It’s no secret that these Los Angeles Lakers are stacked. With Dwight Howard joining surefire Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant and borderline Hall of Famer Pau Gasol, the Lakers are now considered the team to beat, not just in the West, but league-wide, too.
But with all that talent, someone’s going to see their stats decline as a result of not having as big of a role as they had before. Obviously, Pau Gasol becomes somewhat of a fourth option — wow, OK — while Nash will average, like, two points a game to go along with 54 assists.
Both of those guys are pretty selfless and love to act as distributors in any offense.
But what about Kobe and Howard? Last season, Bryant took a whopping 25 percent of his team’s shots despite making only 43 percent of those shots. Dwight Howard, meanwhile, took only 14 percent of his team’s shots (if you adjust that for the eight games he missed, it’s probably around 16 percent) and made 57 percent of those shots. So naturally, you’d think this team would dump it off the the most efficient player on the team, right?
Please. Kobe Bryant’s still here, and if this Facebook post is any indication, Kobe will make it a point to shoot his team out of games. Again.
But don’t let Dwight Howard’s morale bother you. Apparently he’s OK with taking less shots. Here’s what he had to say, via I Am A GM:
What he expects his role to be with the Lakers:
“I just want to dominate on both ends of the floor. That’s all I want to do. I’m not going to focus on the offensive side and trying to worry about how many shot attempts I get but remember that we’re trying to win a championship and we all have to make sacrifices to win. That’s basically what I want to do. Whatever sacrifice I have to make, make it so our team can win a championship.
This is great to hear, especially since Lakers fans thought Kobe had screwed up the trade long ago. Making sacrifices is necessary for any title team, especially one that’s so damn stacked.
Of course, this frustrates me, because while Howard will undoubtedly make those sacrifices, he is the best player on this team and shouldn’t have to make those sacrifices.
My thoughts on Kobe have been well-documented. Forgive me if this offends you, but I happen to want the Lakers to win championships, not for Kobe Bryant to score more points than the opposing team’s superstar.
The way to a championship is in the paint with Howard banging down low, while Steve Nash distributes the ball to the open man, not the man who prefers to shoot while double- or triple-teamed.
Hopefully, Kobe sees this kind of willingness to defer and will do what’s best for the team: Defer to the role of second option on offense.
Not happening, but hey, a fan can dream, right?