Even in defeat, Kobe Bryant managed to become the story. Instead of talking about the Heat breaking a five-game losing streak with their second win over the two-time defending champion Lakers, the conversation amongst fans has turned into one about Kobe’s legendary work ethic.
In case you missed it, the five-time NBA champion spent well over an hour after his team’s loss Thursday night in the gym working on his shot. While Kobe’s desire to continue practicing and training after a defeat is admirable, there are several aspects to the bizarre exhibition that leave me with questions.
What was Kobe’s motivation for the display? Was he bugged by his 8-21 shooting performance and did he feel the need to improve? Was he trying to show his teammates the proper way to react to a big loss? Or better yet, was he trying to teach the Miami Heat stars how to properly handle a defeat? Was he just taking advantage of not having a flight out of Miami, or was he taking advantage of the national media being in the building? It’s hard to know exactly what drove him to practice after the game, but I imagine it was a combination of all the aforementioned reasons.
Lastly, what is troublesome for me, is the way Kobe went about remedying the team’s loss. While it’s commendable that he’s working on his game and practicing at all hours and in all situations, the most important fix to the Lakers seems so much more simple. If Kobe would just pass the ball instead of attempt poor shots, his team would be much better off. What was he doing wildly bombing 30-foot threes late in the game? He’s got one of the best players in the NBA on his team in Pau Gasol, a guy who went 8-16, and he didn’t utilize him. Kobe only had two assists in the game and missed 13 shots — not the numbers you want.
I can’t help but think the easiest fix for the Lakers is having Kobe distribute more. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has a famous phrase to describe a type of play he discourages amongst his players — “hero ball,” which is to say one player putting on a cape and trying to do everything himself. I think Kobe would have been better off listening to similar advice than putting on the late night clinic.Google+
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