At This Age, Kobe Can’t Do It By Himself

When he was a lot younger and had a lot fewer knee surgeries, Kobe Bryant thought he could go one-on-three and win that battle. Crazy thing was, most times, he did.

He also adopted that mentality because of the help, or lack of it, around him. Basically, Kobe didn’t trust his teammates much in the post-Shaq, pre-Pau Gasol period. Even now, he’ll take a shot at Smush Parker, just to revisit bad memories.

Surely you saw Kobe in the Lakers opener, on the last possession, when he lapsed into 2004 mode and waved everybody off. Perhaps it was a reflex reaction to Derrick Rose putting the Bulls up with a running hook that eventually became the game-winner. Whatever, Kobe had the ball and everyone else was getting out of the way, for better or worse. And so he dribbled to his right, attracting a swarm of Bulls, ignored Derek Fisher standing all alone at the 3-point line, and then elevated.

His elevation only reached the fourth floor. Three Bulls — Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng — challenged him and Kobe’s shot never really had a chance before it was swatted by Deng. Welcome to the a new era, then, that might begin to look familiar fairly soon if the Lakers don’t get Dwight Howard, pronto.

In the possession before, Kobe was trapped with the ball, tried to pass it, and had it stolen. So it’s not like Kobe isn’t looking for someone, anyone. But even then, he didn’t think about giving up the ball until he was forced to do so by the Bulls. It’s yet another hint that Kobe, after a short preseason, needs to be sold on this Laker team. He’ll get Andrew Bynum back in a few days, with Bynum still serving out a suspension for clubbing J.J. Barea last spring, but is that enough?

As Bill Plaschke from the Los Angeles Times wonders, is it time to get the Kobester some help?:

For all the good Lakers feelings that emerged from their 88-87 loss Sunday — this Mike Brown guy has fitted them with fists and scowls and defense — there was one siren of doom.

Bryant needs help, the Lakers need another skilled player, and they need one soon, or they won’t simply bore us to death, they will also lose a bunch of games while doing it.

“It’s going to be ugly,” Bryant said. “We’re going to be grinding it out.”

Bryant needs help, and if the Lakers can’t figure out a way to get Dwight Howard, they needed to check out Sunday’s earliest NBA game to find their next target.

How about Bynum to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo? The Celtics also need to rebuild, and maybe they would rather do it around a big man than a temperamental little guy.

If that doesn’t work, maybe they could deal Bynum to the New Jersey Nets for Deron Williams? The Nets need a center, and Williams is probably going to leave there after the season anyway, so why not now?

Over-reaction alert: The Bulls did have the league’s best record last season and the MVP award is still on Rose’s mantle at home, a way of saying there’s no shame in losing in the last few seconds to that guy and that team. Still, the Lakers are trying to maximize the next few years with Kobe, while he’s still a player to be feared and respected, and before his knees get another checkup or three. That means they must win now, which could be tricky without Phil Jackson and Lamar Odom and with strange-looking names on the floor (Josh McRoberts, Jason Kapono, Troy Murphy and well, OK, Metta World Peace, strangest of all).

Kobe is still terrific at an old 33 because he stays in tremendous shape and keeps his fangs sharpened. He had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists (and also eight turnovers) , yet another reason for the Lakers to get what they can in terms of help, while Kobe can give them this. Most likely, because Gasol carries a big price tag in terms of salary, it’ll come down to what Bynum can fetch.

Better something happen sooner than later, before Kobe’s 2004 lapses become habit-forming and Brown once again questions Kobe’s strategy, as the Orange County Register‘s Jeff Miller points out:

After being here an entire 48 regular-season minutes, Mike Brown did the unimaginable Sunday.

We only wish he had realized it.

He publicly questioned the Laker who has been here since 1996, the Laker who has played in more games than any other, the Laker who has played for more minutes than any other.

He publicly questioned the Laker.

Mike Brown has been a Laker for one game. Kobe Bryant has been a Laker almost half his life.

And, get this, Brown questioned one of Bryant’s end-game decisions. Bryant, one of the greatest finishers in NBA history.

Now, if Brown only had intended for his words to sound both gigantic and Titanic. Instead, he was just doing what he does so politely and so thoroughly — answering a reporter’s question.

