2012 NBA Playoffs

The Real Reason for the Lakers’ 2012 Playoff Exit? An Aging Kobe

24 hours after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2012 playoff ouster, the weather remains sunny in Los Angeles, although the future of the Lakers remains as ominous and as cloudy as ever. The Lakers are officially cap-strapped, have an aging core, lack perimeter shooting, lack consistency at the PG position, and no longer have the same chemistry that once made them title contenders. But then again, they are the Los Angeles Lakers, and as we all know, Laker-magic strikes once every 5-7 years. As such I implore you to keep your eyes open for that upcoming Pau Gasol for Dwight Howard/Deron Williams trade….. believe me, its right around the corner.

The media pundits in Los Angeles have had a field day, positing a myriad of reasons for the Lakers’ demise:

  •  Pau Gasol’s second consecutive lackluster playoffs in which he went from averaging 17 ppg on 50% shooting during the regular season, to 13 ppg on 43% shooting during the playoffs.
  • Ramon Sessions’ complete disappearance in which he went from averaging 13 ppg on 49% shooting during the regular season, to 10 ppg on an anemic 38% shooting during the playoffs.
  • Mike Brown’s coaching system, lack of command, and frequent whimsical looks on the sideline.
  • Andrew Bynum: The NBA’s version of Liza Minelli – Diva, Brat, Arrogance, Entitlement, Starlet.

While all of these factors no doubt played a role in the Lakers’ 2012 playoff exit, the primary issues at hand were actually much simpler than that, and essentially revolved around 2 factors:

#1: The Lakers simply went up against a team that was better, younger, more athletic, and sported a Big-3 in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, that is arguably the best in the league. Could the Lakers have won this series? Yes, but it would have required them to play to their full potential – something that never happened. Again, in the end, OKC was simply a better team.

#2 Kobe Bryant has simply become old, and as Charles Barkley has often declared, “Father Time Is Undefeated”.

Yes, Kobe still remains a top 10 player in the NBA, and still remains one of it’s most explosive scorers, averaging 30 ppg throughout the playoffs. Moreover, as we saw during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Lakers’ first round playoff series against Denver, Kobe still has the ability to explode at any time, and rattle off points in bunches.

However,  the number of shots that Kobe required, to get his points during these 2012 playoffs, was simply too many. The fact is that Kobe’s shooting percentage has been declining substantially over the past 2 years, and the impact on a team whose offense revolves around their aging Alpha Dog’s shooting prowess is far greater than you think.

To illustrate, during the Lakers’ 2009 and 2010 Playoff runs, Kobe Bryant averaged 30 ppg on a very efficient 57% True Shooting. However, during his last 2 playoffs, he has only managed to muster 27 ppg on a very anemic 52% TS. This not only represents a game-changing/series-changing 6 percentage point disparity (which in True shooting terms is extremely sizable), but also propels Kobe into an Allen Iverson bracket of efficiency.

Put another way, is it really hard to believe that 2009/2010 Kobe could have pulled the Lakers past OKC in a series that saw 3 out of 5 games decided by 3 points of less? Or that 2009/2010 Kobe would have scored more than 4 points on 1/10 FG in fourth quarters when matched up against Kevin Durant?

As Kobe’s shooting declines, so does the margin of error that the Lakers have to win, a luxery than an aging Laker team no longer has. As a result, our expectations for both Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers can no longer be what they once were. This playoff season, Kobe was closer to 34 than 33, while possessing the overall mileage of a 35 year old, and ultimately beckoning the question: Is it time for Kobe Bryant to take a backseat and follow in the footsteps of fellow legends such as Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan? Is it time for him to transform from Alpha Dog to Second Fiddle?

More to come….

Related posts:

  1. The Real Reason the Lakers Need Homecourt
  2. Brown Mamba’s 2012 Playoff Predictions
  3. C.A. Clark: The Real King of Crunchtime is Whoever the Lakers are Playing (4/11/11)
  4. Kobe and the Clutch Playoff Performance Myth
  5. Why Andrew Bynum Should Be The Lakers’ Second Option

Discussion

103 Responses to “The Real Reason for the Lakers’ 2012 Playoff Exit? An Aging Kobe”

  1. Absolutely agree, although it’s not time to become Second Fiddle. Kobe actually needs real help now, the kind Tim Duncan has been afforded with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

    What this shows is just how much weight Kobe was carrying in those title runs. Pau Gasol was Chris Bosh before he came to the Lakers. Near Prime Kobe was covering up the deficiencies of all of his teammates, and masked their ups and downs. Yes, they carried him at times for certain single games, but they could never have been in the situation to do so without him, something that other stars could not have done given those title teams.

    The past two seasons he has not been on a team that gets near 60 wins in the regular season anymore, which is a great measure of whether you have “enough”. No one player can get a team to that 60 win mark on his own, so it reflects the quality of the team.

    Now, Kobe can’t carry his team as much as he used to. So time to be Second Fiddle? Nah. But time to be less of an Alpha Dog? Probably so. If they don’t get parts that will create a team that can reach around 60 wins in the regular season, it won’t be enough to win a title.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 10:14 am
    • “Kobe needs real help now, the kind Tim Duncan has been afforded with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.”

      Ever hear of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum? Pau Gasol was the best player in that game 7 against the Celtics so you can stop with the “Pau Gasol was Chris Bosh before he came to the Lakers. Near Prime Kobe was covering up the deficiencies of all of his teammates, and masked their ups and downs. Yes, they carried him at times for certain single games, but they could never have been in the situation to do so without him, something that other stars could not have done given those title teams.” bs.

      Posted by pointguard40 | May 23, 2012, 11:09 am
      • Leave it to Gil to take shots at other great players in order to prop up Kobe on a imaginary pedestal. He can’t exactly use the stupid “The Lakers win more than your team, therefore Kobe is better” argument anymore, so what does he do instead? Whine that other greats have more “help” than Kobe. How convenient.

        Tim Duncan has been one of the best performers in the playoffs. Period. Manu hasn’t played well, and Duncan has outplayed Parker on both ends of the floor. The Spurs certainly have more talent than the Lakers, but Duncan has anchored the Spurs in the playoffs.

        Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 1:52 pm
        • How many times has Duncan led the Spurs to the title?

          Didn’t Parker win Finals MVP?

          Manu Ginobili is a bad man.

          Pau Gasol never won a single playoff game (not series, a game) before joining forces with Kobe. He was Chris Bosh.

          Of course Duncan has had more help. And he’s done less with it than Kobe would have.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 3:29 pm
          • I was talking about the 2012 Spurs.

            “Of course Duncan has had more help. And he’s done less with it than Kobe would have.”

            Except Duncan has been better than Kobe in the playoffs. So no.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 4:07 pm
          • “Of course Duncan has had more help. And he’s done less with it than Kobe would have.”

            Except Duncan has been better than Kobe in the playoffs.

            How does that even logically address what I said? Duncan has been better with his team than Kobe has been with his team in the playoffs. That’s irrelevant to my contention that Kobe would have done more with Duncan’s team.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 4:43 pm
          • “How does that even logically address what I said? Duncan has been better with his team than Kobe has been with his team in the playoffs.”

            Except that’s not what I meant. Duncan has been a better player this postseason than Kobe period – he’s been a smarter offensive player and he’s a superior defensive player. Give Duncan the same help and his team wins more games than Kobe.

            Stop worshipping Kobe. He’s been great. He’s also flawed.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 5:35 pm
          • Kobe has flaws. There is no perfect player. But you only need to be better than your competition, you don’t need to be perfect.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 6:25 pm
    • @GIL MERKIN

      Stop praising Kobe like he’s some sort of god. Kobe is one of the luckiest player in the history of the game. Almost every year he played for a title contender. Only three times in his 16-year career he played on a team that had no chance of winning the title.

