Kevin Ding Provides Insight Regarding the Challenges that Kobe Bryant has OvercomeAfter scoring 20 points on 6-13 field goal shooting in the first half versus Washington on Wednesday night and helping the L.A. Lakers build a 64-49 halftime lead, Kobe Bryant lost his shooting touch in the second half; Bryant shot just 3-18 from the field and the hapless Wizards stormed back to post just their ninth win in 38 games this season. The Lakers are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, which may surprise the oddsmakers who ranked the Lakers as one of the league's top five teams but it does not surprise anyone who read my Western Conference Preview: I picked the Lakers to finish sixth in the West and predicted that they would be more reliant than ever on Bryant's scoring and playmaking even though a player of Bryant's age who has logged so much mileage should be having his role reduced (to preserve him for the postseason) instead of being relentlessly driven at top speed until his wheels fall off. Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring, ranks among the league leaders in minutes played and he has produced some sizzling performances this season but he is also an aging player who has not missed a game despite suffering a torn ligament in his shooting wrist, a broken nose and a concussion.
If Bryant were not showing some signs of fatigue by this point in the lockout-compressed season then he would be superhuman--but instead of focusing on what Bryant has overcome and how his efforts have kept a mediocre Lakers team afloat, many members of the media choose instead to endlessly critique his shot selection; they are apparently unwilling or unable to realize that you cannot run a championship caliber offense through a soft Pau Gasol or an Andrew Bynum who still has a limited post game. However, it is refreshing that at least one person who watches Bryant up close on a regular basis is capable of providing an objective perspective about Bryant's performance this season. Do yourself a favor and check out Kevin Ding's article titled Masked Kobe's clearest message: persevere. Ding describes not just what Bryant has accomplished this season but also how Bryant's determination to play through injuries fueled the Lakers' run to the 2008 Finals and thus set up their back to back championships in 2009 and 2010.
posted by David Friedman @ 5:47 AM