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LeBron says he doesn’t buy the notion that Kobe has become a distributor

Feb 9, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

APTOPIX NBA All Star Basketball AP

There was a time recently where Kobe Bryant was uncharacteristically racking up assists instead of points, and the Lakers, equally uncharacteristically, were actually winning some games this season.

Near the end of January, Bryant notched 14 assists in a win over the Jazz, another 14 in another win over the Thunder, 11 in a win over the Hornets, followed by nine in a loss to the Suns.

The 48 assists over a four-game stretch was the best of Bryant’s career, which had some in the media marveling at the way Bryant had changed his game to better accommodate the players the Lakers currently have on their roster.

LeBron James, however, isn’t exactly buying into Bryant’s so-called transformation.

From Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida:

LeBron James was asked if he’s buying it that Kobe Bryant has become a distributor. He said “no” and added more.

“Do I buy that?” James said. “No. He told you all before, he’s a scorer. He said it every day, ‘I’m a scorer and this is what I do.’ So I don’t buy it. No. You guys buy it, though. I see how you all go, ’49 assists in four games,’ whatever. You guys are going crazy about that. I don’t buy that. He’s a scorer.’’

Four games is a ridiculously small sample size, especially in a career as storied as Bryant’s, which is now in its 17th season. But those surrounding the Lakers have been searching, somewhat desperately, for anything positive to cling to during what has been a dismal season for the team thus far.

Since that stretch of 48 assists in four games, Bryant has regressed in that category, as expected. He has 25 total over his team’s last five games, including a zero in the Lakers horrific performance in Boston last week.

It’s worth noting that James isn’t simply opining about Bryant without reason — the Lakers come to Miami on Sunday to face the Heat in a nationally televised contest.

  1. rhetoric1 - Feb 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Regression to the mean–8 of 24 shooting, 22 points all day!

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      LeBron would like Kobe to jack up 35 shots.
      I hope Kobe can resist the wicked temptation.
      LeBron is a sneaky son of a biatch.

      • money2long - Feb 9, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        why would kobe react to these comments by jacking up 35 shots? i dont see your logic. if kobe were to do something with lebron’s comments, it would make more sense for kobe to continue to show his distribution skills. and this isn’t the first time kobe has gone on an assist binge. why is everyone acting like this is a brand new thing? he did it in yrs past showcasing his playmaking skills.

  2. readysethike - Feb 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    they shouldve just kept mike brown if they were going to be this bad

    • mrcuret - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Yep, at least they made the playoffs with Brown.

    • badintent - Feb 9, 2013 at 7:35 PM


  3. rgarritt - Feb 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    He can draw double teams and distribute as well as anyone but when his teammates can’t step up and execute it doesn’t matter.

  4. bucrightoff - Feb 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Just guessing, but Kobe Bryant probably has the record for most 0 assist games in a career for a guy who averages 20+ points a year. Kobe trusts Kobe and no one else, which is why he’s so insanely selfish. He wouldn’t trust Shaq, the most physically dominant player ever. Tells you all you need to know.

    • davey55 - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:12 AM

      His two highest assist ave. years of 5.9 and 6.0 he had 1 game each year with no assists and a four game stretch of 42 assists and 6 game of 62 assists, there was also a stretch of 4 games and 49 assists in 03/04. He doesn’t pass like LeBron, but he is nowhere near what Kobe haters like you profess him to be. I’m not a big fan of LBJ but I admire what he can do on the court without hating on him… F.Y.I. he’s not a saint either. And before someone out there brings up Shaq, you may want to check Kobe’s stats in the playoffs, for instance in 00-01 LAL 16/16 43.4 min. .469 FG .324 3 Pt .821 FT 7.3 RB 6.1 Asst 1.6 ST 29.4 PT/G. I still think MJ is the GOAT, his offense, defense and 6 titles, that probably would have been 8 if he wasn’t arrogant enough to think that he could play Major League Baseball, are enough. And last, I checked Kobe’s game logs from 1999/2000 to 2012/2013, and every year except 4 he had 1 no assist game, in those 4 he had two games of no assists and 1 yr he had none. This year he has 3. You might want to check some stats before painting with a broad brush …

  5. jamkarat - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    I’ll take LaBron’s opinion into account when and if he plays for 16+ seasons. Kobe will do what it takes to win, and if that is distributing he has shown himself capable…now if they only had an entire team and a coach.

    • fanofthegame79 - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      jamkarat and tampajoey- LeBron has been in the league for 10+ years and I’m sure he has enough of a resume to talk and opine about Kobe. And Kobe has 17 years in the league….and he’s never had a stretch of games with this many assists. Sounds like LeBron is pretty spot on. And as for his opinion about everything – I’m sure most of us have them. Fact is, when a reporter asks a question and then puts a mic in your face, that opinion will go further than just a few guys commenting on PBT.

    • divan22 - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM


      So sad how some people still refuse to accept the indisputable evidence staring them right in the face. LeBron’s a MUCH more efficient scorer than Kobe… while also being a far superior defender, passer, and rebounder than Kobe.