      During his tenure with the Lakers he played with guys like:
      - Shaquille O’Neal (15x All-Star)
      - Glen Rice (3x All-Star)
      - Pau Gasol (4x All-Star)
      - Andrew Bynum (1x All-Star – more to come?)
      - Eddie Jones (3x All-Star)
      - Lamar Odom
      - Nick Van Exel (1x All-Star)
      - Cedric Ceballos (1x All-Star)
      - Dennis Rodman (2x All-Star)
      - Karl Malone (14x All-Star)
      - Gary Payton (9x All-Star)
      - Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace (1x All-Star)
      - Robert Horry
      - Rick Fox
      - Derek Fisher
      - Elden Campbell
      - Ron Harper
      - Derek Harper
      - Byron Scott
      - A.C. Green (1x All-Star)
      - Horace Grant (1x All-Star)
      - Mitch Richmond (6x All-Star)
      - Isaiah Rider
      - Vlade Divac (1x All-Star)
      - Caron Butler (2x All-Star)
      - Jim Jackson
      - Jerome Kersey

      Kobe teammates appeared in an ASG a total of 65 times!

      He always had a lot of help and even without him Lakers were playoff teams in 13 of his 16 NBA seasons.

      During that time Lakers record in games played without Kobe is pretty impressive.

      Posted by doosiolek | May 23, 2012, 2:25 pm
      • Kobe is definitely not a god.

        But anytime he’s had “enough” help, namely a team with around 60 reg season wins, he and his team have delivered.

        Where do I come up with 60? If you take the player who most of us consider the best ever, Michael Jordan, his worst regular season showing was something like 40 wins. This is a truly bad team, because it has the best ever, and yet only 40 wins. For lesser players to get more than 40 wins, they must be getting some help. Can’t be a crap team, especially, if you’re going to get to 60.

        So you’ve got “enough” in that 60 range – as a superstar, your job is to bring it home for the team.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 3:26 pm
        • GIL, if you look at the Lakers squad from last year you will notice they had a lot of talent (Gasol, Bynum, Odom, MWP and of course Kobe). On paper they were one of the two best teams in the NBA (the other team would be the Heat).

          Did they win 60 games? No. Should they win 60 games? Hell yes!

          You wrote that: “So you’ve got “enough” in that 60 range – as a superstar, your job is to bring it home for the team.”.

          I’d say that you’ve got ‘enough’ talent to win 60 games – as a superstar, your job is to lead your team and win the championship.

          Last year Kobe failed to do this. This year OKC were simply better.

          And with regard to my previous comment, there are very few players in the history of the game who played alongside so many great players as Kobe did.

          With this in mind your statement “What this shows is just how much weight Kobe was carrying in those title runs.” is simply not true.

          In fact, I’m pretty sure that the early 2000s Lakers would win at least two titles if they replaced Kobe with any other decent shooting guard.

          Posted by doosiolek | May 25, 2012, 12:02 pm
          • Doosiolek,

            Are you nuts??!!

            You really think that Glenn Rice was better than Mo Williams??

            You expect us to believe that Shaq was better than Ilgauskas?

            Hey, man, no team can use a left handed 6′ 10″ ball handler, like Lamar Odom!!

            Those Cavs teams had far better post players than Bynum and Gasol!!

            Maybe, just maybe, Kobe Bryant does NOT inspire team mates, but rather ALIENATES them to the point that they are no longer motivated to give their all.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 25, 2012, 12:16 pm
          • If your team wins 60 games, by definition, you have enough support to win a title.

            Kobe would have won the title with Lebron’s 2009 and 2010 teams.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 25, 2012, 3:09 pm
          • One of Kobe’s problems is that he has ALWAYS alienated his best teammates, especially his best bigs, who he really needs to win, especially now. Shaq decided he’d had enough. Pau pretty clearly is fed up with Kobe “Beef” Bryant but is very too polite to admit it. It took Phil jackson’s rather heavy-haned zen to keep kobe in line. Kobe also represents an additional handicap, particularly with the new CBA–he’s slated to make almost 60 million dollars the next two years. That for a declining jump-shooter.

            Posted by Sin | June 26, 2012, 3:15 pm
      • You lose all credibility when you quote Carl Malone and Gary Peyton as people Kobe has had the privilege to play with. Both of them were terrible when they came to LA and if anything, deprived him of another title.

        I’m not saying he hasn’t had talent around him, he has, but posting up career achievements of his teammates is just stupid. LeBron also had Shaq, does anyone say that is if it were a good thing?

        Posted by Evan | June 11, 2012, 12:57 am
        • Terrible, you say?

          Here are the per game averages of both Payton and Malone:

          Payton 14.6/4.2/5.5 ppg/rpg/apg
          Malone 13.2/8.7/3.9 ppg/rog/apg

          Payton .471/.333/.714 FG%/3pt%/FT%
          Malone .483/.000/.747 FG%/3pt%/FT%

          Payton averaged 34.5 minutes per game and Malone averaged 32.7 minutes per game.

          Both were very solid contributors. They were no longer All Star performers, but they were certainly pretty far form “terrible”

          I would really question if ANY team reached the Finals of the NBA with two starters that played “terrible” during the season.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 11, 2012, 6:57 am
          • As a supplement to Paulie’s input I would also say that the only reason Malone’s / Payton’s numbers were not better is because they played alongside prime Shaq and prime Kobe.

            The year before, when both Malone and Payton were alpha dogs on their respective team, their numbers were:

            Malone:
            20.6 PPG (.534 TS% which is better than Kobe this year)
            7.8 RPG
            4.7 APG
            1.7 SPG

            Payton:
            20.4 PPG
            4.2 RPG
            8.3 APG
            1.7 SPG

            So even though way past their prime, by no means these guys were terrible. They were still pretty good and perhaps if not for Malone’s injury, the Lakers would have won the title.

            Posted by doosiolek | June 11, 2012, 10:33 am
  2. I complewtely disagree.

    Historically, players of Kobe’s age cannot log the minutes or the workload of a starter and perform at a level needed for a team to win a title.

    If Kobe is truly all about WINNING, as so many claim, than he needs to find a team (Chicago, Miami, Memphis, even the Clippers) that has a high core talent level and contribute on a limited, yet highly effective level.

    This would also allow for the Lakers to re-tool their core and build around the assets they have.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 10:51 am
  3. I must admit… I’m NOT a big “Kobe fan”. After all these years, I’m still a little “bitter” that he & Shaq couldn’t learn to “co-lead” & taken the 7-8 rings within their grasp. They could’ve surpassed Jordan/Pippen. Sorry, I digress…

    Charles Barkley (whom I love) said Kobe played “hero-ball”. I agree… but it seems that many of Kobe’s shots now are because nobody else seems to want to make a play. I can see how Kobe felt “forced” to play hero-ball. Everybody else (except MWP)was playing “Zero-ball”, meaning they’d only take the ball if there was no way that they could avoid it. That’s 1 reason OKC played the passing lanes so aggressively. They KNEW everybody (xcept MWP) was going to “force” the ball to Kobe.

    If u’re going to use the “True Shooting % as a metric, it needs to factor in his shot’s taken with: the shot clock running down with teammates running away from the ball &/or just standing right next to a defender, providing him no passing lane; teams double/triple teaming Kobe (daring other Lakers to take a shot)
    Geez, look what you MADE me do? …defend Kobe Bryant.uugh!!!

    As much as I hate defending Kobe Bryant… In my opinion, EVERYBODY has to CONCEDE that he’s got the “fire” that makes him a natural leader & winner. He is NOT “too old” to lead a team to a championship. But Father-Time HAS made it necessary for him to rely on more help.

    Also… I agree with the 4 bullets under “…myriad of reasons for the Lakers’ demise.” But I’d add “lack of a bench” to those 4 bullets.

    Out of these 5 reasons, I feel MOST strongly about Bynum’s failures. I’m sick of hearing that he is the 2nd best center in the NBA. Yes, he had success in the “regular season” this year. But, does he have that competitive “fire”? Can he step it up & match/exceed the level of competition in the NBA Play-Offs. This is where champions & legacies are made. This is where Andrew Bynum falls short. Review his level of play in the play-offs this year, & over 6-7 year NBA career. The rap is “he’s immature & inconsistent”. This is “code” meaning he doesn’t have the “competitive fire” (i.e. give the “effort and intensity”) needed to “co-lead” a team to a championship level.

    You CAN NOT “COACH” COMPETITIVE FIRE INTO A PLAYER. They either have it (& work to cultivate/ strengthen it) or they don’t have it. Andrew Bynum does NOT have it.

