Photo: AP Images
After the Lakers traded Shaq in 2004, Kobe Bryant spent several years of his prime trying to win games all by himself on teams without any real stars.Yesterday, Kobe talked about those years, and hilariously threw his 2005-06 teammates under the bus in an interview with the Orange County Register:
“‘I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team. I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.’
“Bryant continued, taking aim at his favourite whipping boy, Parker, calling him ‘the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.'”
Jeeze, even when he’s semi-joking, Kobe is brutal.
He averaged 35 points per game that year while shooting an astronomical 27 times per game. Looking at the roster, it’s pretty insane that that team reached the playoffs — it was pretty much just Kobe, Lamar Odom, and Sasha Vujacic.
Seven years later, on the eve of the 2012-13 season, Kobe has one of the more talent-laden teams he has ever been on. Steve Nash is the point guard (Smush Parker was the PG in ’05), Dwight Howard is the centre (Kwame Brown in ’05), Pau Gasol is the power forward (Lamar Odom in ’05), and Metta World Peace is the swing man (Devean George in ’05).
We doubt he’ll be trashing any of those guys like this in the future, but team chemistry has always been a talking point for Kobe’s Lakers, even when they’ve been good.
This year’s team is, on paper, right up there with the Heat, Thunder, and Spurs in the NBA’s elite. But given the mix of personalities, and Kobe’s hyper-competitive nature, there’s always a chance that they could suffer from the same chemistry issues that those teams at the end of the Kobe-Shaq era had.
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