The Power of Pau

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The more we watch the Los Angeles Lakers this season the more we’re warming to the idea that they are no longer just Kobe Bryant‘s team.

The best closer in the game is consciously and willingly sharing the load for the first time in his career and we couldn’t be more impressed with Bryant and surely he couldn’t be more impressed with the man he called the “Spaniard” after the Lakers won their second straight NBA title in June.

Pau Gasol‘s time to shine for the Lakers is now. (And no, we’re not just saying that because the Lakers throttled the Warriors behind a huge night from Gasol — everything seems to look much better after facing the Warriors’ defense doesn’t it?) It seems Bryant and everyone else in Los Angeles is warming to that idea.

Now before anyone assumes we’re talking about some passing of the baton from Bryant to Gasol, we need to be clear. This is and always will be Kobe’s team first. He just has help now, the same sort of help he provided earlier in his career when he sometimes-reluctantly shared the load with Shaquille O’Neal, who was the alpha dog on those three-peat Lakers teams from early in the decade.

Bryant and Gasol seem to have found that cosmic middle ground that didn’t exist seven or eight seasons ago between a still rising Kobe and a firmly entrenched Shaq. They’ve found that special place that a championship-level team interested in prolonged success has to locate if they want to live up to their own hype.

You’ve seen it before, this sharing of duties among multiple superstars, a generation ago with:

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen shared the load as well as any two superstars in the history of the game. No sane person would argue that Pippen ever challenged Jordan as the Bulls’ most important and best player. Yet we all know that Pippen was a completely indispensable piece of the Bulls’ championship puzzle. Their dynamic was unique in that both Jordan and Pippen were essentially at the height of their powers simultaneously (during the second three-peat), which presented even more potential for disaster than usual. That they were able to manage that dynamic makes their six championship runs even more impressive.

More recently with:

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have shared duties as well any group in recent memory. Duncan has always been the heart of the Spurs’ dynasty, even when he was the youngster playing alongside a Hall of Famer like David Robinson. But Ginobili (in 2005, even though Duncan took home the Finals MVP trophy) and Parker (in 2007) have each been the bus driver during title runs for the Gregg Popovich‘s crew with Duncan easing into a different role without hesitation. Had any of the three of them decided they didn’t want to share the load or the spotlight, they might have been one-and-done champs.

And most recently with:

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen made it look easy during the 2007-08 season, when they joined forces a couple of months before training camp and steamrolled their way through the regular season and playoffs to the 2008 title. Garnett was the engine of that title team, it’s heart and soul. Still, Allen’s role was crucial and then in the playoffs, Pierce took over and matched greatness for greatness against LeBron James in the Eastern Conference semifinals and later Bryant in the NBA Finals. If any one of the three of them fails to comprehend the nuances of sharing the ultimate responsibility for a title-caliber team, it doesn’t work out.

Bryant and Gasol sharing duties now is what has led the Lakers to three straight trips to the Finals. Initially, Bryant did all the directing. It was his show first and last, as it was every single day after the Shaq divorce. Gasol had to find a way to fit in. Things changed slowly but surely and then suddenly after that loss to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals, when it became clear to Bryant that he simply could not do it alone.

They are working into their fourth season together now and you can see the synergy every night. They both know when to lead and when to fall back.

Seeing Bryant defer to Gasol the way he does at times is still a bit startling, especially when you are used to Bryant constantly taking over. As startling as it is, though, you have to realize how brilliant a move it is for Bryant. He has mastered the art of winning, something James and his Heat teammate Dwyane Wade are still trying to master now.

He also keeps his team in contention another three or four years by understanding what we like to call The Power of Pau!

73 Comments

  1. Chuk says:

    The duo of Kobe and Gasol are undoubtedly dynamic, but to compare that to the duo the Lakers had going a couple of years back with Shaq and Kobe is simply unfair. Shaq was a more dominant player in that span and was an overall dominant player than Gasol. Shaq you could say in some cases was the catalyst for that team during its championship run, with Kobe taking the lead behind him. Now, it is different with Kobe Bryant as the focal leader for that team and Gasol taking the lead behind him.

  2. Aidan says:

    Who is more important???? Lakers works fine with and without Kobe, but Lakers is nothing in Gasol’s absence.

  3. Jason says:

    Why doesn’t anyone see it? The easiest way to determine a team leader is by the Efficiency Rating! Pau has led LA in Efficiency Rating since the day he signed with LA! Why is this important? Jordan, Lebron in CLE, Wade in MIA, Magic, Bird, Melo, Durant, the list goes on and on and all throughout history! The best player ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS leads their team in efficiency rating. And you can check for yourself Pau has ALWAYS led LA in this Most important and UNBIASED category. Are you so addicted to Kobe that your unwilling to see he’s the ONLY PLAYER in HISTORY to be called team leader and not lead his team in efficiency rating. The bottom line is, for the first three rings it was Shaq’s team and now it is and always has been Pau’s team. And if you disagree, why is Kobe the ONLY PLAYER in history who is said to be leader but doesn’t lead in this category? I know Kobe is amazing, I’m just saying he doesn’t lead this team statistically!

