For most of hoops career Kobe Bryant has been the alpha and omega of every team he’s played for. Even when Shaq was in town more often than not you’d see Kobe setting the tone early before hammering in the final nail late.
Now that Steve Nash is a Laker and has been given full freedom to run the show as he sees fit KB24 is in for the biggest adjustment of his career – being creative off the ball.
For some that might seem simple considering we’re talking about one of the best creators there is in the game in Canada’s finest Nash. However when you’re perhaps the most dynamic scorer in the history of the game as Bryant is then it’s more of a culture shock than anything. Not that it will be difficult transition for Kobe, he’s a proven winner with a champion’s mentality. Carmelo Anthony learning to share this isn’t.
Still, for a guy that’s accustomed to doing everything from running the offense to defending the opponents best perimeter player it will feel strange to see Kobe doing less even if that means producing more.
Luckily for Bryant he got a brief intro to the world of playing a pure shooting guard position thanks to his brief teaming with Ramon Sessions. Even though Ramon wasn’t in the same class as Nash he did provide a blueprint for Bryant to play alongside a true point.
Kobe even expressed his relief of being able to play off the ball thanks to Sessions and his creative abilities. Just think how he’ll feel after his first scrimmage with Nash.
Now the real challenge will be Kobe adjusting to playing with Nash during crunch time. Normally it’s all Kobe all the time when the game is on the line. That’s for better or for worse and as we saw against OKC it might be the latter more often than the former.
There is no argument that Kobe is still the more trusted man in the clutch on the planet. But when you’ve got a guard like Nash that can get good looks for every player on his team then it only makes sense to let him run the show late in the game. That’s not to say Kobe won’t be taking the last shot. Good luck wrestling that responsibility away from him, Mike Brown. All I’m getting at is Bryant will have to buy in to the fact that taking a step back even in critical moments might just be the most difficult yet necessary adjustment he’ll make in his final push for more rings.