Lakers Nation Roundtable: The Evolution Of Kobe Bryant

Lakers Nation Roundtable: The Evolution Of Kobe Bryant


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Coming into this season, no one knows exactly what to expect from Kobe Bryant. The last time he was fully healthy, he was averaging 27 points, five rebounds, six assists and garnering MVP consideration.

But after two serious injuries and missing all of last season, it seems unreasonable to expect Kobe to be the same player of even two years ago. Kobe, however, understands this.

Kobe admitted to Sports Illustrated that he won’t be the same player he was, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be just as great. Kobe spoke about evolving and adapting his game. He will adjust to his body’s limitations and maintain the efficiency he showed in 2012.

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But in what way can he evolve that will best benefit the Lakers. The team doesn’t have another definite star that is ready to take the torch so Bryant may feel the need to try and turn back the clock, and carry the Lakers himself.

Bryant has already shown the ability to develop the other assets of his game, but what must he do now to maintain his greatness?

We asked our panel of experts: With Kobe Bryant saying he must evolve to maintain his greatness, what change do you want to see in Kobe’s game this season? This is what they had to say:

Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): Kobe started out his career as a hyper athletic guard who could get to the hoop at will and finish with stylish dunks.

Next he developed a mean post-up game and eventually solidified his mid-range game. He might have the best mid-range jumper in the NBA, but unfortunately he has a penchant for taking incredibly difficult and inefficient shots.

So where does Kobe go from here? It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to out-quick the younger guys so slashing to the rim might not be the best course of action for Kobe at this stage in his career. However it would behoove him to slash a bit in order to get to the free throw line – where he is excellent.

In my mind it’s clear that Kobe will need to improve his three-point shot and also lean heavily on his post-up game. Kobe’s post game is stellar so he shouldn’t have too much of a problem there. But his three-point shot has always been just a tad below average.

He is 33.5% from long for his career. I don’t expect his mid-range game to completely disappear, but I do think he needs to take less 15 footers and more 24 footers. If Kobe can tweak his game to be more efficient he will be more effective as he enters the twilight of his career.

Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): I would like to see Kobe Bryant comfortable with less playing time. Not including his first and last season, he has averaged 37.9 minutes a game in his career. I’m not saying he needs a dramatic decrease, but seeing him on the floor for around 34 minutes would be good.

The last time he averaged around that mark was in 2010-11, a season in which he scored 25.3 points a game while shooting 45.1% from the field. Over the last couple of years, he has gotten more efficient shooting from the mid-range and elbow areas.

If he were to continue getting to those shots, I think he should be fine and have a good production line. I have never been concerned about his ability to get more assists. He is a scorer and that’s what he’ll be, he just needs to work on getting even more efficient with his shots so that he can still score points in less time.

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Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Kobe Bryant has already proven that he is capable of evolving his game. As his athleticism began to leave him, he developed an excellent post-game and arguably the best mid-range game in the NBA.

Now, Kobe needs to change his game again, and I believe the best way for Kobe to thrive would be to maximize his ability off-the-ball.

Throughout his career, Kobe has always had the ball in his hands, trying to be the creator of everything. He is an excellent catch-and-shoot player, that should be on full display this season.

Allowing Steve Nash (if healthy), Jeremy Lin, and even Julius Randle to create for everyone will allow Kobe to expend less energy on a regular basis, as well as conserve him for late in the fourth quarter when his heroics will be needed.

By embracing more of an off-ball role, Kobe will allow his teammates to do what they do best, while also maintaining his scoring and efficiency. This could be the best way for both Kobe and the rest of the Lakers to shine.

Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): As an ecology and evolutionary biology major, I hear about evolution all the time. One thing about evolution is that it is a process of give and take. That is to say, as one trait is selected for another is diminished; this is true of Kobe as well.

With Kobe losing his athleticism, he must compensate with a different part of his game. If his greatness is to be maintained, he must evolve and a tradeoff must occur. I believe Kobe will have an added mental aspect to his game. He’ll still have his infamous midrange fadeaway jump shot, but I see him more as a facilitator.

We saw glimpses of this when he came back from Achilles tendon injury. In his comeback game against Toronto, he made a number of passes to the inside, getting the big men involved. Perhaps we’ll see a similar sort of interaction with Kobe running the inside lane and dishing dimes to Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer and the other Laker big men.

Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Kobe Bryant needs to take yet another page out of Michael Jordan’s book. Not Jordan from the Washington Wizards days, but the Jordan that won three straight titles in his last three years with the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan altered his game in the twilight of his career in Chicago by taking to the post. Jordan utilized his incredible footwork and shooting ability to continue lighting up the scoreboards on a nightly basis while also leading the Bulls to three consecutive championships in his 30s.

Kobe will need to go the same route. The five-time NBA champion has already adapted his game with his athleticism on the decline, but after two serious injuries, Kobe will have to take it to another level.

One move that could benefit the future Hall of Famer is moving to small forward.

As of right now, the small forward position is arguably the weakest position on the roster for the Los Angeles Lakers. Wesley Johnson will likely get the nod as the starter, but head coach Byron Scott might roll the dice and go with Kobe at the three spot.


Lakers Coach Byron Scott Talks Nick Young, Kobe, Defense

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  • Zach

    Will be interesting to see if Bryant can finally learn to take intelligent shots and not fire up so many 22-footers with two men on him. I doubt it, but you never know.

    • kobe_824

      Hes the only one that can make jumpers with 2 mans on him…..and that got him to 5 rings so he must be doing somethin riiight

      • Zach

        Shaq got him to most of those rings, and Horry has 7. If Bryant keeps up the bricklaying the Lakers have zero shot at a playoff run.

        • wood

          Zach….Kobe is a bricklayer? Haha ! You must be a Ruben Patterson fan. Kobe Bryant has scored the 4th most points EVER! You MUST be efficient if you get that many buckets

          • Zach

            He has never shot 50% in a season, ever. THAT’s a bricklayer for you.

          • kobe_824

            So if kobe is so shit and shot less than 50% why did he get finals mvp twice? Why was he the player of the DECADE? He is 27th in all time assists and everyone ahead of him are POINT guards and u talking bout shaq got kobe those rings…nigga let me refresh yo dumb ass memory:

            REGULAR SEASON

            2000: 22.5 ppg 5.0 apg 6.3 rpg 1.6 spg 49% fg

            2001: 28.5 ppg 5.0 apg 5.9 rpg 1.7 spg 49% fg

            2002: 25.2 ppg 5.5 apg 5.5 rpg 1.5 spg 49% fg

            2003: 30.0 ppg 5.9 apg 6.9 rpg 2.2 spg 46% fg


            2000: 21.1 ppg 4.4 apg 4.5 rpg 1.5 spg 44% fg

            2001: 29.4 ppg 6.1 apg 7.3 rpg 1.6 spg 47% fg

            2002: 26.6 ppg 4.6 apg 5.8 rpg 1.4 spg 44% fg

            2003: 32.1 ppg 5.2 apg 5.1 rpg 1.2 spg 43% fg


          • Zach

            Player of the Decade isn’t a true award, and if it were it would go to someone who has won the MVP more than once, like a Nash or a LeBron. If Kobe was so great, why the 6 for 24 disaster in Game 7, 2010, when he lost them the title only to have the refs hand it back? And why the 34-48 record in his one year without major support? SMH.

          • kobe_824

            lol you just changed the whole subject…….34-48 that was the only time in kobe career he didnt make the playoffs and it was the first year of the rebuilding process and he avg 28 6 6 but its a team game so its only so much one man can do….and in 2010 if it wasnt for him the lakers wouldnt be in that position to compete for a title… dont look at his 15 rebounds which made the lakers win the rebounding game 53-40. SMH go watch some nba tv classics

          • Zach

            Rebounds are easy to come by when you’re shooting bricks all over the place, and we both know Crawford and co. saved him that day. Looked like a scared child on the court, just sad.

          • Al Haldie

            He is a TROLL stop talking to him – talk to real LAKERS fans..

          • TheReal

            Doesn’t a troll deserve a troll too?

          • 1

            rebuilding process must have taken over 3 years because they were sent home in the 1st round the following 2 years they didn’t make the playoffs. Yeah, i’m talking about those Lakers that were being “led” by KoME.