  4. tizzy says:

    OK OK SHAQ KOBE YEAH IT WAS A TEAM EFFORT ANYBODY EVER HEARD OF BIG SHOT BOB (ROBERT HORRY) OH YEAH D.FISH .4 SPURS. LETS BE 4REAL IF SHAQ WAS DA ENGINE TO THE SHIP OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY….. KOBE WAS DEFITNITLEY THE GAS THAT MADE IT RUN. ONE WAS USELESS WITHOUT THE OTHER. WE HAD THE MOST DOMINANT PLAYER IN THE LEAUGE(SHAQ) & THE BEST PLAYER IN (KOBE). & 4 THE RECORD SHAQ JOB WAS 2 KEEP US IN IT & KOBE’S JOB WAS TO CLOSE THE DOOR. & JUST 4 DA RECORD T-MAC NOR A.I CULD HAVE FILLED IN BUT I DO BELIEVE KOBE IN A SPURS UNIFORM(YUCK) EQUALS DYNASTY. BIG UPS 2 D.FISH INSTANT RICE’ BIG SHOT BOB & OTHERS CUZ IT WAS THE LAKERS WHO WON 3 STR8 NOT SHAQ. DONT HATE KOBE GOT NOW WE DONT CARE WHO GOT NEXT. P.S THAT WAS HIS FINALS MVP VRS THE PACERS JUST ASK R.MILLER & J.ROSE. KILLS ALL DAY. ITS NO COENSIDENSE PHIL & DEREK CAME BACK 2 L.A ONCE THE BIG DUMMY LEFT. IF HE WULD HAVE JUS SWALLOWED HIS PRIDE HE WULD STILL BE IN LA WINNING CHIPS. HE RUINED PENNY KOBES WILL WAS 2 STRONG 2 FALL & D WADE WAS SMART ENUFF 2 GET HIM OUT OF TOWN B4 IT WAS 2 LATE. Y NO RING WIT KING JAMES. KEEP SLEEPIN ON DA BLACKMAMBA… & AS FAR AS THE MJ COMPARISON…. HEY HE HAD 2 WAIT HIS TURN. HE WAS DRAFTED 2 A TEAM OF ALLSTARS NICK EDDIE SHAQ (REMEMBER THEM). DO U THINK JORDANS #’S WULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME IF HE HAD 2 DIFFER 2 THE MOST DOMINANT BIG MAN EVER I THINK NOT…. KOBE DA MAN ALL HIS PEERS RESPECT EM SO SHULD U WHERES DA LUV????? 5000

  5. tev92 says:

    Lets all use our head guys (those discrediting Kobe), we all know that Shaq may have been seen as the face of the Lakers but at times times Kobe had his moments where he took over and led the team and vice-versa. So if you have real knowledge of the game you would know that “sidekick” isn’t a synonym involving Kobe. So lets just try to remember theres more than one player on a team. One final point, I respect the potential and skill Miami possesses ,but I’m a Lakers man and I can’t see them winning a championship over us yet alone getting past Boston or Orlando in a seven game series!

  6. lobeste says:

    Basketball is a team sport, that is not open to debate :) People always are looking for a player who dominate the game, as if he can only win the ring but is the team who wins titles. Pau is a great teammate as D-Fish, Lamar, Bynum… and even Kobe. they´re lucky to join themself in a mature point of their careers. They maintein high level play that involves new additions, new pieces as Ron…, remember me Spurs

  7. J-Shrt says:

    The Lakers are a great team, I dont think at this stage in his career the Mamba is worried about who gets what leadership props. In the early 2000’s his was young and trying to spread his wings by taking over the leadership reigns. But him and Shaq needed each other and the other players to make as i first stated a team. No one man does it alone. you dont hear anybody given Magic or Bird a hard time about their titles because they had great players, so why should Kobe get any flack? I think their will always be differences on Kobe. But one thing people cant take away is the mans great basketball play. If someone calls themselves a fan then they will recognize the mans great basketball game.

    Deuces..

  8. Jorge says:

    I’ve seen Dynamic Duos in the past, including all of the ones mentioned in this article…But this one is quite different…Destiny plays a part in all of these settings…Pau Gasol from Spain and Kobe Bryant from the U.S.A is no gimme…It takes a process to get to the top of Mount Everest…An NBA Champion isn’t won in one day…Years of preparation and dedication as an individual is one of the steps in becoming a “Dynamic Duo”…Kobe wasn’t an NBA Champion in one year…It was a process indeed…If I remember right he was behind Eddie Jones his Rookie Year…It took him two or three training camps for him to be in the talks of being the “Next Michael Jordan”…Now he is the Best Player in the NBA…The reason why he is the best is because of his hard work in the off-season…Pau Gasol had a process of his own…In his Country Soccer is the number one sport…In his early years with F.C Barcelona he demonstrated that he would be a good NBA caliber player, not an All-Star not a NBA Champion but a good solid player in the NBA…He was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies and turned out to be an All-Star…If it wasn’t for Jerry West, Kobe and Pau wouldn’t be Lakers today…It was Jerry West Destiny to be at Memphis at that time…In Pau’s first season with the Lakers, he reached the NBA Finals but lost to the Celtics in six games…In the off season he was called a “Soft Player”…I also called him “Soft” because, he was…That Off-Season he had a Kobe like off-season…He hit the weight room and he worked with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar…Destiny people Destiny…Not Articles of Hater Fans…Destiny…Just Like Phil Jackson…Landing in Chicago and L.A…Destiny…To all of the Kobe Hates See You Later (5 Rings)…My time is to precious for any comments in that department…We’re the Champs now…You have to come and take it from us! One!