Even when the Lakers fail — and they failed spectacularly on this Christmas Day — they’re interesting.

It should be a fun season in L.A., full of surprises and happy superstars and big projections. But enough about the Clippers. What up, Lakers?

81 Comments

  1. abraham keys says:

    mike brown is not a very good coach he had the best player in the league and he still couldnt win nothing he is not that good of a coach

  2. Peter says:

    The Lakers need to get Kobe help and the only way
    they can do this is by taking risks on head case type
    players.The Bulls had a aging Michael Jordan and they
    ended up taking major risks bringing in Dennis Rodaman
    from the Spurs they brought in a risky player with knee
    issues from the Clippers in Ron Harper and they brought
    in a troubled player in Bison Dele and the Bulls brought in
    Luc Longley and Steve Kerr.The results they brought in
    enough help for Michael Jordan to keep winning championships.
    The Rockets player Robert Horry was involved in trade to the Pistons
    for Sean Elliot in the 1990’s that was vetoed and Horry went on to
    help the Rockets win a championship that same year.Pau Gasol
    has to suck it up and play with Lakers pride and win another championship in LA.
    When a team has a top 5 player ever in his prime still the team should take risks
    it usually pays off.The Lakers should look around for a player and then send draft picks
    and the 8.9 million dollar trade exception to a team who has a player available.The player
    i want the Lakers to pursue in trade is Leanardo Barbosa or someone similar to him.And
    the Lakers should sign Gilbert Arenas take the risk work him out and see what he has left
    at 29 years old he is worth the risk.Also a new back up center will help the Lakers frontline.
    The Lakers have the best power forward and center combo in the NBA.Gasol and Bynum
    are great.

  3. Lakers! says:

    I still trust Kobe has something in him. But i agree that he surely needs someone to help loosen his weight. Its impossible for one to do so much but the team does so little. For example, the match @Sac, I was shocked. Its not that the lakers are not able to win this game, is just that there are no option 2 for scorers besides Kobe himself. Maybe that’s one reason why he took so many shots but made a few.. I hope Lakers would wake up and win the game against Utah..

  4. Pharaoh says:

    both mcbob and murphy are excellent offensive rebounders. too early guage the lakers without bynum

  5. emma says:

    Mcbob and Troy Murphy is just a waste of money. they are equivalent to nothing.

  6. KB24DWILLD12 says:

    LA Lakers should trade Pau Gasol. He has been awful at defense since last season. Look at what he did at the game vs Chicago, he could’ve blocked D-Rose’s shot. But he just threw his hand in the air hoping he can distract his shot. Kobe needs help. ASAP. 0-2 start? Sigh. :/

  7. Sam says:

    LAKERS need speed and quickness at the PG BAD !!! FISHER needs to retire along with WALTON…Bring in the young guns. Lakers 4 life

  8. JJBAREA says:

    Yes come All Star Weekend i am throwing my hat into the names to enter this season slam dunk contest. And as you all know i am the favorite to win it!

  9. NBAFAN36 says:

    0-2 lakers but have three games in a row at home starting with the jazz need a win here do not want to fall to 0-3.

  10. mike d spike says:

    why are they making a big deal out of this…is it b’coz the lakers did not make the three peat last season…this team still has a lot of fire power, and dont poke 2 much on pau’s softness..that’s his game he just needs his confidence back. and about kobe taking the last shot? i wont have it any other way. so lets just w8 and see what their season will go down to.

  11. Kaine says:

    Really? I hate how fan-boys just go oh trade for deron, trade for paul, we’ll give them what we DON’T want. So what makes you think they will want what you DON’T? If I wanted to trade a shirt of mine that doesn’t fit you for a shirt of yours that fits me, would you trade it? Go figure

  12. Karlo Garcia says:

    I’m not writing off the LA Lakers as 1 of the contenders for the West. Just 1 game.

  13. Lakersince76 says:

    Chris Paul would have been nice but Dwayne Wade and every other guard in the league would post him up come playoff time. I’d rather have a good six 3 or six 4 point guard who can finish. Paul wasn’t worth Gasol and Odom unless we were going to get Howard also with Bynum. All I know is we have 5 small forwards WTF I say shoot for Kevin Martin or Monte Ellis

  14. Eiji says:

    If Ariza is still on the Lakers ……………..