    As an example: Bynum complained about not getting the ball. From what I observed, he does NOT work aggressively make himself available and “call for” the ball. What did Shaq do if he wasn’t getting enough touches in crunch time? He aggressively fought-off defenders and DEMANDED the ball. Yes, that’s one reason why he and Kobe had issues, but they won championships anyway (under Phil’s strong direction).

    Posted by Mark Lewis | May 23, 2012, 1:34 pm
    • The main issues that Kobe had with Shaq was Shaq getting healed on company time and Shaq not getting his butt into shape all the time(lack of work ethic). So, when Shaq was often trying to healthy and in shape, Kobe said that he wouldn’t give the ball to Shaq as much, which is good since Shaq wasn’t ready to dominate. However, Shaq responded by mentioning that if he doesn’t get the ball, then he won’t play any defense. Much different responses. Shaq is basically saying he will quit on the team. Reminds you of anyone? Bynum? Bynum didn’t really say that, but he didn’t need to, his actions speak loud and clear.

      While shaq and kobe feuded, they did get along on the court for the most part. But, that was all moot if shaq wasn’t committed to getting in shape and healed in a timely manner. That’s what really killed them. After shaq and kobe, most of those early 2000 rosters were pretty thin they needed both of them to be at least near 100% to have a chance to win a title, which they barely made it out of the west conf. during 2 of their titles, so actually winning 3, and 3 in a row, was a major accomplishment.

      Posted by boyer | May 23, 2012, 2:37 pm
    • Thanks Mark. The only thing that I would say is that “forcing the ball” to Kobe is nothing unusual. This has been going on since Kobe Bryant was an Alpha Dog in 2003 and reliance has been established in which Kobe takes shots in the fourth quarter. Nothing different except that Kobe is now missing far more than usual. Moreover, the same criteria that you use to give Kobe a free pass “( the shot clock running down with teammates running away from the ball &/or just standing right next to a defender, providing him no passing lane; teams double/triple teaming Kobe (daring other Lakers to take a shot”) is the same challenges that Durant, Lebron, Carmelo, etc.. face. Again, it comes down to making your shots, and while Kobe has never been particularly efficient in fourth quarters, an aging Kobe struggled ever more than usual.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 24, 2012, 8:02 pm
  4. Some of this is amusingly predictable – “Kobe needs real help!” “Shaq was fat!”….

    Anyway, the point made is this post is valid but will never happen. Kobe will never take a secondary role especially to teammates he doesn’t respect.

    Posted by ks | May 23, 2012, 2:54 pm
    • He needs more help than he used to at this point in his career. He can’t get by with only a Chris Bosh-type on his team and win titles anymore.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 3:31 pm
      • Yeah…a Chis Bosh type, a Andrew Bynum type, a Lamar Odom type, a Ron Artest type…and so on…

        Poor Atlas..er, I mean Kobe shrugged.

        Posted by ks | May 23, 2012, 4:52 pm
        • Just a murderer’s row there … I would rather have a Wade and a Bosh than those four. Kobe would have won a title with those two, even in the first season with them.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 6:27 pm
          • “Kobe would have won a title with those two, even in the first season with them.”

            Um, with LAST year’s Kobe? That Kobe was a shell of his former self in the playoffs. That team wouldn’t get to the Finals.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 6:58 pm
          • Not if the fourth best player was Mike Miller.

            The idea of only needing 3 very good to great players will not win any team a championship.

            Title teams need to go at least 6 deep with very good players.

            Say what you will about Gasol. Odom, Bynum, even Shannon Brown, but they are and were good players.

            A great coach also helps, which Mike Brown is not.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 7:25 pm
          • “Um, with LAST year’s Kobe? That Kobe was a shell of his former self in the playoffs. That team wouldn’t get to the Finals.”

            Correct. His knee was jacked.

            Any Kobe from 2005-2010 would have won with that Heat team in the place of Lebron.

            Prime Lebron would not have won with the 09 and 10 Lakers.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 7:48 pm
          • Paulie – this is a separate topic, as you point out that

            “The idea of only needing 3 very good to great players will not win any team a championship.

            Title teams need to go at least 6 deep with very good players. ”

            While I don’t know what you were writing after “The Decision”, but the majority of pundits were handing the Heat the championship, without consideration of who else would play with them. Dan LeBatard laughed off Simmons when the Sports Guys dared to imply that it would take more – LeBatard saying “Who cares who else plays with them, we got Lebron and Bosh!” Even the box score stat formulaters were predicting 65 plus wins and a title for the Heat.

            Those people were wrong. And there were a lot of them.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 7:53 pm
          • Shannon Brown has never been a good player. He couldn’t even get off the bench with cleveland in 08, or a crappy 08 bulls teams, or a crappy 09 bobcats team. He was just a throw-in in the Morrison trade in 09, and suddenly becomes 7th man for the 2 title teams. And this year, he became 6th man while occasionally starting for a non-playoff team. He doesn’t even start for a non-playoff team who has no good SGs.

            Bynum didn’t even play in the 08 playoffs, and was injured and extremely limited in the 09 and 10, putting up paltry #’s: 6 and 4 in 17 MP in 09, and 9 and 7 in 24 MP in 2010. Gasol and Odom were decent enough #2/#3 guys, but hardly a great supporting cast by any means. And Odom is completely lost.

            But, Mike Brown is actually a very good coach. His peers recognize this, as they voted him the #4 coach in the nba before the season began, and he didn’t even coach in 2011.

            Posted by boyer | May 23, 2012, 8:05 pm
          • Yes Gil, it was so baseless to pick a team that went 12-3 through 3 rounds and ended up two wins away from a championship.

            “Prime Lebron would not have won with the 09 and 10 Lakers.”

            Whatever makes you happy in your delusional world.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 8:18 pm
          • Funny how Boyer uses “opinion” to validate MB’s coaching credentials, and yet Gasol’s All-NBA selections and Odom’s 6th Man award doesn’t make them more than “decent” players. Hilarious.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 8:33 pm
          • It is also the same opinions that are clearly being said that the Lakers have suffered form NOT having Shannon Brown on the roster.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 8:36 pm
          • Odd that Boyer echos the “Mike Brown is a good coach” when he will likely get canned form the Lakers very soon.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 8:38 pm
          • “Yes Gil, it was so baseless to pick a team that went 12-3 through 3 rounds and ended up two wins away from a championship.”

            Yes, they got really close. Should we give credit for that? This is a results based occupation.

            Even Lebron knows he will be judged by titles. If only the Anti-Kobe fans and Lebron fans would hold him to the same standard he does himself, we wouldn’t need to be arguing on the internet so much.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 9:33 pm
          • “Yes, they got really close. Should we give credit for that? This is a results based occupation.”

            Actually, it was a prediction. Not a guarantee.

            Not even bothering with the rest of your post.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 23, 2012, 10:24 pm
          • “Actually, it was a prediction. Not a guarantee.”

            Well, that’s the point. It was a bad prediction. Many underestimated the Dirk, Terry, and the Mavs, and overestimated Lebron, Wade, and the Heat.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 10:55 pm
          • Odd how paulie thinks that shannon brown is a very good or great player, but mike miller then isn’t. If shannon is as good as he is, then why couldn’t he get many minutes or start on a regular basis on bad teams immediately before or after his lakers tenure? If he’s as good as you say he is, then the lebron’s cavs had 10-11 very good to great players.

            Find me a worse #2/#3 options than gasol/odom that were on 3 consecutive finals(2 title) teams, and with artest/fisher/bynum(very limited) as #4-6 men, while brown is #7, and basically nothing after that.

            Shannon would’ve definitely helped the lakers this year, as would nearly any nba player, but that would’ve have changed losing to the thunder.

            What’s wrong with thinking that brown is a good coach. He did well in cleveland, but can only do so much when your superstar quits in the playoffs. And he did well this year.

            Posted by boyer | May 24, 2012, 7:08 am
          • Actually, Boyer, your reading comprhension is failing you once again.

            I notes that Shannon Brown was a good player; not a “very good or great player”

            This also needs the caveat that often role players need the right environment to actualize their limited skills. The Lakers offered that to Brown as the Lakers personnel could take advantage of what Brown could offer them; the Hornets did not have enough talent anywhere to allow Brown (or any player) with limits to enter a game and contribute good minutes.

