Did Kobe really change?
Old 06-16-2009, 09:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Did Kobe really change?




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If Kobe DID change, I swear on the souls of my children, I would admit it. I would say, "Yes, I watched every minute of the past two postseasons, and my God, Kobe finally put everything together, learned how to be unselfish and what a glorious day it was." After all, we're all in this together: It's in our best interests for Kobe to push himself up a level, simply so we can say we were there to witness it. I am jealous of everyone who watched Russell and Wilt and Cousy in their primes. I wish I could have seen a young Doc flying around in half-filled ABA arenas. I wish I could have watched the 1969-70 Knicks in person. In Kobe's case, we already knew we were following one of the better basketball careers of all time. That fourth title propelled him into the top 10 and yanked the "Can't win without Shaq" monkey off his back; ultimately, the exact ranking doesn't matter. He's one of the best players ever. He has to be mentioned now.



Of course, it's much sexier to blurt out angles like "Kobe changed!" in the spoken form. Announcers and studio guys speak in sound bites. They have to be ready to say something interesting as soon as the host looks at them and says, "What do you think?" For instance, Jon Barry told us after Sunday night's game that Kobe is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that any of us will ever see.
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Did Kobe do a better job of conforming this spring, or did the Lakers do a better job of surrounding him with efficient players who complemented him? Think about what he had in the 2004 Finals: Gary Payton sullenly standing in the corner, Karl Malone limping around, an out-of-shape Shaq who wasn't totally invested anymore, the immortal Devean George and Slava Medvedenko, a washed-up Rick Fox ... I mean, come on. Those guys battled constantly, with the battles centering around the same thing: Kobe wanted to spread his wings, everyone else wanted him to conform. They weren't invested in his individual success. They were threatened by it.



Not the 2009 Lakers. Take Gasol, who shot 62 percent from the field in the last two rounds. You know how many shots he attempted in those 11 games? 120. You know how many big guys would have been happy with a situation in which their coach said, "I know you score six out of every 10 times we get you the ball, but you're going to have to live with 11 shots a game because we can't win a title unless Kobe's happy?" Not many. Shaq didn't like the arrangement and got shipped out of town. Gasol came from NBA Hell (Memphis), and he was willing to sacrifice to make the Lakers better. He's a big reason they won. He crashed the boards, killed himself on defense and reinvented himself as a complementary sidekick of the highest order.



Did you hear about Gasol's sacrifice during the playoffs? Not really. Just like you didn't hear about Odom's willingness to give up minutes and touches during a contract year (a rarity in the NBA these days), or Ariza's red-hot shooting and the irony of Orlando giving him away last season. We always heard about Kobe sacrificing, but really, the key to the 2009 title was that he finally found three talented sidekicks willing to sacrifice for him. Big difference.


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Old 06-16-2009, 11:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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another gem by the sports guy.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree. They probably would've beaten the Celtics last year if Bynum was there. It has nothing to do with Bynum himself, but everything to do with a 6'11 guy off the bench who can gaurd big men and knock down 50% of his threes. Instead of bringing luke walton off the bench to fill those minutes.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
I agree. They probably would've beaten the Celtics last year if Bynum was there. It has nothing to do with Bynum himself, but everything to do with a 6'11 guy off the bench who can gaurd big men and knock down 50% of his threes. Instead of bringing luke walton off the bench to fill those minutes.
Hey! I love Luke Walton!

But yeah, Bynum was a major spark off of the bench, created a killer post presence with Bynum, Odom, Gasol.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Bynum was the starter. He didnt change much. Ariza was a much bigger factor.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bynum was the starter. He didnt change much. Ariza was a much bigger factor.
Didn't they start Bynum in the beginning, then changed to Odom. I didn't follow the Lakers much during the playoffs much lol.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The 6'11 guy i was referring to was Odom.

Either way... when you have Bynum as 6th man instead of Walton or Odom off the bench instead of Walton it makes a huge difference.

Also, in last year's final... if Gasol picks up 2 early fouls... and there's no Bynum, they'll have to give minutes to MBenga or Powell?? That's how you lose a series.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I didn't think Bynum contributed much of anything to his team during the finals. He never got much of a chance to play defense on Dwight and even when he did, he was making stupid decisions and playing lazy defense. Dwight's lack of production had everything to do with Pau and very little to do with Andrew "no passion" Bynum.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Orlando wins this thing if they have Ariza.

Bynum simply does not impress me.

Great point about Odom. He should get two rings for what he did. And you know what? Him coming off the bench really saved him some wear and tear.

Nice read. Thanks Acie.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Good read.

Bynum was not mentioned in the article, so I don't know why the topic of this thread is Bynum lol.

But to add my two cents, Bynum did very little for this team in the playoffs. He is way overrated. There are at least four other players not named Kobe that contributed more to the Lakers success this post season.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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And the Lakers would not have won last year with Bynum.

Maybe if they had Ariza instead.

Both together, maybe.

But I still feel the Celtics would have given it to the Lakers again this year with a healthy Garnett. And FYI, I am a Laker fan.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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NO!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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WOW you just lve making your font big, don't you ??
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
The 6'11 guy i was referring to was Odom.

Either way... when you have Bynum as 6th man instead of Walton or Odom off the bench instead of Walton it makes a huge difference.

Also, in last year's final... if Gasol picks up 2 early fouls... and there's no Bynum, they'll have to give minutes to MBenga or Powell?? That's how you lose a series.
since, you mentioned mbenga. i have to post this video. FunnyNBA.com - Videos of The Funniest Moments in NBA Basketball History: Kobe Bryant thinks DJ Mbenga is Sloth from "The Goonies"
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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ariza definitely was a big factor ... in the game 4 he came to play in the 3rd i think that was the turning point ... hmmm i guess fisher too ... ahhh lets just say it was a great team effort for the lakers
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