  15. Cory says:

    Are u crazy Kobe is a beast whoever thing Kobe Bryant cant do it bye himself is stupid. smh…

  16. jon says:

    save the excuses. a win is a win and yes i believe the bulls would have won with bynum on the floor. Also the bulls missed free throws in the game as well

  17. SSG says:

    “the Lakers need another skilled player” – then get a skilled one. Maybe a skilled point guard in Deron Williams. Forget Dwight Howard – he ain’t a skilled big man. Bynum and Gasol, skilled bigmen – a very rare commodity. Hang on this season and bid for Deron Williams when he is a free agent for next season.

  18. Lakersince76 says:

    Gasol, Ron Ron, Walton ,Troy Murphy and Draft Exeption for D Howard ……. By the way, is it me or does D Fish miss alot of layups??

    • Cord says:

      take murphy out that trade offer and luke cuz no one wants him even in a throwaway got to give up both first round picks and the trade exception

  19. andro says:

    it’s not kobe’s fault the lakers lost, it’s gasol’s and mcrobert’s. i mean come on four missed free throws in a row? it cost them the game

  20. Dominic says:

    Kobe was not really toughest guy in the NBA. He wants to be the best. He wants to become the sixth-time MVP champion. But the Bulls, hmm…. they won the game yesterday. So they really need to work hard, play hard, take their time, practice, and they’ll never give up. Tonight, the Lakers gonna fight them in this 64-game season. By the way, his wrist got hurt really badly because of the Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan, a greatest blocker. Kobe was really needs an extra credit to keep his wrist better when he was execising.

  21. Banks says:

    They didn’t have Bynum….end of story. Not a brain teaser. I’m not a Lakers fan, but thats the reason they lost. New coach, two very new guys on the starting lineup, lost against the best team in the league last year by 1 point, could have won if made some free throws….I think thats a good first game. Plus 28 aint nothing for Kobe, if he was doing it by himself he would have had 37 like Lebron and Melo

  22. LAKERS4LIFE UKNOWIT says:

    The Lakers won that game because the Kobe foul on Deng was a TO by Deng but the referee decided to count a foul since he didn’t call one all game, Deng fouled Gasol on that Kobe turnover at the end, and Noah fouled Kobe at the end. I’m not complaining just pointing the facts.

  23. alex says:

    If we are gonna do any trades, we have to trade Metta World Peace…. his offense is TERRIBLE and his defense isn’t looking as good as before.

  24. blackmamba says:

    hey dude remember its only opening day and its a long way to FINAL just relax lakers just down by 1 points and if i am kobe i will do the same. and they dont need D howard all they need is a point guard like D Will or rajon rondo

  25. R. Mills says:

    The LAKERS are a point guard away from contending for the title again this season. The problem is to get an elite PG they’ll have to move Bynum or Pau. I don’t have a problem moving Pau for Deron or Rajon but I don’t want to see Bynum get moved for either one of them. Contrary to some of his critics, Bynum’s the second best center in the league. If the LAKERS are to trade him it better be for Howard. If the LAKERS trade Bynum for a PG and start Pau at center the LAKERS will get killed in the playoffs by the physical teams.

  26. miha says:

    lakers should get Beno Udrih.

  27. G.Money says:

    Dude…So the coach can’t question Kobe’s game ending bone headed mistake? It doesn’t matter how long he’s been a Laker, he turned the ball over to much. This teams is NOT going any where this season, just seat back and enjoy the ride. A sure first round out, all bandwagoneers it’s time to wear your Clipper jersey.

  28. ali says:

    that game was sooooo much closer than I thought it would be. The way the medias been reacting about this Laker team, I must confess I was surprised. Disappointing ending but this team has a chance to make something happen; well at least more of a hopeful chance then everyone made it seem. who really looked awful was the mavs!

  29. Joseph03 says:

    Kobe made made bad decisions in the closing moments and some during the game, however the lack of help in the playmaking and footspeed departments still need to be addressed. Every title contender this year have some prime and lightning quick Guard (Rondo, Westbrook, Rose, Wade). The Lakers have really no player capable of defending those players. Howard is but not at the expense of both Bynum and Gasol hopefully.