            I understand that logic and reasoning along with comprehension are not your strengths.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 24, 2012, 7:35 am
          • Gil,

            let me ask you: do you think if Kobe played with a frontcourt of ilgauskas and a young anderson varejao, and a backcourt of eric snow and sasha pavlovic…..

            do you think he would carry his team to the finals? even in a weak eastern conference? do you think he’d even make the playoffs?

            Posted by hboms | May 24, 2012, 8:50 am
          • “It was a bad prediction.”

            To you.

            “Find me a worse #2/#3 options than gasol/odom that were on 3 consecutive finals(2 title) teams…”

            Let’s stick with Gasol, and also with title teams from the past decade. And let’s also stick with YOUR awards criteria from the regular season. Gasol was an All-Star AND All-NBA in 2009 and 2010.

            Tim Duncan never played with another All-Star/All-NBA player on a title winning team. Neither did Wade. Nor Nowitzki. Nor Billups. And they also didn’t play with more than one All-Star.

            Yes, Gasol was just “decent”.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 24, 2012, 9:02 am
          • *Should be Wallace instead of Billups.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 24, 2012, 9:05 am
          • Oh no, I said Shannon Brown was good and then very good later on, so contradictory, too funny.

            Sure, whatever nonsense you want to believe about Brown, go right ahead. The fact remains that he was on a good cleveland team the year before along with a bad bulls team, and then a bad bobcats team in 09, and could barely get off the pine. Then, he suddenly becomes a vital role player on 2 title teams, and now can’t even start on a non-playoff team. He’s in the same role with the suns as he was with the lakers, which is a bench player.

            Unrealist, gasol was a 1x time AS and 0-12 in playoff games before joining the lakers. Since then, he made 3 AS teams along with 1 2nd and 2 3rd team all-nbas. He’s been a solid player, and mainly getting these honors since Kobe was carrying him. He’s hardly a great or even good #2 player when you look at past nba title teams. Gasol and Odom FG pct. greatly increased immediately once joining the lakers. Odom amazingly is possibly completely washed up now. And Pau’s last 2 playoff performances have been absolutely putrid, especially this year when he’s had 2 teammates demanding double teams, allowing Pau easier chances to succeed.

            And you seem to forget about robinson/ginobili/parker/shaq/chandler/billups/rip/wallace.

            While yes, Dirk was able to lead his team with no other current AS, his team was extremely deep with several past AS players and 2nd team all-defense member Chandler. Dirk’s playoff performance last year wasn’t even one of his top 5 playoffs. This just shows that every once in awhile a 1-star team could win a title. However, almost every other contender last year had to deal with serious injuries or other problems, and while I give Dirk the credit he deserves, if james doesn’t quit for several finals’ games, the heat win, just a very peculiar performance by him, but one that continues to happen.

            Posted by boyer | May 24, 2012, 10:46 am
          • Boyer, I didn’t use any stats. Just the same awards that you put stock into.

            Pau Gasol: ALL-STAR/ALL-NBA PLAYER ON TITLE TEAMS. Duncan, Wallace, Wade, and Nowitzki didn’t play with “such players”.

            Spin it however you want to, but you can’t explain this one away if you go by the awards. ¿Comprende?

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 24, 2012, 11:17 am
          • It’s also pathetic you would discredit Nowitzki winning without another AS/ANBA player on his team because LeBron quit. Did you forget that Dwight and Paul Pierce quit against the Lakers in the Finals to make Kobe win those rings?

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 24, 2012, 11:35 am
          • I just mentioned all those AS caliber players that those stars had that you conveniently disregard. The pistons had 4 AS calibers players on their team. Duncan’s always had AS guards and/or another very good big. Shaq was the best player on the heat overall for 2006, and made 1st team all-nba that year. Wade was better in the finals, but that was mainly because shaq was the one drawing double teams, not wade. And shaq carried the load for most of the year. It would’ve been the same thing if the heat won last year, since wade was the star for the heat in the finals. Lebron carries the majority of the load for most of the year, and then wade could’ve been the best player in the finals.

            Not really sure why you think Pau is such a great player, and these other stars had nothing to work with, just a bunch of nonsense. It should be obvious that Pau is a solid player, but he’s not a great player. Take a look at what players do when on their own. Kobe was phenomenal with an awful team. Pau earned 1 AS appearance in 7 years in memphis, and went 0-12 in the playoffs, with no all-nba teams. He probably still wouldn’t any all-nba teams if he didn’t join Kobe. And he’s not even an AS anymore. His AS days were few, and they’re already behind him. Stop trying to elevate Pau to elite status by denigrating Kobe. Kobe’s cast for his last 3 year finals appearances is the worst cast to make 3 finals in history. It’s tough for you to swallow, but it’s the truth.

            Nobody said dwight or pierce quit. Where do you come up with this stuff? I give Dirk his credit, but it took an extremely bizarre performance out of lebron. I’ve never seen anything like it, except by lebron in the 2010 c’s series. Why he refuses to not play hard for extended periods of time in certain series is beyond me. But, there’s a clear difference in his effort level in those 2 particular series as compared to most of the other time. He could’ve stunk up the joint, which he still did, but he actually played hard, then the defense would have to focus on him more, but if he’s just moping around in the corner, but nobody has to worry about him. Several of those games went down to the wire, it didn’t take much more effort out of him to bring home a title.

            Posted by boyer | May 24, 2012, 1:37 pm
          • Don’t know how I missed Shaq’s All-NBA selection with Wade. That’s fine. You still have to answer for the other three players I mentioned.

            “The pistons had 4 AS calibers players on their team.”

            Where are they beside Ben Wallace? Show me their AS selections from 2004.

            “Duncan’s always had AS guards and/or another very good big.”

            Again, where? Manu was his only AS teammate in 2005 and TP was his only AS teammate in 2007, and he wasn’t All-NBA. Kobe played with an AS AND All-NBA teammate in 2009/10.

            But let’s get to the most laughable parts of your post:

            “I just mentioned all those AS caliber players that those stars had that you conveniently disregard.”

            “It should be obvious that Pau is a solid player, but he’s not a great player.”

            Boyer, you swear by awards and selections to “show” who the great players are (and you even do this again in your post to point out the “help” that other greats played with). And, once again for emphasis, PAU GASOL WAS SELECTED TO ALL STAR AND AND ALL NBA TEAMS IN 2009 AND 2010. Those aren’t Kobe’s awards; those are Gasol’s. And by those accolades, he’s not a solid player – he’s one of the 10-15 best players in the league.

            I’m not discounting AS/All-NBA players that Duncan, Wallace, and Nowitzki played with during seasons in which their teams won a title. But you sure are. I wonder why that is, awards guy?

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 24, 2012, 2:10 pm
          • “Shaq was the best player on the heat overall for 2006, and made 1st team all-nba that year. Wade was better in the finals, but that was mainly because shaq was the one drawing double teams, not wade. And shaq carried the load for most of the year.”

            Boyer, how could you possibly contend that Shaq carried them during the season? First off, Wade played 40% more minutes over the season and 16 more games, so if one man carried the Heat during the season, it was Wade

            As to Shaq being the best player, Wade shot almost as well (58% TS vs 59 for Shaq), had better defensive production, a higher PER, more win shares, more WS/48, and a better ORtg and DRtg. Basically every metric that exists favors wade. His overall line of 27 PPG, 6 RPG,7 APG, 2 SPG and 1 BPG is much more impressive than Shaq’s 20/9/2/0/2. And that’s just during the season.

            In the playoffs, despite clearly being a bigger focal point for defenses and again spending more time on the floor, Wade actually increased his scoring (Shaq’s declined) shot better than the big man (59 vs 57% TS), and his overall advanced metrics stayed roughly the same, whereas Shaq’s declined precipitously. And trust me, after Wade had eviscerated his opponents during the first few rounds, it’s not like he was a secret.

            Boyer (and I’m specifically asking Boyer, thank you very much), explain to me how you could possibly contend that Shaq was better than Wade during this period.

            Posted by Lochpster | May 24, 2012, 3:00 pm
          • @HBOMS

            “let me ask you: do you think if Kobe played with a frontcourt of ilgauskas and a young anderson varejao, and a backcourt of eric snow and sasha pavlovic…..

            do you think he would carry his team to the finals? even in a weak eastern conference? do you think he’d even make the playoffs?”

