After striking out on big names this off-season, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak added a couple of veterans to the core of exciting young players. The hope was that Kobe Bryant could come close to matching his previous level of play and the Lakers could surprise some teams.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case as Kobe’s shooting and efficiency has been the worst of his career.
In an interview with Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Kupchak spoke about Kobe’s play, saying he is still unsure if this is the way Kobe will be for the rest of the season:
“You always wonder, is he still trying to find his rhythm and his timing, or is this what we’re going to see for the rest of the year?” Kupchak said. “I think he goes back and forth on it. Some days I think he feels great and his legs feel great and he feels like his rhythm is back, and then the next day it’s not a great game.”
Kupchak also noted that the rest of the team has to do a better job of helping Kobe get better shots, but did admit that he is not what used to be:
“It’s not a game that he plays by himself either. There are teammates that have to put him in positions and a coaching staff that has to put him in position where maybe he’d be more successful. It’s hard to say after 20 games if this is it. Clearly, he’s not the Kobe of old.”
The act of balancing Kobe’s final season with developing the young players has been admittedly difficult. The Lakers have continually run the offense through Kobe and he leads the team in shots per game despite his inefficiency.
Kobe has had moments, such as the win over the Washington Wizards, in which there seems to be something left in the tank. However, at this stage, it seems as if Kobe is what he is and the Lakers will let him do as he pleases.