  9. KID COMPLEX says:

    ARE WE REALLY STILL ON THE KOBE SHAQ THING??? THEY WON 3 RINGS. TALK AS MUCH AS YOU WANT U CANT TAKE UM OUT THE CASE AND INTO YOUR FAVORITE TEAMS/PLAYERS HOME. KOBE WAS 21, 22, 23 HE CAME IN THE NBA AT 18. YOU REALLY WANT TO CRITICIZES HIM FOR NOT BEING A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS BEST PLAYER (AT TIMES HE WAS) I.E. THE 4TH QUARTER I THINK THE KINGS WCF COMES INTO MIND AND THE ONLY GAME WE WON WHEN THEY LOST TO D TOWN HE HIT THE GAME WINNER… PUT UP HUGE NUMBERS PLAYED GREAT D WE ALL HAD FUN WATCHING SHAQ DOMINATE THE LOBS AND WRAP AROUND PASSES FROM KOBE. THEY BOTH WERE GREAT THEY BOTH WON. NOW KOBE IS WINNING WITH GASOL ANOTHER GREAT BIG WHO “WE” WOULDN’T HAVE WON ARE BACK2BACK CHAMPIONSHIPS WITHOUT BUT WE WOULDN’T HAVE WON WITHOUT BYNUM ETHER. SO THE REAL DEAL IS YOU NEED A GREAT TEAM A GREAT COACH A GREAT ORGANIZATION AND SUM LUCK 2 HANG A BANNER UP IN THIS GREAT LEAGUE.

  10. español says:

    PAU is the most skilled big man in the league, but thing is, people have only been sayin that since he arrived to the lakers… too bad nobody recognized him way earlier, back when he was playing for the grizz, he averaged basically the same numbers

  11. benedict72 says:

    Theres a reason why MJ didnt put you on top 10 best guard of all time.Because your selfish.
    Luckily you got Pau and artest to save your ass.selfissh brat..

  12. benedict72 says:

    I agree kobe selfish dog,You have to learn how to pass even in dying minutes luckily somebody is always there to pick up your garbage.
    Heat will win because the stars are not selfish period……………………………

  13. Antav says:

    During the 3pt with Shaq Kobe averaged:

    21.1pts, 4.5rbs, 4.4 assists (despite an ankle injury)
    29.4pts, 7.3rbs, 6.1 assists
    26.6pts, 5.8rbs, 4.6assits

    Those are NOT sidekick or “Robin” type numbers! People like to discredit Kobe’s contribution to the 3 peat but the truth is Kobe dominated the perimeter, Shaq dominated the interior. And Kobe played against better competition during those 3 rings than Shaq…quick name the centers Shaq faced during those playoff?? Exactly, he should have dominated them! Rik Smits was probably the best center Shaq faced in those 3 finals and that ain’t saying much.

    Also, Shaq, I believe, is the most “SWEPT” allegedly “Dominant” player ever…….about 6 times Shaq led teams were swept out of the playoffs!

  14. Rohan says:

    mj played two game sevens but none of them were in the finals, they were both ECF against nyc and the pacers

  15. Rohan says:

    It was Shaq’s team and both of them couldnt have done it without the other (Shaq did play the main role while Kobe was a strong supporter). Btw the 3 second rule was introduced before shaq came into the league but yea most his shots were high percentage. Too bad he got dominated by olajuwon when he did make it to the finals when he was in orlando lol. Hope pau gets hall of fame, he is definitely one of the most consistent forwards in the game.

  16. Oscar says:

    I think that you miss the last 2 years, because since Paul got in the lakers roster was a big change in this team, kobe is sharing the load for the last 2 years not in this year……and by the way kobe “has to share” the spotlight and the load since the 2008 season( not only for his will, it is because Paul presence)……..

  17. Nice journalists says:

    1) Since when was L.A. Bryant’s team?
    2) If Bryant thinks Gasol is so good then why doesn’t he pass to him, or gets mad at him when Gasol misses a shot? When do you see Gasol getting mad at Bryant?

    • wasuwa says:

      LA became Kobe’s team after Shaq left. Unless you want to argue that it was Smush Parker or Kwame Brown was the man at one point in time.

      Kobe acknowledged Pau in his speech in game 7 of 2010 finals.

  18. KOBE suuuuuuuuuuxxxxxxx says:

    I think you guy shoulda mentioned how Kobe was the selfish, spoiled version of scottie pippen during that three-peat with Shaq’s Lakers.He’s the man now but it took Pau Gasol and Ron Artest to save his @$$ in game seven (also the Celtics’ usual fourth quarter blown lead/which led to a loss game).There’s a reason MJ didnt even play a game 7, he was just too good. And if you don’t think so just wacth game six of the 98′ Finals, that game says it all.

