Photo: via Larry Brown Sports
Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers have lost trust in new head coach Mike Brown’s system and continue to hold private players only meetings, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.Sources from within the team are saying a number of Lakers players don’t think the offence can get back on track under Brown.
Some players have even discussed abandoning Brown’s offence and going back to the triangle system they ran under Phil Jackson.
Los Angeles is averaging an astonishingly low 94 points per game, which is good for SECOND WORST in the Western Conference. It’s the worst points-per-game numbers for a Lakers team since the league instituted the 24-second shot clock nearly 60 years ago, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Lakers also have an unbelievably awful 6-14 record away from the Staples centre that includes losses to woeful teams like the Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, and Detroit Pistons.
That loss to the Wizards came Wednesday night. After the game Brown blamed their struggles on poor ball movement, an over-reliance on individual play and inconsistent effort on the road, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Brown also had this to say regarding Kobe’s shot selection (note: he was 9-for-31 from the floor):
“He was one of the guys that I did not think took great shots in the second half.”
The “poor ball movement and an over-reliance on individual play” smacks right in the face of what Kobe has been doing all season long.
Kobe’s usage rate, which measures the percentage of team plays used by an individual player while he’s on the floor, is a really high 37.8 per cent. Kobe’s usage rate has not been this high since the 2005-06 season, when he was completely devoid of any help and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite having Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, it’s clear Kobe feels the same way about this year’s team as he did back then: they’re not very good and he needs to carry the Lakers on his back in order to win.
Here’s Kobe’s “I don’t really care” reply to Brown’s comments about his shooting:
“OK. It’s fine”
Brown thinks the Lakers can rely on their defence to win games and would rather Kobe relax a bit more on offence, however.
So where do the Lakers go from here?
Kobe’s frustrated with the way the organisation has dealt with the Gasol trade rumours, but he would not mind if Gasol and/or Bynum were sent away in a package for Dwight Howard or anyone else.
Having an All-Star big man over a struggling Gasol would certainly help, but the Lakers are already a solid defensive team.
Picking up a point guard like Rajon Rondo would be a better solution to the Lakers “poor ball movement” woes.
Then again, the issue isn’t so much who comes in to save this team it’s whether or not Kobe and Brown can coexist.
Seeing as Kobe runs the show no matter who diagrams the X’s and O’s, Brown is in a lose-lose situation. He can continue to push his way and get the same disappointing results and un-receptiveness from his players, or he can give in to Kobe and see how that goes.
Brown tried to do it both ways with the last great star he coached, LeBron James. Remember how that turned out?
As long as Mike Brown is the coach, the Los Angeles Lakers will struggle to keep up with the Clippers and hold off the rest of the Western Conference’s playoff contenders.
Likewise, Kobe isn’t going to trust any coach not named Phil Jackson, so don’t count on anyone else out there solving these problems soon, whether it’s a player acquisition or a new coach.
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