The Los Angeles Lakers fell to 2-12 on Tuesday night and the world has not started to burn but we are seeing smoke. In a contest that was never close, the Warriors shined brilliantly and won by 34. The Lakers were kept under 80 points for the first time this season.
One of the main problems that plagues this offense is the player that hoisted this team to premium levels for years. Kobe Bryant went 1-14 to tie his career worst shooting performance.
Byron Scott has said that he has not considered reducing Bryant’s minutes and has faith in Kobe bouncing back to form. What other athlete night in and night out gets a pass for arguably being the worst player in the league?
Scott is either not able to see that Bryant is bad at basketball, unable to handle Bryant and/or is not the one making the decisions that impact this team. There is no question that having Kobe Bryant on the floor is a moneymaker for the Lakers, but on the other hand there should not be any doubts that Bryant is hurting this franchise in a basketball sense.
These problems are slowly infecting the Lakers locker room. Nick Young is calling for the team to actually play like a team and not let one man determine everything. It does not take much thinking to understand who that was directed at. It is not much of a surprise that after 14 games into the season, a Lakers’ player felt the need to call for unity. These same players have to spend every game taking blame just because Kobe decides to take a play off.
The main goal for the Lakers was to develop their young talent (which they can not seem to do) and send off Kobe gracefully. But there is nothing graceful about Kobe’s current game or exit. D’Angelo Russell is being done no justice in a system that is not helping his game and under a coach that has decided that in game reps are not as productive as watching from the bench.
Each of the Lakers’ youth all have their own personal obstacles obstructing them from taking the next step, and it’s not helping that the pass button seems to be broken on Kobe’s controller.
The organization can take solace in the idea that their biggest problems as a franchise are not long term and can both be taken care of with the expiration of Bryant’s contract and the subsequent cap space in the offseason. They just have to survive and not let it reach a tipping point where the front office has to step in. The problem becomes remedying a situation that is like the chicken or the egg. Do you blame the volatile bulldog or the coach who can not control that bulldog? What the Lakers decide will be a key component in how the rest of their season unfolds.