  19. Kstclaire says:

    Really GMT32, Kobe wouldn’t have won it if played with Duncan instead of Shaq? Did shaq wont it with Penny Hardeway?
    and Shaq wasn’t even remotely a factor when Dwade wont it for him. How would Kobe play when Shaq asked for the ball 99% of the time. Shaq was a monster only because he was always parked under the basket, easy to score, no? Since the NBA introduced the 3 seconde rules Shaq Faded, didn’he?and Last who crown Shaq dog 1 over Kobe? Shaq himself.
    Simple, without Kobe Shaq wouldn’t have won a single ring, Kobe without Shaq would have won at least 1, maybe 2

  20. JH says:

    LOL this article only proves more than ever that this writer and most that write about the NBA and especially its teams and players have no idea!!!!

    “Kobe reluctantly shared the load with Shaq” LOL hahahahahhaa You mean while shaq was winning 3 straight finals MVPS LOL and kobe was shooting below 40% and getting owned by Miller, then AI, then Kidd and then finally by BILLUPS YES BILLUPS and prince shooting 38% for the series while shaq shot over 50% for there series and was the only player that showed up for the series apart from game 2 where kobe had a decent 2nd half LOL

    DONT MAKE ME LAUGH those first 3 titles were SHAQ’s TEAMS and that is a FACT numbers do not LIE

  21. Joe says:

    What the people reading and writing this article have to remember is this is the beginning of the season. Kobe Bryant is coming off knee surgery and is not at 100%. We’re talking about the Los Angeles Lakers here, the team that is notoriously known for not giving it their all in order to save themselves for the post season. The Lakers are cruising right now and nobody knows that better than Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players if not the greatest player in Laker history, not to mention anything about his rank on the all time list. Pau Gasol is a great player but you cannot speak about Kobe and Pau on the same level of superstar. Kobe is the best player in the NBA today without a doubt just as Michael Jordan was back in his day. Pau Gasol is his sidekick, just as Scottie Pippen was MJ’s sidekick.

  22. HEAT says:

    HEAT WILL BE 80-2 ONLY LOSE TO CELTICS AND LAKERS

  23. THE REAL CUBA OF BOSTON says:

    (the lakers are just getting started, i think kobe will win 7 champioships and this current run will be a 4 peat, and then once that happens everyone will agree that kobe is better than micheal jordan. right now kobe has 5 and people say kobe is close to jordan but not their quit yet, but 7, yeah kobe would be better if he had a 3 peat and a 4 peat, but see most think that wont happen, there fore if it did happen all would hail kobe)

    NOW wait just one second, are you saying KOBE is better then JORDAN wow what a big statemnet , but you know wut , it’s not to far fetched , if you 3 peat 2 times and that will make you JORDAN = if you 4 peat that will equal greater, but as time settles in the road gets tougher, but if his side kicks get better then he has a very good chance.

  24. Shawn says:

    This may be the least insightful article I’ve ever read … Kobe and Pau have had chemistry since the first day Pau arrived in LA, and Kobe has never had any problem deferring to Pau. To say that Kobe is JUST starting to defer to Pau shows a lack of knowledge about the Lakers on the writer’s part

  25. marcuswebbymd7 says:

    Hello everyone, I would just like to air my comment about this subject of who’s the leader, who’s not the leader; who was and was not the leader. Shaq was unquestionably the leader during his laker years. I am a Kobe fan and I understand that. Its like a great family, for example; I am married with four children and I am the leader of my house, not the ruler of my house but the leader of my house. So this is our team. And with my wife; (WHO IS A GREAT WOMAN); not trying to be the husband or the child, but being the best wife she can be, only helps us to be winners in like. And the same with the children. And If I be a great leader to my family or my team I expect those that followed me to become great leaders in what ever role they play when their time comes. So now this is Kobe’s time to be the head and he is doing a great job. So all this #1 and #2 and #3 just save it. Because I havent heard any talk about Derek Fisher’s leadership. And clearly if you study,watch, and listen, you will hear everybody talk about Derek Fisher’s leadership on and off the court. So that definetly has to account for a lot especially if we are talking about true leadership.

  26. Ricky Rubio says:

    Pau is my friend and I know the real power of pau!

    Soon, you can see me in the nba.

  27. THE REAL CUBA OF BOSTON says:

    I AM and will always be CELTICS FAN but you have to respect the strom that is brewing up out west to get the 3rd nugget, if BYNUM stays healthy then the TRIAD will be very hard to defeat, the CELTICS have built themselves just to take the LAKERS out this season but as the WEST COAST YELLOW coats get better , we have to be ready for an all out WAR.

    these are the colors of the playoffs GREEN,YELLOW,RED,and BLUE

  28. Greg says:

    People believe it’s “Shaq’s team” or “Kobe’s Team”. Truth is, there is no I in team. is was Kobe’s AND Shaq’s team. Every team needs a supporting big-man, and guard. Take a look at all the teams, Jordan and Pippen, Shaq and Wade, Magic and Kareem. Everyone is a part of the team, so you also can’t just leave out Fisher or Artest in this mix. Sure, they don’t do the most in the games like Kobe and Pau do, but it’s called a team, not some lame stuff that is a person(s) team. So what I’m trying to say, is that basketball is a team sport, not an individual sport like golf or tennis (i play golf so i would know). However, we view the game of basketball from the best guys, not the whole team. The Heat will not win a single ring unless they can get more key bench players. The lakers WILL win the Finals this year, and even next year, BECAUSE the lakers have lots of “TEAM”. So when building a team, its not about the superstars, its about everyone.

