasn’t less talented because he was older. He was just as talented as he’s ever been, his body was just getting old and wasn’t able to do the things he was capable of. Talent wise this team doesn’t even compare to ’04. We’re talking about 4 Hall of Fame players, three of which are in the top five in their position all-time. Payton is more talented than Nash. Nash is the kind of guy who plays really well despite a lack of extreme talent. He works hard, he’s smart, he understands the game and because of those things, he’s able to play at a high level. Karl Malone is significantly more talented than Pau Gasol. I dare anyone to try and argue that point with me. and there’s a reason people have called Dwight Howard “Baby Shaq.” He’s good, but he’s not on the same level as Shaq. The things Shaq was able to do at his size – the way he moved, his touch around the rim, his shot blocking ability – are a scientific phenomenon. Dwight excels because of a lack of competition. Shaq played against much better centers in the league. D12 has nothing.

    • borderline1988 - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:50 PM

      To say that Nash lacks talent is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Nash isn’t as athletic as other PGs (such as Payton). But his talent is off the charts.

      He’s literally one of the greatest shooters of all time. For instance, his career shooting numbers are better than Ray Allen’s in FG%, eFG%, FT% and 3-PT% (think about that). This goes without saying, btw, that Nash’s shooting numbers destroy Gary Payton’s.

      His dribbling skills are fantastic, and he may just be the greatest pure passer of all time. His ability to pass the ball with either hand in any situation is unmatched. He also reads the court better than anyone. Furthermore, he as an array of moves, floaters, fadeaways, etc. that allow him to get shots off near the rim, even though he’s only 6″3 and can barely jump.

      He also has 2 MVPs. I’d take him over Payton every day off the year.

      • tcclark - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        I said extreme talent. He obviously has talent, but I would say he’s less talented than a lot of players in history. All of those things you mentioned are a result of hard work and intelligence. Guys with extreme talent, tend to burst onto the scene from the get-go and either plato because of a lack of work, or become super-stars because they take their extreme talent and work to get better. Nash didn’t do that. He was 26 when he started to become the player we know today. He wasn’t a touted recruit out of high school. He went to Santa Clara Univeristy where he spent four years because he wouldn’t have been drafted high otherwise. Nash has been a work-horse and has made himself one of the best at his positions. There is a reason he has been able maintain his game despite his age. Guys who rely on talent falter when their body starts to give way. Instead Nash has built a game that relies on his intelligence and court vision instead of pure talent.

        Nash is a great player and I think you have completely misunderstood my point. I think it’s better to be less talented but work hard, than to be uber talented and coast because of it. That’s not to say that that is what Gary Payton did because it isn’t. Gary was a phenomenal player who was one of the most talented defensive players of all-time. Gary was a naturally talented player who burst onto the scene defensively, averaging 2 steals per game his rookie season while showing people why he was nicknamed “The Glove.” If you want to argue that Nash is the better player that is fine, my argument was that Gary was the more talented player.

  20. lakerluver - Oct 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Haven’t you guys realized yet that paulhargis530lbs is the biggest LAKER hater alive?! Ignore that clown….Yeah, this team is more talented than 04’s team. The 04 team was a very good team, in spite of the infighting. They would’ve beaten the Pistons had Malone been healthy. Some of you conveniently forget he was hurt. Lets see how this team plays together. I think it’s going to be a thing of beauty.

  21. jerdogthompson - Oct 2, 2012 at 9:43 PM


    Well put. I feel the battle of wits with unarmed people is very succinct. I also find the comments about the average Faker fan particularly piquant.

    I guess if I were to take one aspect I particularly dislike is when the average Faker fan pulls out (whenever confronted) is the we got 16 BS. I’ve never ever seen a Boston fan pull out a we got 17 card. Simple fact for you simpletons is the fact a good chunk of your 16 came when there were 12 freaking teams in the league. Do the math if you know how………

    I’m as eager as anyone to see team Viagra take the floor. Last I checked Blake is your only true back up PG. HOW’D THAT WORK FOR YA’all LAST YEAR?