            The answer is yes to all three.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 25, 2012, 9:02 pm
          • You really are a fool if you believe that, Gil.

            A total fool.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 25, 2012, 9:42 pm
          • Oh, Paulie – I only know what actually happened, and I can only speculate as to hypotheticals …

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 10:56 am
  5. Great stuff NBA Realest, after witnessing the LAL-OKC series you saw Andrew Bynum really decline and not assert himself the way he normally would do. Do you think it’s at point where guys like Bynum and Gasol lack the effort because they are sick and tired of seeing Kobe jack up 40 shots per game and don’t feel involved?

    Posted by RIGO ACEVEDO | May 23, 2012, 4:07 pm
    • That’s an unoriginal narrative. They weren’t tired of Kobe jacking shots when they won in 2009 and 2010. So now, they’re tired of it? Or maybe, they’re just not as good anymore, Kobe included.

      Amazing that when a Kobe-led team loses, it goes back to the same song – “selfish player, shoots too much”. It is equally amusing as when they win, Kobe is a great teammate. The narrative changes to fit the results.

      Those narratives don’t matter, it’s not about character or effort. What matters is his decline, in which he is not able to do things that he used to do, namely, overpower the opposition with enough scoring and timely defense to make up for his team’s weaknesses and lead the team to victory.

      It’s clear he has to change the way he plays and/or get better teammates to reach the top again. The funny part is when people use his current failures as an “I told you so”, when he was winning in the past in exactly the way people are criticizing him for playing now.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 4:51 pm
      • *in some cases it IS about character and effort, but not in this case – no amount of that would lead to a Lakers title this season.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 4:52 pm
      • When Kobe decides to be a great teammate, and really get his bigs going, they win. When he tries to win by jacking shots up, they lose.
        Instead of blaming Pau, he should’ve repeatedly fed him in the post, not on the perimeter. If Kobe had to yell at him for being aggressive, why didn’t he just tell him to go into the post and then give him the ball?
        In contrast, in the eastern conference people were talking about how Wade was quitting on Miami after his terrible game 3 against the Pacers. What happened the next game? Wade came out struggling again, but in the third quarter Lebron set up Wade for some lay-ups and dunks, next thing you know Wade has made 10 straight field goals. My criticism for Kobe this postseason (I don’t blame him for game 5 against OKC, it looked like everyone quit midway through the third quarter, despite the Lakers having a couple point lead) is mostly predicated on him not getting Bynum and Gasol going by involving them more and building their confidence. He often turns his shoulder on guys when they struggle and tries to win the game himself, which led to a lot of their losses during the regular and postseason.

        Posted by pointguard40 | May 24, 2012, 7:49 am
        • PG, how can you feed Pau in the post if Pau won’t go to the post?

          And do you actually watch the games closely? How many times does Bynum get the ball, and then either turn it over and or do nothing with it? If Bynum doesn’t get the ball within 5 ft. and isn’t double teamed, he rarely does anything good with it. And bynum often doesn’t hustle back on defense, same with Pau.

          Actually take a look at Pau’s FGAs from 08-12, not much difference, it’s not like he isn’t given the same # of chances to succeed. He just rarely is aggressive anymore. When this happens and the bigs can’t generate any good looks, Kobe is given the ball with 4-5 seconds left on the shot clock with little chance to get a good look, this happens often every game.

          Posted by boyer | May 24, 2012, 10:53 am
    • Boyer,

      Again to highlight your lack of reading comprehension, here is the quote that you refer to:

      “Say what you will about Gasol. Odom, Bynum, even Shannon Brown, but they are and were good players.”

      Not really sure where you read “very good” in regards to Shannon Brown.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 24, 2012, 11:00 am
    • Thanks for the read Rigo. To answer your question, yes – I think that there are definitely some chemistry issues, and part of Bynum’s challenge lies in the fact that he is not only young, but he is not the primary offensive option on his team. Oftentimes, a lack of touches can throw a big man’s rhythm off. As Bynum matures, he will learn to adjust to those situations, but for now, not being involved in the offense definitely hurts.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 24, 2012, 8:07 pm
  6. Gil,

    Do you have #24 or #8 tattooed on your arm?

    Or Both?

    Sheesh.

    Do you have a life-size cut out of Bryant that you set candles around and pray to as well?

    You remind me of when Exidor started worshiping O.J. Simpson on Mork and Mindy.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 7:10 pm
    • Nope, just a fan of basketball that appreciates championship caliber superstars.

      I’ll be ready to congratulate Lebron as soon as he proves he can lead a team to a title by actually doing it.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 9:30 pm
    • Do you seethe whenever Kobe is compared to MJ in the media, and stab your voodoo doll whenever someone says Lebron is not clutch?

      Gimme a break.

      I actually think Dr. J from his ABA is the guy to be exalting.

      Kobe’s no god, but he doesn’t have to be to appreciate what he brings to the table.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 9:36 pm
  7. Kobe can’t hold LBJ’s jockstrap! Kobe never made anyone better. He is an egotistical, arrogant shooting guard. Admittedly a great shooting guard.
    LBJ carried a franchise all by himself for 7years. That crap team actually had two back-to-back 60 win seasons. Without him that team couldn’t win 30 games even if William & Jamison had played all 82 games!
    KB’s self-centered gamemenship only works when some other teammates do the damage. There is a reason why he has won only one MVP in his illustrious career. The idea that he would have won a title w/ Miami is ludicrous.

    Posted by Alfredo Hernandez | May 23, 2012, 8:56 pm
    • Indeed, the Cavs did only win 19 games after James left.

      Though, in fairness. Ilgauskas and his 7.4 ppg 5.4 rpg were hard to replace as well. LOL!!

      And, don’t forget, that Shaq chipped in 12 ppg and ALMOST 5 rpg, too!!

      Those are REALLY hard to replace.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 23, 2012, 9:06 pm
      • I love the “Cavs only won 19 games after James left” argument.

        They weren’t even the same team. Varajeo injured, Eyenga starting.

        But no matter. What does that say of Michael Jordan, whose Bulls posted the virtually the same record the season after he first retired, and were a botched call away from the conference Finals? Surely his value must only be able to be distinguished in the playoffs!

        So, Bulls Reg Season record before MJ retired: 57 wins. After: 55 wins. Minus 2 wins.

        Cavs Reg Season before Lebron left: 61 wins. After: 19 wins. minus 42 wins.

        Lebron must be 20x better than MJ to have added so many wins to a crap team!

        Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 9:29 pm
        • Why do you compare 93/94 Bulls record to their record in 92/93? Why don’t compare to 91/92 when Bulls were 67-15? Their roster from 91-93 was basically the same. What has changed so drastically that they won 10 games fewer in 92/93?

          93/94 Bulls were far worse than 92/93 version. First of all Expected W-L of 92/93 Bulls were 58-24, while Expected W-L of 93/94 Bulls were 50-32. Others advanced stats also show how much better 92/93 Bulls were. In other words 92/93 Bulls underachieved while 93/94 Bulls overachieved.

          Also 93/94 Bulls were NOT the same team only without MJ. No, they added some players like Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr or Pete Myers.

          And let’s compare their playoff record:
          92/93: 15-4
          93/94: 6-4
          Seems much different to me.

          So no, MJ was not worth only 2 wins to the Bulls. He was worth a championship.

          Posted by doosiolek | May 23, 2012, 10:52 pm
          • That’s my point. You can’t use the “x wins when they leave” argument to judge a player’s impact.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 23, 2012, 10:57 pm
          • @GIL MERKIN

            “You can’t use the “x wins when they leave” argument to judge a player’s impact.”

            You can, but often there are also other factors to take into consideration.

            It should be obvious to anyone that the main reason behind Cavs regression from 61 to 19 wins was the departure of LeBron James. It was so mainly because Cavs weren’t a very good team without LeBron.

            93/94 Bulls on the other hand were still pretty decent even without Jordan. They played with each other for a long time and had the same (excellent) coach. Yet, if you look at the stats it is clear those Bulls were inferior when compared to one year before.

            As I already stated (and as supported by stats) 92/93 Bulls underachieved in the regular season whilst 93/94 Bulls definitely overachieved. If we reversed the situation we would have had the Bulls winning 67 games in 92/93 and 54 in 93/94.