  29. RealFacts says:

    shaq and kobe helped each other…without kobe shaq wouldnt have won and without shaq kobe wouldnt have won

    • JH says:

      SHAQ was NOT REPLACEABLE on any of those teams, there was not another player in the nba at his position or any other that could have dominated like him!!! FACT Kobe stats in 2000 was 15 ppg and 40% SHOOTING LOL please go away, oh and how about 2001 the best guard in that series was AI not KOBE he was not even the best player at his position in that series AI was!!! SHAQ again MVP LOL and what about the 2004 finals!!!!! 22 ppg and 38% yes 38% shooting LOL don’t please do not make out that Kobe was as valuable on those la teams as shaq cause it is BS go look at the numbers and you will see that Kobe was just a sidekick on those teams SHAQ was the MVP on every one FACT

  30. as says:

    what i meant to say was that the team shouldn’t be referred to as a specific players team. it should be referred to simply as the lakers or the spurs and so on. and any one looking at a team as a specific players team is looking at it through a corrupt lens.

  31. as says:

    the lakers are just getting started, i think kobe will win 7 champioships and this current run will be a 4 peat, and then once that happens everyone will agree that kobe is better than micheal jordan. right now kobe has 5 and people say kobe is close to jordan but not their quit yet, but 7, yeah kobe would be better if he had a 3 peat and a 4 peat, but see most think that wont happen, there fore if it did happen all would hail kobe.

    • KOBE suuuuuuuuuuxxxxxxx says:

      No way the Lakers four peat, they wont even have a three peat. Kobe got his final championship in that 6 for 24 game IT’S OVER.

      • KOBE suuuuuuuuuuxxxxxxx says:

        Kobe was a sidekick in those three championships he WILL NEVER be in MJ’s level.He earned two rings as “the man” even though the last one was a gift from Ron Artest and the Celtics horrible 4th Quarter. The man doesnt have the accomplishments MJ had (You know Kobe is tyed with T-mac in scorin titles……………..with just two.) His playoff resume isnt any where near as impressive as Jordan’s is and like someone explainede Kobe couldn’t even lead his team to the playoffs the year after Shaq left.

        Right here is Jordan

        Kobe is down here

      • THEHEATSUCK says:

        Idiots like you said the same thing before they went back to back.

  32. ybaby says:

    Yeah I agree that pau is the best Big in the game right now, but I think his #s are going to drop when Kobe is at 100% and when Bynum comes back.

  33. Justin Greer says:

    I think it’s time for Pau to be seriously considered in this year’s MVP race. He is dominant night in and night out on both ends of the floor, and has provided the missing piece the Lakers have needed to make 3 straight finals appearances and grab 2 championships. It would be amazing to hear the LA fans chant MVP for not one, but two Lakers every time they step to the line.

  34. KGM says:

    Sekou, like Usher OMG did you really state that Shaq “helped” Kobe win HIS championships? To Tom and all these other “critics” that speak before letting their basketball knowledge kick in would know, Kobe before Shaq left Los Angeles averaged 21.7 points per game in the postseason. He was a Robin at best! He was someone who helped Shaq when he got doubled and tripled teamed. Not the other way around, Kobe actually couldnt lead his team to the playoffs the exact year that Shaq left but who lead the Heat to a championship? SHAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Has D-Wade been back to the finals since Shaq left? Nope, furthermore, has D-Wade been to the second round since Shaq has left? NO NO AND ONCE AGAIN NO!!!!!!! So before all these teams start dogging Shaq while he’s down let’s not forget what he has done in the league. Pure and utter dominance displayed by the best big man ever in the league! Yes, better than Russell and Chamberlain, better than Olajuwon and Duncan! Of course, Kobe and Dwayne have passed Shaq because they knew, he’s big (getting older) and more fragile in the paint because of all the work he had to put out on the court. So when they got what they wanted then it became “the whole Shaq is overweight ordeal!” When was the last time Shaq was underweight? Maybe his second year in the league? So Kobe and Dwayne can shove it. I’m a Lakers fan f.y.i. and I still consider Kobe Bryant the luckiest player EVER in the league. Wade had the luckiest series EVER in the league. Kobe got Gasol for nothing it seems by the way Crittenton isn’t in Memphis anymore and you never hear from “lil Gasol” anymore. Wade, like I said has not been out of the first round since his “heroics” in the Finals against Dallas. Which I believe was fixed because there’s no way he stands out that much in that series and then the next 4 years he becomes a dud. Regular season is for regular fans. Post-season is for those fans who can’t stay away from their TV’s because their afraid to miss the games. I’m one of those fans, so please don’t ever mislead the general public into BELIEVING that the Lakers were always Kobe’s team because they aren’t. If I can remember the owner of the Lakers name is Dr. Jerry Buss. Let’s keep it his team for the time being,,,,,,,,where’s my job SEKOU?!?!?!? Lmao jk but shoot me a line or two through e-mail or something! Peace KGM

  35. me says:

    but also remember there is no “I” in team. I dont like how this analyst is trying to single out people. the lakers team is equally everyones team who is on it. they all become champions when they win, not just one player. and if they win its as a team. no one player on the lakers is good enough to win a championship on their own, they all use each other. but i think this analyst is an example of why people claim pau is underrated. this analyst is underrating pau.