    • lakerfan says:

      You should really think about things before you type we have no one able to defend against lightning fast pg. I agree but, Howard can. NO Howard is a center he defends guys like Z-BO or Andrew Bynum and Tyson Chandler or Nene. He doesnt guard the PG’s that would be terrible they could beat him off the dribble every play.

  30. SANFAN says:

    Lakers need a point guard, a threat.. Steve nash?? He is on a team that is going to be pathetic.. Daron williams? Hell why do the lakers have to wait? It was obvious we lost athleticism.. Lamar, shannon brown.. jesus.. and adding troy murphy, and mcroberts.. wtf!! we look like the spurs when thy pick up all those roll players.. just ours are terrible!!
    Howard and Williams, or Howard and Nash we will be back on top.. but without either we are heading for an even shorter season…

  31. lakerfan says:

    bad coaching, way back during pre-season. should have designed plays to protect leads in the closing seconds, to inbound the ball away from KOBE. no need for Dwight, as you’ve seen, orlando lost in the opener. lakers need a true point guard, no disrespect to fisher, but he is old and much slower now. d-will or rondo will do.

  32. kobe says:

    most of you guys didn’t even expect the lakers to be that close in the game, with Andrew bynum we will be good! Lets Go Lakers!!!!

  33. Lakers R Us says:

    I love Kobe and kudos to him for playing with an injured wrist and scoring 28 points! When 3 defenders triple teamed him on that last shot he should have fed it to a wide open Gasol for the dunk! Kobe missed him but I’m sure he was focused on the shot and possibly drawing a foul! It’s OK though it’s only one game! The Bulls played with a lot of heart at the end!

  34. somebody says:

    psst Chill out guys, it’s a one point close game, it isn’t the end of the world. Plus they’re playing without Bynum. They’re playing without one of their important big man and still pulled close to the full roster Bulls, bynum might not have made difference, but this is a high level team matchup, Two possible Champion contenders going at each other, one must lose, and it just happens to be the Lakers this time. duh.

  35. reggdom says:

    honestly, they won the game if pau or mcroberts made their free throw or Kb24 did not commit that bad TO. But not bad, KB24 injure andwithout bynum and with new coach some new players and system…they were still in the game…almost win it vs healthy club…

  36. pedro says:

    must be a joke. they want to trade a no-good-always.injuried above average center for :
    -d.williams, superstar, and who the nets want to be their future
    -r,rondo, the best player on their rival team.
    COME ON! none of this trades makes ANY sense, So biased it’s ridiculous…

    • steagle says:

      People just love to speculate about trades, I think some people care more about the fantasies in their head of what would make a good team than supporting a team as the management made it. People are never satisfied (well… unless their team wins the championship, then they can look back and say, “See, THAT’S how you put together a perfect team!”) It’s just a lot of conjecture and smoke and mirrors until playoffs. This year is no different than any other year in that regard.

    • R. Mills says:

      Pedro, maybe YOU don’t like Bynum but from what I’ve read most NBA G.M.’s consider him the 2nd best center in the league. The only thing that’s held him back is injuries. Bynum, offensively, is better than Howard right now and he’s two years younger.

      • Lakersince76 says:

        Is that where we are now? Being proud to be in the game against the Bull because we’re missing one man. What happens when we face Miami? Just being proud to lose by 12???

  37. pedro says:

    LAKERS:
    The only team in the league that has 2 players of kobe’s and gasol’s caliber and cries this much that they need another star player…

  38. kobe_fans says:

    no FOUL on last shot???? wtf

  39. Alessio says:

    Shaun Powell is totally wrong, i would never give Bynum for Rondo, i mean come on, why destroy our frontcourt and get smaller with rondo or Deron Williams?? If we could get Howard fine, but if not, it’s a bad idea!

    Also McBob is a very good player and we need him, we need good bench players but McBob is very good
    and i wouldn’t trade him or anything.

  40. theking0522 says:

    What? Kobe needs another supre star to win? ohhh yeah,it has always being the case for Kobe. He doesn’t win unless he has a team full of stars plus the best six man of the league. I thought Lebron was the only one who needed a star to win. hahahaha. Hypocrites lakers fans

    • TheKing6 says:

      I want to high 5 you lol

    • Carl says:

      I agree. Most Laker fans are VERY fair-weather. BUT, you may not realize that Kobe has been doing this for 16 years now. It would make sense to want a nice complement while he’s still dropping 30 points so that when he’s gone, that complement can step up. L.A. needs a point guard. Admit it. Now I’m not saying it has to be a big name, but they need MORE youth than what they have and that’s the truth.