            Posted by doosiolek | May 25, 2012, 11:52 am
        • The 94-95 Bulls are always the target when trying to dismiss the argument of a players impact, but why does nobody focus on the NEXT year when Jordan was still retired and only played the final 17 games?

          The 1994-95 Bulls were 34-31 in the 65 games without Jordan. That same team AFTER adding Jordan went 13-4, which includes his horrendous first game (7 for 28 shooting) that was an overtime loss to the Pacers (who won the Central with a 50-32 record).

          The Bulls then dispatched the Hornets 3-1 before falling to the Eastern Conference Champion, Orlando Magic. That Magic team had a young and hungry Shaq, a healthy Anfernee Hardaway, Horace Grant, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and Brian Shaw; a really good team.

          The 93-94 Bulls overachieved, and the 94-95 team was showing what their true level was without Jordan, again winning only 34 or 65 games.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 24, 2012, 8:06 am
          • Just for the record:

            The Bulls regular season W/L with Jordan was 643-336 for a .657%

            The Bulls without Jordan during his retirement was 89-58 or .618

            The Bulls starting with having Jordan and Pippen on the roster was .731

            The Bulls the year AFTER Jordan and Pippen left was 13-37

            The Bulls post season W/L with Jordan is .656. To my knowledge, the highest of all time until the Spurs with Duncan, rolled off the 8-0 this year. (190-73, .722)

            Bryant’s Lakers have a 141-93 playoff mark for .603.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 24, 2012, 8:29 am
          • Well, that’s the point, the season to season differential isn’t a great measure. I was throwing the Bulls post MJ season as a counter-example.

            By the way, what was MJ’s playoff record without Pippen?

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 24, 2012, 9:21 pm
          • The real question is:

            How much more interesting and informative would Chasing 23 be without commentary from Gil or Boyer?

            Answer: A lot!

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 24, 2012, 10:02 pm
          • Lol

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 24, 2012, 10:46 pm
  8. Realist, I’ve taken plenty of shots at Kobe over the years (as Brown Mamba can attest), but I don’t think he can be blamed for the Lakers’ loss. For one thing, they lost to a better team. For another, if you ask who on the team played as well as capable in that series, I think that Kobe would certainly rate higher than Gasol or Bynum. As many have said, Gasol is likely to pay the price this off-season, although it must be asked: as good as Gasol can be, what value, other than maybe some payroll relief, can be had for a #2 guy making $19M per year who turns 32 next month and has 11 NBA seasons, and significant Spanish nat’l team mileage, under his belt?

    Let’s nonetheless assume for the moment that the Lakers are able to strike a good deal for Gasol. That leaves the Lakers’ most important question going forward: what do they have in Bynum? Shaq was not wrong in saying earlier this season that Bynum already has a more advanced offensive game than Howard, and he should continue to improve on that, as well as his defense. But is he (or can he become) a franchise cornerstone, or is he an incorrigible knucklehead? Is it worth it to trade him for Howard, whose desire to be in LA is very much in question and who will obviously come with tremendous baggage himself?

    Going back to Kobe, the point is well-taken that his best days are behind him, and he and the team will have to find a way to gracefully manage his decline. In particular, they will have to strike a mutually satisfactory agreement on what to do when his $30M per year contract expires in 2014 and puts the Lakers in a position to gain payroll flexibility for the first time in quite a while. That will go a long ways towards shaping the Lakers’ future.

    Posted by E-Dog | May 24, 2012, 5:34 am
  9. Edog…if they trade Bynum for Brook Lopez/D-Will that would give Kobe one of the best point guards in the game and a center who can put in enough points to make it worth it. If they were then also to dump Meta World through the forgiveness clause(like Miami should do with Mike Miller even if they win the title this year) that would give them some money to spend on vets for a bench. Their current bench is pretty horrible and needs to be upgraded. That would allow them to keep Gasol, if they trade him and clear cap room and aquire decent starters/ bench players in return then even better. Then they would have Kobe/D-Will backcourt along with a youth movement on the bench and with the other role players and whatever you could get for Gasol. That would be a scary team.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | May 24, 2012, 12:46 pm
    • Nightbladehunter, that would obviously be a great deal for the Lakers, but I don’t see any way that the salaries can match. The Lakers are far over the cap and can’t take back a penny more than the $16.1M option that they just picked up on Bynum. Williams and Lopez are both free agents this summer (Lopez is restricted, I believe), and the two of them combined are sure to get a lot more than $16.1M; heck, Williams might get more than that himself.

      Posted by E-Dog | May 24, 2012, 4:04 pm
  10. Edog don’t the Lakers have the 7 million trade thing from Odom?(Sorry was a late night last night due to the Heat-Pacers game) Also if they get rid of Meta that will clear up some cap room, enough to make trading for and playing the players possible. D-Will might have to accept less money but its possible to do. They could throw in some bench players to NJ to make the salaries match or trade away part of what they got for giving Odom to Dallas.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | May 25, 2012, 6:14 am
  11. Long time listener, first time caller …

    It’s apparent that attempting to reason with Gil and, to a slightly lesser extent, to Boyer is constructively a futile endeavor … no matter how many irrefutable facts, data points and unambiguous analyses you deify these fanboys with in this forum, their delusional infatuation with Kobe trumps all …

    My unsolicited advice … suppress every urge to educate them and simply ignore them entirely.

    Posted by Ken | May 30, 2012, 9:41 am
  12. My personal “Kobe’s Greatest Hits” (dripping with sarcasm)

    (Part 1 of 5)

    1. 81 points vs. Toronto in the regular season counts toward one’s legacy, and so do last second shots vs. the likes of Milwaukee, Golden State and Sacramento … but scoring 25 straight, and 29 of the team’s final 30 points, as a 21 year old vs. Detroit in a pivotal 2OT game in the ECF doesn’t count; and neither does 17 straight points over the final 5 minutes to beat the Nets in the regular season …

    2. Baskets made in the 4Q are worth more than those scored in the first 3 quarters (everybody KNOWS this!), and last second baskets count even more … also, contested 20 footers with three players from the opposing team draped all over Kobe are worth more than a layup or dunk … just like gymnastics, degree of difficulty counts!

    3. In three full seasons as “the man”, Kobe led the Lakers to 34 – 48 (28 – 38 with Kobe playing), 45 – 37 (45 – 35 with Kobe) , and 42 – 40 (39 – 38 with Kobe) records with Lamar Odom, Caron Butler (partial), and, of course, the Chucky Atkins, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown trinity that all of the fanboys always allude to … composite record (while in his prime, with many years of experience): 112 – 112 when Kobe played …

    4. Playoff results with Kobe as “the man” …

    2004/2005: failed to qualify (27 year old) …
    2005/2006: up 3 -1 vs. Phoenix in the first round, the Lakers collapse and are eliminated in 7 games with a close-out 31 point loss (28 year old) …
    2006/2007: eliminated by Phoenix in the first round again, this time in 5 games (29 year old) …
    2007/2008: eliminated by Boston in the Finals with a close-out 39 point loss in Game 6 (30 year old) …
    2008/2009: NBA Champions vs. Orlando (31 year old) …
    2009/2010: NBA Champions vs. Boston (32 year old) …
    2010/2011: eliminated by Dallas in second round with yet another close-out 30+ point loss, swept in 4 games (33 year old) …
    2011/2012: eliminated by OKC in second round …

    Go back and review Kobe’s 4Q stats vs. Boston in 2010 , Dallas in 2011 and OKC in 2012 to get a clearer picture on “clutch” Kobe …

    5. Over the course of his 16 year career, Kobe has not significantly made his team better (Lakers winning %ages with Kobe and without Kobe are similar), has publicly demanded that he be traded to a better team (Summer of 2007), single-handedly lost a championship (see 2004 vs. Detroit), and been a career 40% shooter in NBA Finals appearances … just like Mike!

    More to come …

    Posted by Ken | May 30, 2012, 10:27 am
    • Must kill you to see so many members of the media place Kobe as a top 10 player all-time, and you must seethe with rage when he is mentioned as top 5 …

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 10:48 am
    • 1. 81 points is more impressive than any of those other also impressive achievements you listed.

      2. It helps to be able to make difficult shots when quality shots are few are far between, for a variety of factors. But yes, two points is two points. Except it’s harder to score two points in some situations than others.

