Anybody who is currently following the NBA is fully aware of the fact that the LA Lakers are on a 4-game losing streak. This has never happened to a Phil Jackson championship team (hint, hint!), and the Lakers have not done this badly in a stretch since they acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. Mentioning Gasol is not just relevant because the Lakers have never played this poorly since he’s been on the team, but I think that it is because they are not using him as frequently as they should that they are losing.
The Lakers started off the season very hot, and I think a lot of that had to do with the distribution of shots between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, who were roughly taking the same amount of shots per game. And now you look at the distribution of shots taken by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol during their little funk, and there is a huge discrepancy in favor of Kobe who has taken an explosion of shots in comparison to Gasol.
You can say it’s the whole chicken and the egg situation, where Kobe is taking more shots because his team is losing, and he has felt the need to take over games. However, that would not hold true because their games have been close and they could have gone either way. So when it comes down to it, the problem is that they are failing to run their offense in the most productive way.
Last season as I watched the NBA Finals, I concluded that the Boston Celtics would have been the champions had Kendrick Perkins been healthy for Game 7. Not only that, but I also concluded that if the Lakers did not have Pau Gasol, whether or not Perkins played in Game 7, the Lakers would not have won the championship. Everybody was talking about Kobe this and Kobe that, and how great of a player he was. I, on the other hand, was talking about Pau Gasol, and how he made the Lakers too good. Sure, Kobe is an amazing talent in this league, and has been for many years, but there are a lot of teams with great players. There’s Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant for example, but none of them have a big man with the skill-set of Pau Gasol, who might be the most talented big man in the game right now, on their team. That’s what separates the Lakers. They have the superstar in Kobe, but they also have the amazing big man in Pau Gasol.
So when I see the Lakers not utilizing that big man, and they are instead trying to run the offense solely through Kobe, I feel that the Lakers are not using their best weapon, their x-factor. You cannot overlook that advantage that you have. When teams have to double Kobe that leaves Gasol in a lot more favorable situation. In fact, I’m not sure that anybody in the league can take Gasol one-on-one effectively. So for Kobe to be taking double the amount of shots that Gasol has taken, there’s no logical explanation.
When you see how the Lakers are struggling, and it should be brief because they have a mastermind in Phil Jackson who should repair the problem really soon, it is very obvious that they have to learn right now that it’s not Kobe’s team anymore. Rather it has become Pau Gasol’s team, and it’s imperative that they run the team through him if they want to be successful moving forward.
P.S. If Kobe gets wind of this article, you know he’ll be dropping 40 in his next game.