  41. Ageisirrelevant says:

    Age has nothing to do with this. MJ came back from his first retirement at 32 1/2 and owned the league for 3 more straight years. NO ONE ever talked about his age. He didn’t have the same athleticism but that is not what what is most relevant to dominating a game.

  42. ricardo says:

    man, it was hard to lose this game, but hey, the lakers AND KOBE looked pretty good. Is jumpshot looks great. I think that if he made a pull up instead of going to the basket in that final play we would have won it. Sorry for the bad English

  43. dlee90 says:

    FTs would’ve made all the difference. Don’t really care about the last shot – bad play should result in a loss.

    Relax, Kobe haters. If my teammates can’t hit free throws, then why bother down the stretch.

  44. Blimpathy says:

    Shaun Powell is a moron. You can’t judge the success/failure of the lakers off one single game. Plus he starts the article questioning kobe’s late-game decisions, but then condemns mike brown for doing the same thing! Whilst I agree that Kobe probably needs help, I don’t think we need to get dwight ‘urgently.’ I believe Bynum still has a lot to prove, especially considering the amount of rumours he’s involved in. Laker fans should keep the faith. We still have our core (accept for odom :(. ) and hopefully we’ll see gasoline man-up and start running.

  45. Vinnie says:

    “strange looking names like Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy”

    I don’t see anything strange in these, not as much as SHAUN powell in any case

  46. E_R0B says:

    Lakers should sign Gilbert Arenas….give him a chance

  47. The Big Tree says:

    As Always KB24 ballhogging, 3 wild Bulls vs. Black mamba, no way!!! Fisher is Wild Opennnnnnn, lol

  48. BelizeBoy says:

    This is a pretty harsh article over one loss.

  49. half says:

    unbelievable no one is blaming kobe’s decision making…HORRIBLE… and you guys have the nerve to blame Pau Gasol and Mike Brown…HOW…are you guys still in denial? Gasol and the lakers had a 6 point lead with under a minute left and kobe decided to play hero ball the so call closer. The game was literally handed to him all he had to do was run the clock and let the point guard make a play…WoW what are the lakers goign to do this is the post era of the black mamba

  50. chuki says:

    remember guys kobe plays with an injury!!! he can sink those shots and limits his turnovers if he got a 100% functioning shooting arm

  51. I hearned that says:

    I liked what I saw….I honestly didn’t expect to see our guys playing so competetively, I’m proud, we were in the game, with our newness and our XL absentee. I like the attitude, IQ and toughness the new guys bring…it will be big in the playoffs…The fact that we just played one of the elite, healthy , established teams with a newe coach and new roster tells me lots of good things…I like the chemistry I saw, minutes together will clean up the turnovers,

    • SHAQ 2 says:

      hope to see MORRIS running the point at mid season and Goudelock or whatever his name is snipping out Long Ranged 3-pters…love this two young players… hope they’llget to the rotation more and get rid of walton..

  52. needHOWARDbadly says:

    admit it. the lakers need howard.like the blog said,they need another skillful player. get howard! or deron. or rajon! just change the effin lineup!

    • Aaron says:

      The only thing is I don’t think the Celtics will give up Rajon Rondo.

      • steagle says:

        They were willing to give him up for Chris Paul (unofficially off course). Rondo is the best player on the C’s these days but that won’t stop Danny Ainge from hearing offers – that’s what GMs do. Constantly be on the lookouts for improvements for your team. Look at Kendrick Perkins last year. The C’s were in their groove, winning games, on the verge of another Finals run – and there goes Perk. Don’t be too positive they won’t do the same thing to Rondo, but of course, he will take a lot more cash and options than Perk did which makes a trade less likely.

      • Peter says:

        Yes, Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum are two very different players…

        Chris Paul is easilly THE best PG in the NBA. Boston give up one great PG, in return they get another PG who is more skilled overall and gives them an upgrade at that position. While I didn’t like the idea (simply because Rajon is so unique, a better defender and fits the team so well) it was understandable why they’d consider it.