  36. benedict72 says:

    I think kobe is no longer a treat in 2-3 years time because of age factor,He was lucky when people around him take the follow up that he missed during any dying second of the game of last years play offs ,and of course what a relief he gave them a hug and hug and hug.too many to count..
    Factor 2 couldnt defend kevin durant on the first round or lebron james during there last season games which cleveland defeated the lakers 2x in 2 games.
    Lakers would not win the six title because of the new big three in miami who gave other team headaches…..and seriously dumping 26 points deficit with orlando is discusting.They will be the true threat of the next following years ,just watch when the chemistry blends….lakers be mindfull your days are counted..

    • THEHEATSUCK says:

      LOL!!! What a joke!! Your heat suck!! You saw what boston did to them opening night. I dont think they will get past the Magic in the playoffs. And they cant even dream of getting past the Lakers. Whos will guard Gasol and Bynum, so called big z, yea right!! People have been saying for years now Kobe is getting old, but Kobe keeps winnig championships. So until someone can take that away, hes the man, period.

  37. me says:

    pippen and jordan and kobe and pau have much in common. including the same coach. the best coach ever that brings out the best of his players. people say phil has been blessed by coaching the best players. i dont see it that way. i see it as those players would have been as succeaaful if they didnt have phil. they would still be successful. but not the best in the world successful. kobe was like a 16th pick and yet he turned out to be the best in the world, phil helped out alot with that. then theres players like derrick rose, who are a number one pick but, suck. a good coach has the ability to recognize good players aswell.

    literally every year the lakers have gotten better since phil returned to lakers which were a train wreck when he returned post, and it takes time to build a rome. which is exactly what he did after the appropraite time it takes to build an nba rome.

    but remember that kobe is coming off a knee surgery that made him have to not exercise for a while with his legs, so of course his game may have slipped a little, atleast towards the start of the season his numbers should be down slightly. which means more load on paus and odoms backs, thus they been the number producers above normal.

    but honestly it seems like the lakers bench is weaker, maybe thats just because bynum is out.

  38. Victor says:

    Duncan and Ginobili (no Parker)

  39. But says:

    Another proof is that Shaq was the finals MVP for three times and Kobe had none. The finals stats favoured Shaq too. With 35+ points and 15+ rebounds per game, you gotta admit that Shaq was the foundation of the Lakers at that time. Kobe was more of a 1-on-1 player back then, in the 99-00 finals he only had 15.6 points, he was an unstable factor he couldn’t have carried the leader role like Shaq had.

  40. DevilsAdvc8 says:

    sekou, this entry must suck eggs if it can only draw 4 comments (minus mine) and 13 likes. you gotta do better than that man.

  41. But says:

    Sorry dude, but the Lakers that won their first 3-peat was Shaq’s team not Kobe’s. You have to admit that Kobe couldn’t have done it with another center but Shaq would have won the same with another guard, e.g. Iverson, McGrady, Wade (which he actually won a championship with later).

    • gmt32 says:

      Well he had nick anderson and penny hardaway but he couldnt win one in the two years that jordan retired, he came to the lakers when kobe was drafted and they didnt win for four more years, because shaq couldnt do it he had to wait until kobe became one of the top three players in the league and started to dominate if kobe didnt pan out so well and was just another eddie jones the lakers would have never won those three champs. and they both needed eachother the same. kobe took over game seven against the blazers to comeback and win. he did the same thing in the finals against the pacers when shaq fouled out and kobe had to finish the game off by himself. he has done it numerous times taking over series and destroying the spurs and suns, in the series before the finals and of course shaq would dominate the team in the east none of those three teams had a good center and it was easy for shaq to control the game. but the lakers would not have the three peat if either player was there at that time and they are equally credited for the titles and other players like horry and glen rice and rick fox and derek have a share for those three titles. just like today kobe doesnt have the last two with out pau and odom and bynum and derek it takes a team not just a single or two players it takes a collection of players on the same page with one goal and no ones personal goals being bigger than the team winning which is why the lakers got rid of farmar because he had trouble playing in the system so the lakers got rid of him a brought in a guy steve blake who is all about team play. thats why the lakers will win again because they have the right mix of players that no team in the league can match.

    • Mr. B says:

      There are those that know the game but many, many that think they know the game. When you say it was Shaq team, that tells me that where reading the idiots that write for the LA times and the balance of the writers that also picked up from them. Every time Shaq and Kobe got into it, they would write that Shaq and Kobe are at it again. False. It was Shaq that started it every time and he never stop. Even when he got on stage to do his so called rap, he blasted Kobe. Kobe only stood up for himself after Shaq started it. When they won the three, it was Kobe and not Shaq that drove that team and Shaq was always, and I mean always jealous of Kobe. Shaq was into telling jokes and telling everyone how great he was, but it was Kobe the team was listening to. It was Kobe that got on Shaq for coming to camp out of shape and always taking time off during the season for every little ache and pain. His teammates also snickered behind his back. How do I know all this and a lot more. Because my neighbor work for the Lakers and that is all I can tell you. He does not want it know that he told me since the Lakers has always tried to keep this under wraps. Kobe is still making it work, while Shaq went from one good team to another and did nothing. Do you even remember what teams? Please don’t sit at the grown up table and pretend you know it all. This is a team sport and it takes the effort of the whole team to win a title.

