We don’t see Kobe Bryant the passer enough. His proclivity for hoisting difficult two-point jumpers often gets in the way of potential assists to awaiting teammates that only a player with Mamba’s court sense, vision, and creative flair is capable of making. Every now and then, though, Bryant will embrace his inner- point guard and become the playmaking maven he was as a young Los Angeles Laker. This slick no-look, behind-the-back pass to Carlos Boozer from last night’s game against the Utah Jazz is just such an example.
The puzzling thing about Kobe is that he seems to pick and choose when to make a concerted effort to share the ball more than normal. And when he does, it becomes readily apparent just how beneficial that altered mentality is for the Lakers.
From January 1 to the end of the 2013 season, for instance, Bryant averaged 6.7 assists per game while managing typical scoring production of 25.6 points per game. By no coincidence, the ill-fated Bryant-Dwight Howard Los Angeles team improved its record from 15-16 before that stretch to 45-37 by the end of the season. That wasn’t a blip, either; the Lakers are simply better when Kobe uses his passing talents.
The problem for 2014-2015, of course, is that there just isn’t enough talent on the Los Angeles roster for Bryant’s mindset to matter. Dishing to Boozer and and a host of other re-treads will only matter so much, especially when the team’s defense stands to be so porous. With the Lakers going nowhere this season, Kobe might as well chuck.
But flashes of his playmaking prowess sure are fun to watch, no matter how fleeting.
What do you think?
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