    The really, really fun part is next season with the repeater tax kicks in. Standard response, “we’ll we just inked a 7 gazillion dollar deal with TWC”. False, it’s a 3 billion deal over 20 years and that amount includes the galaxy soccer team as well (I’m sure it’s only a small portion). Back of the envelope math, that works out to roughly 140 million a year. Based on current structure the repeater tax including owed contracts, plus revenue share will be in the vicinity of 250 million a year. I’m sure Jersey and ticket sales will make up the difference. Simpletons……..

    Face the facts, this team will be blown up and you will be forced to take it for several years where they ain’t no sunshine!

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:58 AM


      Your “stats” about when league titles were won is backwards. The Celtics won the majority of their titles in the 50s and 60s when the NBA was comprised of between 8 and 14 teams. The Lakers won 5 titles in Minneapolis in the 50s, but the majority of their titles have been from ’72 onward while in L.A.

      In ’61 the NBA added its 9th team. From ’66 to ’68 the league expanded from 9 teams to 14. From ’69 to ’74 they went to 18. 1967/68 was the only year the NBA had 12 teams.

  22. jerdogthompson - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Apparently, despite using no profanity my comments are too succinct and hard hitting for them to post. Keep up the plain vanilla responses as to allow so REAL comments in would create anarchy apparently.

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      Nah, you’re just a victim of a relatively poorly run site. I’ve had comments not post, too. I think it gets overloaded when 500 NFL nuts need to comment on poor officiating. Just sign off for a few hours and come back and it works fine.

  23. jerdogthompson - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Paul hargis, your comments I find particularly piquant señor.

    Lets all hope team Viagra can sustain throughout the entire season without someone breaking a hip. If anyone wants to see fun then wait until the repeater tax kicks in 2013-14. As currently constructed (including the precious TWC deal) the team is in the hole roughly 110 million. I’m certain the jersey and ticket sales will make up the difference. All Kupcake has done is delay the inevitable. Which is the team gets blown up and the fair weather fans will have to take it where they ain’t no sunshine. Enjoy this year as it represents the last chance this decade you will have a semblance of a competitive team. MARK THIS POST.

    How ya like me know son?

  24. paulhargis53 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Too bad lakerluver can’t take his own advice and ignore me. His cute little making fun of my name is outstandingly funny……Uff!

    Why do you continue to talk basketball, when its obvious you haven’t got the 1st clue about it?

    I’m not a laker hater. I’m a lakerluver hater.You are the type of fan that everyone detests. Go away sausage wallet.

  25. paulhargis53 - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Manchester: so you’re actually trying to say that titles in a more watered down era(present day) mean more than the 50s and 60s?!
    If there were 10 teams of 12 man rosters, that =120 players, which means only the best of the best made it, vs today with 30 teams and 15 man rosters =450.
    It was harder to win with less teams.

    Talent wasn’t as spread out. Imagine just dropping even 10 teams from today’s NBA. It would be a much more competitive league. Get it?!

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Too bad you’re too busy trying to read something into a comment that isn’t there to realize all I did was state simple facts. Jerdog made a silly comment about how the Lakers won the majority of their titles when there were 12 teams in the league. I pointed out his inability to “do the math if you know how.” Which he apparently didn’t know how to do. Where you come up with your assumptions is a complete mystery since at no point anywhere in my post did I make any references to something being “watered down.”

      In addition, your logic is comical. When the Celtics were winning title after title the lack of competitiveness was a major reason. The NBA didn’t pay for shit and many college players went on to become professionals in occupations other than sports. There has been one repeat winner in the NBA in the last decade plus (Lakers both times). A variety of winners in the NBA with 30 teams vs. the Celtics winning almost every title in a decade with the league at 8-14 teams. If it was harder to win with less teams (and thus easier to win with more teams) how do explain that discrepancy?

      And then you go on to say “(t)alent wasn’t as spread out.” Which, of course, argues against your own point. Talent certainly wasn’t “as spread out.” It was concentrated on the Celtics. Thus multiple titles in the 60s. Talent is now much more spread out, thus multiple different teams winning titles in the 00s.

      So despite reading something into my post that wasn’t there, you succeeded in contradicting yourself and posting nonsense. However, you were right about the oversimplified fact that contracting the league would strengthen the product. Hey, you got one point right after all, which is one more than you usually do.Good work, keep it up.

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