      3. That’s a pretty good record considering the players you just listed. And they made the playoffs in two of those years. I would invest all my $ to invent a time machine to see how Lebron or MJ would do in that situation (my guess: worse to not much better).

      4. You missed the first three rings as “the man” during various times in the playoffs.

      5. Winning % with and without are small in size, and not very telling either way. Witness Bulls without Jordan first year, and year after. NBA Final appearance individual box score stats, which I don’t give much weight to, but you do, are similar for last three.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 12:02 pm
  13. (Part 2 of 6)

    6. Based on career basic and advanced INDIVIDUAL statistics, Kobe is inferior to MJ and LeBron in every conceivable statistical measure with the exception (presently) of FT %age and 3FG %age … additionally, MJ’s 6 / 6 in NBA Finals appearances with a perfect 6 / 6 in Finals MVPs is slightly better than Kobe’s 5 / 7 with 2 / 7 in Finals MVPs … just slightly, though ;-)

    7. Did anyone catch that stellar shooting performance by Kobe vs. Utah in the playoffs following his rookie season? Or how about how he outclassed Rip and Tayshaun in the 2004 Finals? Or how about the no-show in the 2005 playoffs? Or how about the THREE 30+ point blowout losses in close-out playoff games in the past 6 years? Or how about the sweep last year and the 4 -1 near-sweep this year? Or how about the 6 / 24 gem he dropped on the Perk-less Celtics in the 2010 Finals ( I know, I know … Kobe meant to miss all those shots, he really only cared about those rebounds)? This selection of performances sounds just like the MJ I remember!

    8. The NBA marketing machine has NOTHING to do with the mythology that has brainwashed “experts”, league-affiliated broadcasters, and fanboys into saying things like, “five rings”, or “I don’t care what the data says, I use the eye test”, or “He’s a killer, he just wills his team to win” (except all of the varied evidence that we possess that demonstrates another, perhaps more fact-based interpretation of his actual meager efficacy), or “He’s got the clutch gene” (at least 7/28 of the time) …

    9. I would invest every last $ I could scrounge up to invent the time machine to see: 1) how LeBron (or really any of probably 10 other athletic wing players playing at the time) would have fared with Shaq as leading man from 2000 – 2004 (my guess: 5 consecutive rings); and 2) how Kobe would have fared leading a LeBron-less Cavs franchise in 2007 and 2009-2010 seasons (my guess: zero playoff appearances, much less a Finals, one ECF and a second round appearance) …

    10. $29 million, or fully 1/2 of the league salary cap, for a 36 year old players with myopic DNA in his 18th season? Wow, I cannot wait to see the Lakers squad in two years …

    More to follow …

    Posted by Ken | May 30, 2012, 11:14 am
    • 6. Yes, individual stats … not to be used for comparison, especially when trying to make finer distinctions

      7. MJ has had his share of stinkers, which you either have never seen, or deliberately forgotten. I have not. Best does not equal perfect, even in MJ’s case.

      8. Irrelevant. The marketing machine has dropped players as quickly as they pick them up if they don’t deliver.

      9. Me too.

      10. I think you meant championship DNA. But the high salary is a definite concern.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 12:05 pm
      • Why are stats not to be used for comparison? Sure there are small details that are untraceable by statistics at this point, but the majority of play can be measured with statistics. What kinds of finer distinctions put Kobe ahead of the other two? Leadership? No. Clutch? There are stats for that, and they say no. Heart? Good luck measuring that one, or convincing me that he has any more heart than any other great player.
        And yes, MJ has had stinkers. Just far less than Bryant.

        Posted by pointguard40 | May 30, 2012, 12:41 pm
        • Because the basketball individual stats being used are not relevant or useful, as they are in a similar model like baseball.

          There is a theoretical statistical analysis to be done, but the data would have to incorporate spatial data along with many other points not captured in the box score.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 2:03 pm
  14. (Part 3 of 6)

    11. Raise your hand if you can imagine MJ playing with a roster that includes Pau Gasol, Bynum, Artest, and Lamar Odom (partial) and going 1 – 8 in his last 9 playoff games … anyone? anyone? There must be one person who believes that even the great MJ would have fared no better with this roster than the guy many of his fanboys insist is the best player in the game even today!

    12. His own coach, the legendary Phil Jackson, wrote in his autobiography (and never retracted the statements) that he believes that Kobe is “uncoachable” and intentionally shaved points in high school in order to attempt to bring his team back playing “hero ball” …

    13. Name this rat? When confronted by law enforcement regarding his role an alleged crime, the sum and substance of his actual response was, “I should just pay her off like Shaq does all the time” …

    14. Who else guarantees that his team will prevail mid-series in an embarrassing sweep vs. Dallas? Has any player boastfully guaranteed more while delivering less than this guy? (I know, I know … “not one, not two … “)

    15. The mythology of the injuries … this one rivals the marketing mythology … in the history of the game of basketball, there has not been one single player that has leaked info regarding alleged and over-stated injuries more often than Kobe … fanboys and announcers / color men believe the nonsense that Kobe isn’t behind the information being delivered for public consumption, but he sure benefits a lot from it and the resulting (inaccurate) perception … e.g., the flu game fom this season: he plays great, he’s a god; he plays poorly, he was sick … WIN, WIN!

    More to follow … (not today, though)

    Posted by Ken | May 30, 2012, 11:39 am
    • What was MJ’s playoff record without Scottie Pippen? I think that should be point 16.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 11:53 am
    • 11. Who knows? Pure speculation. I know MJ didn’t win very many playoff games without Pippen. What should we make of that? MJ fanboys think he shot lighting bolts out of his arse.

      12. He also came back to coach him to three Finals appearances and two championships.

      13. … completely irrelevant, but MJ is also an adulterer, not sure what to say about this one – is MJ somehow of higher character?

      14. Guarantee? Never heard a guarantee. Confidence and expecting to win are not guarantees.

      15. Lol at this theory: “Kobe is behind the information being delivered”, GTFO!

      Posted by Gil Meriken | May 30, 2012, 12:10 pm
  15. (Part 4 of 6)

    16. On the matter of “team” accomplishments, which many incorrectly apportion to Kobe’s contributions … 5 rings in 7 Finals appearances is a great accomplishment, but Kobe was only viewed as the Most Valuable Player (i.e., the primary contributor to the success of the mission) on two occasions … so 2 / 16 of his career, Kobe has been the instrument by which his time has accomplished their collective goal … any other professional getting their job done a meager 12.5% of the time does not enjoy being called “the best at what he does” …

    (for comparison, MJ was Finals MVP in 6 of his 15 seasons (40% of the time); and Magic was Finals MVP in 3 of his 13 seasons (23% of the time))

    Remember … if you play up rings, you have to give up any claim to the Smush – Kwame – Chucky Atkins B.S. and you don’t get to trot out the MJ had Pippen B.S. BECAUSE ANYONE WHO USES TEAM SUCCESSES TO PROP UP THEIR GUY DOESN’T ALSO GET TO HIDE BEHIND “TEAM” THE 11 / 16 % OF THE TIME (and counting) WHEN THE TEAM FAILS …

    17. On the laughably preposterous argument that FT %age and championships are the only metrics that really matter in determining one’s greatness, I have this to say: only a desperate, delusional mess would even float that argument within earshot of others. Newsflash: it’s lost on exactly nobody with a pulse and a modicum of cognitive abilities that those two metrics are the only ones where Kobe fanboys can find weakly arguable data support for their claim that Kobe is better than LeBron and on par with MJ … last point on this issue: if those two really matter so much, I guess we all have consensus on the Greatest Laker of All Time debate … I give you Earvin “Magic” Johnson, he of the 5 rings (3 as Finals MVP) and the .848 career FT %age …

    18. Kobe fanboys like to trot out the amorphous “clutch” nonsense whenever the ground shifts on the entire “data and facts are WRONG!” argument that otherwise sustains them … taking care of the ball and scoring efficiently are probably the two areas where an individual player can create value in the playoffs, the most “clutch” period in team sports … go ahead and compare Kobe’s PPG, FG%age, PER, usage rate and any other individual basic or advanced statistic in his career during Finals games to the performances by MJ, Magic, Bird and countless other all-time greats during their respective Finals games … SPOILER ALERT: he’s not even close …