    • iidfop says:

      U kidding me? The Lakers were shaq’s team? He’s a center. so how could that be. I agree the guy was flat out dominant, but without Kobe, the lakers would have not won their championships. They would have been a playoff contender because even without Kobe they were loaded, but not chapionship material. Kobe was key to their success, and the team went as he went, just how the team goes as he goes today. But just like Shaq needed kobe, kobe needed shaq.

      • Pete says:

        “U kidding me? The Lakers were shaq’s team? He’s a center. so how could that be.”

        Umm…do the names Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson mean anything to you? All of these guys were ABSOLUTELY and without question the top dog of their teams at their time and absolutely dominant.

        In fact, a dominant centre is one of the most powerful assets any team can have – we just haven’t seen on in the NBA since the golden age (see names listed in previous paragraph).

        Shaq was abdolutely dominant and practically un-defendable furing the Lakers first 3-peat. Simply having him on the floor was an instant double team, and he would draw some much defensive attention that it would create open looks for perimiter players (such as Kobe). Then there is also his ability to get opposing teams into foul trouble also.

        Yes Shaq did have a top PG in Orlando (Penny) and guess what – that combination lead a young, inexperienced (and previously terrible) Orlando team to the NBA finals. You think Orlando would have even made the playoffs without Shaq on that team?

        Likewise, LA would have been lucky to make the Playoffs if they didn’t have Shaq – if they did they’d probably have lost in the first round. If they had another top wing player though (Mitch Richmond, Dominique, Pippen, Drexler, etc) then any one of those players combined with Shaq would have made a dominant team.

        Even in Miami’s champtionship run Shaq had a huge role. It was unquestionably Wade’s team (and he was an absolute beast) but without Shaq that championship would never have come.

        Hell, even today Shaq can be dominant at times. He’s started off very strong for Boston this year, and even in limited minutes it’s his size and presence on the floor as much as anythign that creates a ton of matchup problems.

        In the Laker’s title runs though Shaq was not only the most dominant player on the team, but quite probably the most dominant player in the entire league.

        To say that a centrer can’t be the number one guy on a team is just plain ignornt though, because it’s a position which has seen so many supremely dominant players in past history.

        I was watching an old video of the original Dream Team gold medal game the other day, and seeing how Ewing absolutely dominated the oposing team every time he touched the ball shows just how much a great big man can change a game.

  42. Denise says:

    Thing Shaq didnot when anything until he got Kobe AND PHIL and the system…..Shaq had the best point guard at Orlando and still nothing. Kobe and Pau are in sync becasue Pau is just playing his game and not trying to be top dog. Kobe .. Kobe appreicates this he has matured.. he got 2 more rings and working on a third.. with his teammates.

  43. cobra says:

    bla bla bla why is that hating to one of the greatest players ever,if shaq or pau helped him or he helped them,the truth is that everyone know his position and what he got to do in the court but always there is one leader,in lakers only and only KOBE the leader in all time lakers players so be honest and give him the respect,one of basketball all time legends,VIVA KOBE

  44. sito says:

    i say the lakers with the team that they have right now -if they can keep it together – have a good shot at atleast 3 more title runs. seeing them play, all complementing and trusting each other with big shots and bryant sharing the load. man this is a team for the ages!!

  45. six6heat says:

    Pau is the best big man in the game period and has been for the past two years. With another good, not great big man beside him, he is almost unstoppable. The ref didn’t beat the magic, howard is a walking foul when ever he plays a team that goes to the hoop. Bron Bron and Wade does that better than anyone, he will always try to protect the basket cause that’s his mentality, but he the only man on the magic that rebounds, block shots and protects the bucket on a consistent basis. The magic will beat most teams but struggle with the heat, lakers and celtics that’s not bad to hang your hat on but they are 2 players away from winning a chip, a big man and a wing man that puts the ball on the floor and goes to the hoop, just launching 3’s won’t win a chip.

    • aysman_diyes says:

      they’ll win a chip if, and only if, they’ll average around 30 three’s made per game, at around 40 attempts per game…hahaha

  46. ? says:

    wait… you need to clarify this.. shaq helped kobe or kobe helped shaq???? because shaq didn’t provide the same sort of help pau provides. the lakers’ were shaq’s team when they won those 3 championships…

    • R-ILLA says:

      Yeah that’s what I want to know. I hope he’s not saying that Shaq helped Kobe. Shaq was THE DUDE no matter how people try to re-write history. It wasnt even close.

      • LABRYANT says:

        Take a look at all the teams that won championships and you will find one thing in common…they all had at least 2 super stars…it takes 2 to win a ring..

      • Bummyblue says:

        Reading is fundamental…”Bryant and Gasol seem to have found that cosmic middle ground that didn’t exist seven or eight seasons ago between a still rising Kobe and a firmly entrenched Shaq.”

        Does that answer your question my freng?

      • Mike One says:

        Naw I don’t think he is saying shaq helped kobe. He is saying that Kobe was the one providing help back in those days. He goes on to say that Shaq was the alpha dog. It mos def was Shaq’s team

    • Tom says:

      Really so you saying that it shaq team and kobe dont deserve any credit? im sure that with out kobe shaq cant even win a ring or Dwade.
      oh so it was shaq team when they win 3 champ cuz he was the final mvp? or what
      cuz im sure that the spurs win last time cuz of tony parker not manu or duncan? or celtic win last time cuz of pierce not garnet or allen? or the 6 bulls champion cuz of MJ not pippen?

