Is Lakers’ Success Dependent On Kobe’s Newfound Passing Role?
The bottom line here is that it’s not necessarily a numbers thing when it comes to Kobe Bryant and his assists totals.
What does matter is that Kobe doesn’t relegate himself to being just a scorer, and Nash doesn’t relegate himself to being just a passer. The two are also exceptional at what each other does best; Kobe is a great passer when he wants to be, and Nash is a great scorer when he wants to be.
Similarly, the rest of the team must fall in line with that mentality as well. While Pau Gasol is a great passer, he’s also a great scorer, and he used both skills in Sunday’s game against the Thunder. However, he can also be a great rebounder when he wants to, so although Dwight Howard is the best rebounder in the game, perhaps Gasol shouldn’t leave all of it up to him.
As for Dwight Howard, while he’s a great defender and rebounder, he can also be a dominating presence offensively. He and the Lakers need to realize that, and try to maximize all of his skills as well.
Basically, the moral of the story for the whole team maybe shouldn’t be “Know your roles and do them well: Kobe, shoot; Steve, pass; Pau, post up; Dwight, rebound and play defense; Metta, play defense and take open shots,” but rather “Know what you’re best at, do it well, but don’t forget about all of your other strengths: Kobe, you’re also a great passer and can get guys the ball in ways nobody else on this team can. Steve, you’re a great shooter and can score well in the lane too. Pau, go after more rebounds and blocked shots, you’re a great position defender! Dwight, use your athleticism to do other things such as guarding power forwards or even small forwards in certain situations and find other ways to score. Metta, you can be a solid passer, too, etc.”
The team goes as Kobe Bryant goes, so when he tries to set the table for his teammates and shares the ball, it undoubtedly elevates the collective level of play offensively and defensively.
It shouldn’t necessarily be a goal for him to average a certain amount of assists, but it should be a goal of his to utilize all of his offensive skills–not just shooting and scoring–in an effort to help his teammates succeed and win games.
Essentially, because he’s the leader of the team, the Lakers are an extension of the Black Mamba, and in the past two games, he’s been orchestrating his team to perfection.
If he can continue to orchestrate it the way he has been, the sky is the limit for the Lakers.