There was a time recently where Kobe Bryant was uncharacteristically racking up assists instead of points, and the Lakers, equally uncharacteristically, were actually winning some games this season.
Near the end of January, Bryant notched 14 assists in a win over the Jazz, another 14 in another win over the Thunder, 11 in a win over the Hornets, followed by nine in a loss to the Suns.
The 48 assists over a four-game stretch was the best of Bryant’s career, which had some in the media marveling at the way Bryant had changed his game to better accommodate the players the Lakers currently have on their roster.
LeBron James, however, isn’t exactly buying into Bryant’s so-called transformation.
LeBron James was asked if he’s buying it that Kobe Bryant has become a distributor. He said “no” and added more.
“Do I buy that?” James said. “No. He told you all before, he’s a scorer. He said it every day, ‘I’m a scorer and this is what I do.’ So I don’t buy it. No. You guys buy it, though. I see how you all go, ’49 assists in four games,’ whatever. You guys are going crazy about that. I don’t buy that. He’s a scorer.’’
Four games is a ridiculously small sample size, especially in a career as storied as Bryant’s, which is now in its 17th season. But those surrounding the Lakers have been searching, somewhat desperately, for anything positive to cling to during what has been a dismal season for the team thus far.
Since that stretch of 48 assists in four games, Bryant has regressed in that category, as expected. He has 25 total over his team’s last five games, including a zero in the Lakers horrific performance in Boston last week.
It’s worth noting that James isn’t simply opining about Bryant without reason — the Lakers come to Miami on Sunday to face the Heat in a nationally televised contest.