Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant’s unreal overnight game change has been both refreshing and necessary. The Lake Show needed a new lease on life and Mamba’s new role as facilitator has given them just that. However what we saw in Phoenix was a definite weakness in this new Lakers world order.
That Bryant has suddenly become a pass-first scorer (if there is such an oxymoron in hoops) is nothing short of amazing. But he still needs to find a healthy balance between distribution and scoring.
During that failed fourth quarter in the desert the Lakers needed an offensive lift. That would be the perfect occasion for Steve Nash and the New Mamba to again reverse roles reverting to their normal job duties.
Instead what we saw was Kobe continuing in his facilitator role while Nash became a complete non-factor lost in what his duties should be with the game on the line. The end result was Kobe forcing shots while Nash watched helplessly.
Now I’m not advocating that Kobe makes a complete 180 by abandoning his new role. However when the team needs scoring he needs to give up the quarterback job and let Nash be responsible for running the offense.
But it’s not just in the clutch when Kobe needs to go for his more often. There were other points during a sluggish first half in Phoenix when the Lakers simply needed more points. While you could argue Kobe’s recent rash of distribution genius has led to plenty of points you can’t ignore the fact that the Lakers also need him to generate those ticks on the scoreboard himself from time to time.
It’s not enough for Bryant to pass more and shoot less. His next challenge will be finding that happy medium in which he’s both running the show and going for his own. That’s a delicate balance that will require more of a LeBron James approach as opposed to the current Magic Johnson style Bryant has enacted. Easier said than done, I fully realize that but if anyone can seamlessly blend the best of James and Johnson its Bryant.