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:
Lakers fans, when Kobe comes back, should he play a facilitators role (Magic Mamba), or be traditional Kobe and look to score? #lakersdebate
— Ry (@JustRyCole) December 4, 2013
Here are some responses:
— Brendon Paul J. (@therealBPaulJ) December 4, 2013
@JustRyCole Until we get a healthy and commanding PG, He should probably facilitate with his presence. Need someone to run the offense.
— Lindsay Taylor (@lindsaytaylor8) December 4, 2013
— Alex Swēēt (@Hunting_Hawk) December 4, 2013
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