      Kobe’s greatest attribute is his scoring ability. Now consider this fact: he has NEVER shot 47% from the field in a single season in his entire career. LeBron? He has shot above 47% EVERY YEAR of his career since his 2nd season!

      But LeBron shouldn’t talk because Kobe’s older? Um, right.

    • buffalowned - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      you sound a lot like kobe

      • jamkarat - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        like a champion who has 5 rings?

  6. aboogy123456 - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Kobe is not like lebron in that he doesn’t care what the media thinks all the time. He simply does what his team needs to win. When he was racking up assists that’s what they needed. If you saw the last two games it was clear that kobe needed to be a scorer for them to win.

  7. tampajoey - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Lebron James is the Jesse Jackson of the NBA. He’s got an opinion about everything and it usually sucks.

    • lmoneyfresh - Feb 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      I’m sure LBJ grabbed a reporter and just told him this out of left field. Nobody could have asked him a question right?

      • jamkarat - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        no but he could easily have said no comment…has he ever taken the adult route?

      • lmoneyfresh - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        This is so ridiculous. When players talk like robots and avoid real answers they get skewered by fans and the media. Then they give real answers and get skewered by the fans and the media. They can’t win. I can’t even believe that as a bulls fan who doesn’t even like LBJ that I have to even attempt to defend him.

        And at least he’s not like Kobe and throwing a new teammate under the bus every week. There was nothing wrong with what he said. Kobe is a scorer and that’s it. 5 game stretches do not change 17 years of being a volume scorer.

      • cullenand99 - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:48 PM


        Are you serious? If he would’ve told that reporter “No comment”, you and a hundred other LeBron haters woud’ve been calling him a conceited jerk. The man can’t win with some of you people.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Feb 9, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      God you people are idiots. LeBron gets asked hundreds of questions every day. Each time the press runs with one of them you people pop up freaking out about him talking. Saying “No opinion” makes him less media friendly and less of a good guy. So piss off.

  8. davidly - Feb 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    James is right, insofar as that is the kind of player Bryant has been in his career. Even Phil Jackson has publicly compared James’ dish-first and Bryant’s shoot-first mentalities.

    Still, it is not new that in some games Bryant does look to get others involved before getting too awfully jack happy; it’s been true for years, just not consistently. And last night he had 8 assists versus 15 shots.

    Right now the problem for the Lakers is that Nash and Gasol are not enough to keep the ball moving around to the open man. Before they had the triangle. Unfortunately, they fired their last coach before they could see if that whole Princeton thing would pan out. Either way, bottom line is that ball-movement prevails more often than isolation.

    So far this season, when the Lakers as a team have more assists than Bryant does shot attempts they are 19-9. And when he takes as many or more shots than his team has assists the are 5-18, and, interestingly, three of those five wins were when the opposing team’s player did the same, in one case two of the opposing teams’ players (Kemba Walker, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Brook Lopez).

    So, in essence, the Lakers can win with Bryant taking a ridiculous amount of shots as long as someone on the other team does the same thing.

    I’m not blaming Bryant, I’m sure those tendencies prevail across the board, ie. the more assists a team has, the higher the FG%.

  9. daddyghi - Feb 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    KoMe fans cant handle the truth! thats why they’re dissing on Lebron.

  10. garybrian - Feb 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    As far as Kobe, there isn’t enough mustard in L.A. to cover that “hot dog”!!

  11. manchestermiracle - Feb 9, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    James didn’t have to go out of his way trying to make Bryant out as one-dimensional. I think that pic with the story tells you all you need to know about what James thinks of Bryant.

  12. klownboy - Feb 9, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Kobe is a scorer, but he is also an effective leader. The Lakers-Heat contest tomorrow will be must-see TV.

  13. kiingmilli - Feb 10, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    Man we gone beat the breaks off the lakers, it don’t matter if Kobe attempts 20 assist. However Kobe is not going to have that many assist against the miami heat because we’re going to force him to score, that’s who kobe is, a scorer. I’m not a laker fan but I like the fact that he’s doing Steve Nash job.

  14. lemfaxx - Feb 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Me too. Im not also buying that he wants more championship ring than being an all time points leader. Coz the last one is most likely possible for him

  15. gmsingh - Feb 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Apparently LeBron has gotten so good at basketball that he’s not just content on being a player, he’s taken up being a sports analyst too! Somehow I think Charles Barkley is laughing his ass off at all of this.

  16. mazblast - Feb 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Assists are not like shots or rebounds. They are a highly subjective statistic, like hit/error in baseball. One home scorer may hand them out like candy at a kids’ party, another may be Ebenezer Scrooge. KoMe may have drawn a bunch of the former in a row, that’s all.

  17. gasan2013pananaw - Feb 10, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    I wish Le Bron would shut his mouth and just play ball. He has a very long way ahead of him before he could overtake Kobe. 17 year vs 10 and 5 rings. Kobe can be anything he wants and will fly high. LeBron should concentrate more on cleaning up his tarnished image.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 10, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Just for the record, Kobe was in the top 10 of a poll of most disliked athletes in America and LeBron was not on the list this year.

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