        Bynum is a big 7 foot role player with bad knees who’d be lucky to play a whole season, and who cannot carry a team on his own. He’s a complimentary player rather then a go-to guy. It would make no sense AT ALL for Boston to trade off one of the top 4 proper PG’s in the NBA in return for Bynum, because it would leave them with no pure PG (Dooling is not a starting calibre guy, and is a shoot-first PG).

  53. moali says:

    seriously? the lakers lose one bench player then all of a sudden they are weak team honestly stop overreacting to a bench player

  54. joe says:

    He can, but if you do not make 4 FT’s late in a game, forget about winning.

  55. angel says:

    Brown did a bad job by putting new guys on the floor in the last 2 minutes

  56. Macp86 says:

    Honestly,

    I am tired of hearing about all this Dwight Howard talk! The Lakers need a solid, light footed PG. And I don’t buy into this trading Bynum crap either!!! I would take my chances with this team that they have right now and bank on getting D. Will in the offseason. Besides, LA only lost by a point. If they had made their freethrows, we would be singing a different tune. One would also point out that Bynum’s defense would have made a difference as well. Personally, as a fan I was actually impressed with what I saw. The Bulls had to earn that win, it wasn’t like they blew out the Lakers like I had anticipated. And you have to remember, LA is more solid than Cleveland and look at what Brown was able to accomplish with that!

    • LakerDodger420 says:

      Amen, brother. The loss was a hard pill to swallow, but hardly the end of the season. The Lakers have two of the top five big men in the leauge, the don’t need Howard, they needed Paul, or better yet D-Will, who will be more costly in dollars and cents but won’t cost you the “Twin Towers” of Bynum/Gasol, the best 4-5 combo in the game! Make your free-throws and that game is a W, Bynum instead of McBob and it’s a W, hire Adleman instead of Brown that game’s a W…no need to panic LakerLand, just get ready for more final scores in the 80’s than the 100’s (and say goodbye to those 110-120’s you would see against the Warriors and Suns). Defense wins championships!

      • JJ says:

        It’s funny how you say defense wins championships and you are saying get Adleman and a point guard. When getting another point guard and Adleman would improve their offense. Mike Brown is a much better defensive coach than Adleman.

        All things in the game equal, if the Lakers had Bynum they would’ve for sure won that game. The Bulls would’ve had trouble because Boozer would’ve had to guard Gasol or Bynum, and his defense sucks. This is coing from a Bull fans btw.

    • TheKing6 says:

      The Lakers need to rebuild and if they want to do it before Kobe runs out of steam, they better do it soon. Let me say it now: There is NO WAY the Lakers will win a championship this year. Thus, I agree that they should wait until the offseason to try and get better players. However, Bryant will get a year older and this season will be hell on him. Laker Country is dying quickly and if Bryant plays like this they’ll sink even faster. I do think Brown did an alright job though. But do take into consideration that the Bulls were playing quite poorly. Either way, neither of those teams is a matchup for the Heat this year. Maybe the Bulls if they play their absolute best…

      • jrod says:

        I have to agree that the Lakers will not win the championship this year. They look like the Italian soccer team they brought at the last world cup – a lot of old talented folks, but the young guns in the bank doing nothing. LA is the same, talented but old players while Clippers, Thunder, Heat, and others have younger skill set.

    • Shakeil Pinnock says:

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!! WELL SAID !!!!!!!!!!

    • Jarocho says:

      I agree with you on this 100%, but the Lakers do need to find a “future” superstar that can entice other good (supporting) players to come to LA LA land for some bling. For the time being, we just need to sit back and know that if they are going to be playing this type of D then we can count on them having a good season (don’t think they’ll win it all, but I would love to be wrong about it).

    • Lakersince76 says:

      BINGO!! No Point Guard, No ring!! How long can we watch Fish miss layups. Even Jordan got too old. And what in the world is Metta Ron Ron doing??? Really?

  57. Krespino says:

    Does Kobe have to take all the shots? When three big men were on him on that last shot? Fisher was all open there…

  58. Krespino says:

    Gasol looked awful at defence at critical moments. He just watched Deng go for the layup, He left the lane open for Deng as if he doesn’t want to disturb Deng.