          • Desmond Powell

            zach i give you the kobe hater award….. in game 7 who on the celtics shot better…. who on the lakers shot better?….it was one of those horrible shooting game due to good defence


            that’s true! Compare to DJ6 who led the league in blocked shots and field goal percentage last year. #kobe #bricklayer #LOL

          • Al Haldie

            No ZACK, he is just a TROLL if you stop talking to him he will go away, he is trying to Pi.. u off..

        • MistahBiz

          Man ur an idiot..I usually wouldn’t even comment to someone who’s an obvious moron..horry with 7 rings only 3 of them were with the Lakers..but without google u wouldn’t even know who the other teams were..bandwagon bioch!

          • Zach

            LOL, a LAKER fan calling someone else a bandwagoner??? You should do standup! Not a Laker fan alive who wouldn’t root for the Clips if they had more banners.

          • MistahBiz

            Once again you show your stupididity..go google bandwagoner since u obviously don’t know what it means. Pick a team and stick with it…clips at least haha now I know why so much hate comes spewing out your mouth…clippers are a joke and will soon be in seattle!

        • TheReal

          The truth is not allowed here lol

          • LakersLifer

            Correction, The Trolls like yourself are not alllowed here!

        • Desmond Powell

          what did shaq do without kobe….and what will white boy nash do this season…. it all this crazy talk about what kobe will do how about kobe has nothing to prove.. because he is already top 10

    • Rbarnes

      Zach your not a Lakers fan so why jump on a Lakers site and dog on one of the greatest players of all time? The man has nothing else to prove you idiot. I’m sure if you go to the all star game you will see The Mamba again, never count out Kobe! He’s back face it and hate somewhere else punk!

      • Zach

        Need a hankie little guy? He’ll be at the game all right, probably sittiing out with an injury again. He had a decent career, but is definitely not an all-time great with just one MVP and never shooting 50% in a season.

        • who’s who guru

          Zach he’s second to MJ period. And he’s not top 10? Lol. Hilarious. Name another greater player…..I’ll wait

        • LakersLifer


          How tall are you little TROLL?

          I bet your a high school basketball reject who resorts to projecting his inadequacies on the GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME…KOBE BRYANT!

          • rofl

            You wanna say most overrated player of all time.

    • TheReal

      Seeing how he’ll see double teams all year those are the only shots he’ll be taking. You know the drill by now; he’ll average 20-24 points on 45% shooting or something like that.


      AC Green thinks Kobe will average 22-24 points this season

  • An Idiot

    Will be interesting to see if Bryant can finally learn to take intelligent shots and not fire up so many 22-footers with two men on him. I doubt it, but you never know.

  • MyLifeisBetterThanOthers

    Will be interesting to see if Zach can finally learn to make intelligent posts and not fire up so many troll comments with two men in his mouth. I doubt it, but you never know.

    • Rbarnes

      Not a chance Zach is probably one of those Clipper fans that had to go into Staple Center and look up and try to count all the banners before their team couldn’t stand the intimidation factor and had them covered for Clipper home games. So enough about Zach!

      • Zach

        He’s an amazing basketball expert, you kids should take notes, you could learn plenty!

      • LakersLifer


        The clippings answer to our championship banners…post up selfies. lol.


  • numb1lakefan

    the legendary masked mamba was a rogue shooter and relentless at heart you guys should watch the video of masked mamba taking on miami’s big 3 by himself he completely slaughtered them to pieces

    • Zach

      LOL, you’re right about the ‘rogue’ shooter part but he’s been dominated by Miami for several years now.

    • Al Haldie

      Don’t feed the TROLL..


      be careful because Mamba is poised to Strike Back this year!!! LOL. the bum led his team to a 27-55 record last season

  • budder

    To be honest about Kobe playing in the triangle with df, Horry, rf, & Shaq he was the only one to create his on shots. That had a lot to do with his fg% he would always get the ball late in the shot clock to bail the them out he took difficult shots & Shaq had the paint clogged up.


    HOW CAN KOBE EVOLVE??? See if you can stay healthy for 10 games or more. If so, see if you can lead your team to something better than a 27-55 season. #evolution

    • Desmond Powell

      imagine if kobe had played for the clippers … they would have had rings lol

  • mark

    does this mean that kobe will be more of a team player that “i am only the best in my team” player?