Lakers Nation Debate: “Magic Mamba” or Scoring Mamba?

Lakers Nation Debate: “Magic Mamba” or Scoring Mamba?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Topic of Debate: Whether or not Kobe Bryant should look to be more of a facilitator (Magic Mamba) when he comes back, or stick to who he is and look to score.

Context: With Kobe’s return seemingly imminent, basketball fans are bracing themselves to see how good the Black Mamba is going to be when he steps back on the court for the first time since rupturing his Achilles in April. Some expected Bryant to return tonight on the road against the Sacramento Kings, but he quickly put those rumors to rest earlier this week. However, he did not rule out a possible season debut for Sunday nights game against the Toronto Raptors.

Reports have suggested that Kobe has looked pretty good in practices, and is resembling his old self. Still, despite that, some  believe that this Achilles injury is going to ultimately restrict Kobe from being the elite player that he was last season. And as a result of that, some suggest that he adjust his game in order to prolong his career.

Even Kobe has acknowledged this, saying that if need be, he can scale back on scoring and attacking if his explosiveness is not the same. In the end though, would that be what is best for this team right now?

Verdict: We took this poll question to Twitter to get the fans take on the idea and where they stood on how Kobe should play when he comes back.

I presented the poll question:

Here are some responses:

The over-whelming majority of Lakers fans on Twitter came to the general consensus that Kobe needs to embrace the “Magic Mamba” role. That’s not a bad suggestion. Last season in a 12 game stretch from the end of January until the middle of February, Kobe embraced this facilitators role, averaging 18 points, seven rebounds, and close to nine assists. The Lakers went 8-4 in that span, and many will remember the back-to-back games Kobe had 14 assists. These are amazing numbers that he is certainly capable of putting up on a consistent basis, but I don’t believe that is what this team needs him to do when he comes back.

While I think Kobe is certainly capable of operating an offense, I believe his value on the court is diminished if he is asked to be a pass-first player. A forgotten aspect of Kobe’s game is that when he operates as a pass-first player, he tends to turn the ball over at a very high clip. In that same 12 game stretch where averaged right under nine assists, he turned the ball over four times a game.

Kobe’s at his best when he forces defenses to adjust to his aggressive nature on the offensive end. And perhaps, he’s even better when he commits to being a willing passer (particularly out of double-teams). That’s when his passing has proven to be most effective.

I know this roster presents a dilemma because Farmar and Nash are currently  nursing injuries, so naturally he’ll have to help shoulder the load at point guard until they get back.

But once the the Lakers return to full form, Kobe will have to score. The main thing missing from this team is a consistent scorer, and he’s the only player capable of filling that void on this roster.

What do you think? What’s your take on it?

Kobe Bryant Discusses Becoming More Of A Facilitator


  • BennyBlanca

    The team’s recent success can be attributed to ball movement, floor spacing and guys taking advantage of opportunity. Each night a new face leads the team in scoring. Every night the guys know it could be their night… so they come prepared, excited about the chance.
    Whichever hat Kobe wears upon his return, the team needs to keep this chemistry rolling.
    I don’t think Kobe can come back shooting 25 shots a game and somehow ask his teammates to remain involved and in the flow (ready to hit big threes in the fourth quarter).

    Meeks, Farmar, Blake, Johnson and Henry are ALL averaging right around 7-8 shots per night. If Kobe comes back shooting 20 plus shots, that’s two or three guys who won’t get ANY shots.

    How do you keep ALL your weapons ready if you don’t get them any shots?

  • Gregory Choa

    I think Kobe’s default position to start games has to be in the “Magic Mamba” mode – which I think has actually been pretty consistent with his approach over the last couple of seasons. I agree that the key thing here is that Kobe has to work to try and preserve and enhance the team chemistry that has crystallized so far. And, as usual, and as the game goes on, Kobe will have to read and take what defenses are affording him.

    Where Kobe’s eventual return will really augment this Lakers team is down the stretch in the 4th quarters of close games – which has proven to be a weakness in his absence. At that point he can switch to “Scoring Mamba” mode if and when he has to…that’s the versatility that Kobe brings to the table.

  • roseducanna

    I think he can’t 20 shoots for 1st game.He will be SELFKOBE.

  • Daryl Peek

    Given the Farmar injury Kobe will be needed to facilitate when Blake is not on the floor. If Kobe’s on the floor with Blake, Steve should continue on as he has. It’s very important to keep the flow of those who have been shining involved and not fall into the stand and watch Kobe.

    Kobe will be a great low post threat the team has lacked given Gasol’s failure to do work down there this season. There are times when the offense stagnates due to no low post threat. Kobe was #1 in the NBA at 55.3% FG on post ups last season. That will help the team avoid many of those stagnate lows coupled with easing the pressure for Gasol as he and Kobe have a great instinctual nature when playing off each other. Pau should benefit the most from Kobe’s return.

  • meep

    kobe with his age,injury and the depth of talent lakers have. kobe should be magic mama. since lakers shown to have enough scoring to win 9 games. lakers just need kobe to score when needed and taken over when needed. he really doesnt need to do alot to help. at the most he should be a 20 and 5 guy with at times scoring big when needed.

    • The doctor

      magic mama ?? kobe’s a mama now ? hahahah watta loser !

  • Jovancho Jankuloski

    he will play magic scoring mamba !!!

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Black Mamba is Scoring Mamba For Life.Scorer mentality,but willing to facilitate.

  • Jim213

    Given KB24 will be playing reduced minutes (18-23?) the coach has to find the best time to place Kobe in the game which will involve closing out games. But given that Kobe’s mentioned he’ll be limited in doing certain things for now it’d be best aside of an advantage if he facilitates the ball more than score depending on the lineup.

    IMO, if Kobe plays the 1 this will help him to get a better feel for the team and the ability to possibly mesh in with the unit. However, if he plays either the 3 or 2 IMO it’d be best to let the play develop being that if the team plays the way they’ve been playing (difficult w/out Farmar) with regards to ball distribution then Kobe will/may have plenty of opportunities to shoot the ball though should let the play develop.

    However, in clutch times expect Kobe to assume his role (shooter) as if he plays his style of ball which comes with consistent shooting then odds are he’d likely be getting double teamed thus leaving someone open on the outer perimeter or inside.

  • Paytc

    He will most likely do what he always does, whatever the team needs.
    Each and every team presents different match ups. Knowing how smart Kobe is he will consider the circumstances and resume from there. Unlike all the preplanned coaching, one way prepackaged out of a box styles…. Kobe knows life is not a recording, it plays out live in real time. So he will prepared accordingly. Go Kobe ! Go Lakers !