    And on the issue of taking care of the rock … try this one: add career playoff assists, steals, and blocks for any of the greats at the G or F positions, then divide by turnovers … you’ll find that Kobe presently lags nearly all of ‘em with an anemic 2.3, which is completely incompatible with the all around player” descriptor when you consider he also lags most of ‘em in rebounds and assists, too … I’m not saying he’s this generation’s Purvis Short, but still …

    19. Chris Childs … just kidding … but on a serious note, is anybody else tired of the yelling Kobe does on every shot attempt to elicit a ref’s whistle (which has diminished, thankfully, lately but was a blight on the NBA for years) … and the hand clapping and “hoo hoo”ing he does to call for the ball when his teammates are trying to run plays … and the arm swinging and / or chair smashing he does when his “hero ball” fails in games where he purportedly has mangled, broken fingers? If you deduct points from resulting FTs on horrendously B.S. calls that Kobe has received over the years (above and beyond the “superstar” calls that other receive from the officials) and technical free throws, Kobe has something like only 14,000 career points right now (slightly exaggerated) …

    20. Why does LeBron get blasted by the oh-so-objective media for a technically sound crossover + behind-the-back pass resulting in no turnover in a playoff win, but we hear crickets when Kobe does the same act, recklessly exaggerated by a factor of 5x vs. OKC, in a loss that he played the key role in, and actually turned the ball over resulting in a breakaway basket for the Thunder? Just wondering …

    (more to follow, not today)

    Posted by Ken | June 5, 2012, 11:47 am
    • 16. MJ and Magic may very well be better, no argument there. However, 12.5% of the time (your number) is much better than 0%.

      17. FT% is one of the few comparable metrics because of the controlled nature of the shot. It’s not a metric to measure greatness. Championship are a better, although more indirect way to measure a superstar’s prowess. Again, Magic may very well be better than Kobe.

      18. Again, more individual box metrics. Just look at the captain of the ship and the results. It’s the best, yet imperfect, way we have today to size up the superstar.

      19. LOL

      20. No idea what you are talking about.

      Will be waiting to address more nonsense from Ken …

      Posted by Gil Meriken | June 5, 2012, 2:40 pm
  16. This title of this article is a total misnomer is the #1 reason is that the Thunder are a better team, which they are. When the great ones take over it’s usually pretty early if they have adequate pieces around them, and Durant is arguably the most unstoppable scoring threat in the league. With Westbrook and Harden tagging along with a inside presence like Ibaka, the Thunder have a much more solid core than EVERY team in the league. Outside of those guys they could use some help, but you’re correct in saying that OKC simply won because they were supposed to. Kobe could have been 25 and the Lakers still would have lost given the same players at their current ages.

    It kind of goes without saying that the Lakers have lost a substantial amount of supporting talent in the past 3 seasons due to cap implications. Imagine just Odom and Ariza still being on the team.

    Posted by J.T. | June 6, 2012, 11:08 am
    • J.T they still would have lost to OKC even with Odem and Ariza on the team. It still falls largely on Kobe since hes “the clutch guy” as Laker fans point out to me. But hes only “clutch” when he wins, otherwise its the teams fault. I love the double standard and I also love Laker fans pretending that Kobe won titles on his own. Like Shaq wasn’t there the first 3 titles, like Fisher didn’t hit big shot after big shot when they needed them.

      Posted by nightbladehunter | June 14, 2012, 7:53 am
      • I wasn’t trying to absolve Kobe from his part. Game 2′s loss falled squarely on his lack of clutch play. Does that make it the reason that they lost the entire series? I don’t think so.

        No, I also don’t believe Kobe won titles on his own, he had plenty of help and the right kind of help, but no one will actually read this part.

        Posted by J.T. | June 19, 2012, 9:43 am
        • I read that part J.T that means that you are not totally blind when it comes to basketball for which I am thankful.

          Let me reframe my point though. I would say that as the Alpha dog on your team normally how you go is how your team goes. Unless you have a huge game and the rest of your team lets you down then its not your fault for that one game. But normally it is the fault of the Alpha player. Last year’s finals were largely on Lebron(not totally because Miami’s defense failed to hold leads late in the 4th of a couple of games that they otherwise should have won even with Lebron playing like crap on offense) and he has responded this year and in these playoffs(so far anyway. Now he needs to lead Miami to close the series out).

          So so far this year I have been very positive in terms of how Lebron is handling things. He has embraced the Alpha dog status and been clutch when his team has needed him most. That is not to say he has been flawless or done it all on his own, but he is playing to the level that he is capable of playing and it is showing.

          If he fails to help Miami to close the series out I will be the first one on here calling him out for it.

          Posted by nightbladehunter | June 20, 2012, 9:45 am
          • …and I’d be right there with you as far as Lebron is concerned. It’s good to see him reaching his potential.

            I see your point, I just believe that at this point in their careers Durant is the stronger Alpha dog when compared to Kobe for this particular series and more than likely for the rest of their careers. Westbrook was most certainly Alpha dog #2 for OKC, and the Lakers had no answer for him either.

            So my belief falls right in line with how it’s laid out in the article. The main reason is that they ran into a primed, younger, and hungrier team.

            Posted by J.T. | June 20, 2012, 6:13 pm
          • No doubt they ran into a better team. And if the series happens as is again next year the Lakers will be luckly if they are not swept.

            People around the area and websites that know I am a rabid Heat fan keep asking me about how much better are the Heat then the Thunder and I don’t think they are that much better, I think Miami wants this series more then OKC does. You can see that because over the last 3 games Miami has got pretty much all of the 50/50 balls, they are the ones diving to the court to save a ball from going out of bounds. They are the ones jumping into the stands to save a rebound. And those two plays were made by members of the Big 3. Chris Bosh put his body on the line to dive for a lose ball, that was very inspiring for the role players on the Heat to see a star do that. Ditto with DWade jumping into the first row to save a rebound.

            My point is the two teams are roughly equal neither has a huge edge over the other team. Unlike OKC and the Lakers or Unlike Miami and the Lakers. Either team is very easy capable of sweeping the Lakers as they are currently constructed. And ESPN hype aside the Lakers are not a threat to win any more tittles right now. I don’t believe they can even be called a legit contender anymore. I don’t care how well Kobe shoots, he can’t do it on his own and OKC is not going anywhere soon. Nor are the other better teams in the West.

            Posted by nightbladehunter | June 21, 2012, 6:40 am
  17. HAHAHAHAHA there are an insane amount of Kobe haters on this site. Funny thing is its the same guys bashing Kobe and big upping “the King” that happens to lack hardware and any legitimate claim to the throne. Do your research. Real research. Not that stat crap that you LeBron junkies pull out of your rear. Fact is Kobe’s supporting cast is not as “GREAT” as everyone would like you to think. The “realists” aren’t realistic at all and neither is Ken or any of the other LBJ riders out there. An immature center, inconsistent soft power forward, washed up street baller formerly known as World Peace, and an athletic point guard who fails to regularly make plays? Yea, what a supporting cast. Not like he’s playing with “the best shooting guard in the NBA” and a current all star forward in his prime like Chris Bosh. I wonder who has that supporting cast. They must be winning right?……oh……wait…..

    Posted by Daddy | June 14, 2012, 1:18 am
  18. formerly known as ron artest*

    Posted by Daddy | June 14, 2012, 1:19 am
  19. Daddy’s message brought from the Kobe Nation headquarters.

    Thanks for the comments, Rush Limbaugh.

    Tell us, Enlightend One”. . .

    what ‘REAL research” should one do to determine things?

    You mean the like some of the data listed above that compares Bosh “the current All Star in his prime” to Gasol to reveal that they are essentially the same player, except that Gasol is BETTER? The same Bosh that was 4-11 in game 1 and practically runs away from any defensive assignment?

    Rather than tell us to do the “real research”, why not offer up this information to us? Why not share the knowledge to bring us up to your level? You clearly seem to have some insight that we do not.

    Why keep it a secret?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 7:43 am
  20. 29 FGA last night, zero assists, another L …

    there is so much burnishing of that top 10 or top 5 legacy going on right now (sarcasm), i’m seething with rage (also sarcasm) …

    Posted by Ken | January 2, 2013, 12:29 pm

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