      • Matt says:

        Its not the fact that Kobe didn’t contribute, it had to do with who was the #1 player on the team. Shaq was the #1 and Kobe was the #2. Now Kobe is the #1 and Pau the #2.

      • Playa4life says:

        Lakers don’t win championship in 200-2003 ERA without KOBE, Shaq was a Dominant player and Kobe was already an ELITE player then First Team… Kobe had monster games in playoffs goin for 40 pts against spurs, Game 7 against Portland in WCF 31 pts, 11 reb1 7 ast. No Individual person wins Championship and allot of Dumb Espn anaylsts dont understand that. It takes a TEAM to win Championship. Jordan had Pippen and other Great Role players.. Celtics Big 3, Early Lakers had MAGIC, Worthy, Abdul jabbar… All Great teams in Past had more than One star player to Win a championship… Its a Team sport and Kobe was one of the Main pieces needed to win championship in 2000 Era and NOW!!! Truly one of the Greatest players of All-Time!!

    • LAinSA says:

      thats exactly what I said! “He just has help now, the same sort of help he was provided earlier in his career when he sometimes-reluctantly shared the load with Shaquille O’Neal.” seriously?!? I’m a Laker fan for life and pro-Kobe but Come on. I remember when Shaq was killing it and Kobe could barely pull off a mid-range jumper or was too busy trying to take over the game to only fail. That has to be one of the most uneducated statements made by a reporter (a credible one, at that)

  47. robert zenon says:

    You know vanity is such an ugly sin, but I wonder how many great teams could have been forged still if only those great players in the latter part of their careers could have just accepted their age and played supporting roles better. Even Shaq I think still does not accept the fact that he is not the Shaq of 10 years ago. If he would I think he play a lot better and inspired almost everytime he steps on the court, but because he doesn’t he comes to play maybe quarter of the time. To bad, Iverson would rather play overseas as a starter, rather than accept a role coming off the bench in the NBA, that is probably the reason more than anything teams haven’t given him a look. Still Kobe has been playing this kind of ball since Pau got there. Sure there has been times when impatients with his teammates shooting has drawn him to his old ways, but to me his shooting in the playoffs the last serveral years has been the reason the Lakers have gone as far as they have gone (game seven aside, LOL). Getting everyone involve has always been has mine focus, but sometimes that has cost them victory. After a lackluster preseason by the Lakers, I am glad to see that they came out of the gate fast. Oh by the way that game against the Magic and the Heat on friday was pretty weak, I thought the Refs set the tone in that game and fraustrated the Magic early.

    • Jake says:

      Does it matter how bad the heat beat the magic?. The lakers did basically the samething to them back in 08 but they did it in the finals, the magic have and always will be an easy team to beat if you have a defense that WILL rotate, they have nothing but three point shooter so if you rotate and run them off the three point line that mid range shot just doesn’t feel right to them…. and rashard lewis needs to go

      • Rick says:

        SINCE WERE ON THE LAKERS DONT U THINK PHIL JACKSON IS OVERRATED?? KURT RAMBIS HIS ASSISTANT FOR LIKE 7 YEARS IS THE COACH OF THE T WOLVES AND THEY ARE WACK. U COULD SAY THEY DONT HAVE TALENT BUT BEASLEY AND K. LOVE AS WELL AS RIDNOUR AND TOLLIVER THEY GOT NICE PIECES…LAST YER THEY HAD TWO OF THE BEST BUG MEN IN K LOVE AND JEFFERSON??? TRIANGLE OFFENSE SOOOO OVERRATED???? IF KOBE USES MOTION OFFENSE HE WOULD PROBABLY STILL WIN… BECAUSE HES THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE SO WAS JORDAN… SO IF THEY HAD ANOTHER COACH WITH THIS SAME LAKERS ROSTER I THINK THEY WOULD PROBABLY STILL WIN. HOW IS HE THE BEST COACH WHEN HE DOES NOT EVEN GET UP???? HE SIT DOWN ALL GAME AND SAYS TWO WORDS????? “MOVE THE BALL AND “DONT FOUL” HAHAHA WOW! BEST COACHES ARE GREG POPOVICH AND JERRY SLOAN AS WELL AS LARY BROWN WHO WIN USINS SMALL MAKET TEAM AND NOT THE BEST PERIMETER PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE AS WELL AS THE BIG MEN IN THE LEAGUE IN PAUL.

      • THEHEATSUCK says:

        I cant believe RICK had the nereve to leave such a stupid comment on this website. 11 championships and the coach and the offense is overrated? WOW, thats just plain stupid!

    • JEFF says:

      LAKERS VS KINGS ON ESPN WEDNESDAY ON ESPN!!!!!!!!!!!! RIVALRY RIGHT THEIR…ALWAYS FUN WHEN THEY PLAY IN SAC.

      • THEHEATSUCK says:

        @RICK. Yea a coach with 11 championships is overrated. An offense that has won 11 championships is overrated! Dude you are a complete idiot. I guess you think Eric Spolstrea is better than Phil right? There is nothing overrated about a coach with 11 rings dude, cmon wake up!