It’s been extensively — even excessively — well documented. Kobe Bryant worked with Hakeem Olajuwon in the summer to learn the dream shake. He came into this season stronger, and early on the Lakers went to him in the post a lot. Very effectively.
Then, when Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol were playing together, Kobe slid more back out on to the perimeter.
“I also think that the Lakers have the two best post players in the league, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant, probably the best one. Their size and their determination, I think Kobe just watching him now looks healthier than I have seen him and he just has such an incredible drive to excel and win. This did not surprise me at all.”
“Well I think Kobe, one of the things about him is if you watched him over the years he has just gotten better and better in all facets of the game. Obviously with his strength and his size gives him an advantage over almost every player that he is playing against… I think that Michael was much more of a jump shooter in there because of his ability to spring over people, but Kobe, the use of both hands in there and his footwork, I think really, really gives him an enormous advantage. Being an offensive post player, that is a physical battle down there. He just wears those guys out down there because of his strength and size and his determination.”
Clearly, this is the mythical pound-for-pound title we are talking about here, nobody expects Kobe to post up on Dwight Howard. Well, Kobe probably thinks he can, but it wouldn’t be wise.
But who has a better variety of moves down on the block? Not Howard or Shaq. Maybe Tim Duncan. Carmelo Anthony? But the list is pretty short. As always, West is on to something here.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.