Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Mike Brown sat Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter the other day. Was that sacrilege or a smart move?
Steve Aschburner: Rather than messing with fire or with us, I think Mike Brown might simply have been messing up. Sounds to me like the clock got away from him more than anything, given how the late minutes against Memphis broke with timeouts. And I give Kobe more credit for how he handled it postgame than I give all the drama queens in the media who tried to turn it into a crisis in Lakersland. There are about five stars in the league where these circumstances would have been spun into an alleged big deal, but most in and around the NBA have no time for such tomfoolery or skullduggery.
Fran Blinebury: To quote that sports writer from Stratford-Upon-Avon, much ado about nothing.
Scott Howard-Cooper: This is a season-long issue, not a the-other-day issue. The recent situation put a spotlight on the distribution of minutes because it was the fourth quarter of a game the Lakers had a chance to win, with potential implications for the final West standings, but the way Brown has managed Bryant’s minutes is nothing new. There have been way too many all along. Now Brown picks that moment to rest Kobe?
Shaun Powell: Sitting Kobe for legitimate reasons, of which there are few, is fine. Especially if Kobe has no problem with it. Sometimes superstars want to see how far they can go with a new coach, and Kobe learned playing for Mike Brown does have its limits. But Brown would be wise to tread carefully from here and understand Kobe has his limits, too. Also, Brown should be aware that if the Lakers lose early in the post-season, nobody’s gonna blame Kobe.
John Schuhmann: It’s a non-story, in my opinion. Treat all 15 players the same. If Kobe needed to sit, then Kobe needed to sit. It’s Brown’s job to make that decision and it’s Kobe’s job to be ready to go back in whenever Brown calls his number. Same with Andrew Bynum. I know Kobe Bryant isn’t Tim Duncan, but Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach in the league for a reason: He treats every Spur the same and his star players respect his decisions and act professionally.
Sekou Smith: Toss in the benching of Bynum and this resembles some high school basketball stunt. It’s a joke. It’s a faux show of force that I’m sure is drawing plenty of smirks in that Lakers’ locker room. Benching Bryant and Bynum doesn’t send a message to anyone, especially not those two All-Stars. It might resonate with the basketball purists who believe that Brown has to assert himself and put these two stars in their place. But we all know that come playoff time, there will be no benching of players of their ilk by Brown or anyone else. Tough guy tactics work when they are the foundation of what you do, when that is your normal operating procedure. Doing it for appearances sake or to try and make a point that you can’t make otherwise, is disingenuous at best and completely foolish at its worst.