|Kobe Bryant has been a high-volume shooter and scorer his whole career; nothing is about to change now|
If there is anything Kobe Bryant cannot do on a basketball court, it probably is back down.
His bull-dog, constant effort mentality would never let him to do such a cowardly thing and has contributed greatly to what he has become as a basketball player, a future Hall-of-Fame one at that. This way in which he conducts himself on the court extends to his offensive mindset, which is Kobe-first and shoot-first, to sum up in a few words. He has utter and complete belief in his scoring ability — rightly so — and this faith is exhibited constantly, even when it does not benefit the Lakers in terms of wins and losses.
Kobe's team — as has been plastered over ESPN for basically the whole NBA season up until this point — is not getting off to the best of starts, just winning 14 of its first 29 games, good for a 14-15 record so far.
With the offseason acquisitions Los Angeles made this summer of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, it was widely believed that the NBA's new super-team would run away with the Pacific Division, at least, and quite possibly with the whole Western Conference too. However, how the Lakers look on paper has not translated to the court and they look like a lost team at times, getting embarrased by some of the worst teams in the league (like the Cavaliers and Kings) and looking overmatched by some of the better teams.
Much of this poor start has been blamed on Los Angeles' only rock, Kobe Bryant. He has been there since 1996 — Shaq's first season with the Lakers — and is a lightning rod of sorts, attracting both good and bad attention with nearly even decision he makes and shot he takes.
That concept has certainly rang true again this season since Kobe is playing out-of-his-mind well while his team is sitting in the gutter.
For example, look at the 13 games the Lakers have played in December. In these games, they are just 6-7 with some brutal losses to Cleveland and Orlando.
On the other hand, Kobe has scored at least 29 points in each of these games and is averaging 34.3 points per contest, a truly absurd stat for a 34-year-old swingman (with extra miles on his legs from coming out of high school and playing all those Playoff games.
Combine that with a 47 percent shooting mark in that span and you get a highly efficient, high volume scorer that — for some reason — is getting a significant amount of the blame for his team's major struggles.
Laker fans, reporters, players, and anyone else involved with the team has to realize that regardless of who GM Mitch Kupchak brings to L.A., this team and franchise belongs to Kobe. He may be desecrated in the media or heckled for some poor on-court decisions, but the truth is that he cannot do whatever he wants for the Lakers.
If that is scoring 30-plus points most nights, then that is what he will do. The misguided idea that he is some regular, run-of-the-mill NBA player who is willing to change the way he plays is ridiculously off-base.
Also, the thought that, somehow, Kobe shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and putting up 25-35 points a night is bad for the Lakers is just fallacious at its core.
Tha Lakers' main problem is not Kobe, it is Dwight Howard. And the sooner they realize that, the sooner they will start playing better basketball.