Watching the Los Angeles Lakers play lately has been exciting, confusing, frustrating, funny, and educational. A person can’t help but want to help this team get it together.
It seems now, after a tough stretch, that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are starting to figure things out. It took some ego-scraping to get there though:
Not long ago, the Los Angeles Lakers took a trip to New York City. It must
have been extra windy in the city because the Lakers were nearly blown out. Down by twenty points at half time, Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles squad looked to be completely at a loss for ideas.
The tired went bald, somehow, somewhere, and this team was getting no traction. The line-up and the strategies that the Lakers opened the game with only worked for the first three minutes of the first quarter, yet Mike D’Antoni stuck with them into the third quarter.
Then, finally, he decided it was time to make some changes.
(Read my article here. Yes, I’m quoting myself, but only because this is a continuation of some earlier thoughts…which is fine, right?)
The team that sometimes goes by the name “The Lakeshow” made some line-up changes and got going in mid-December.
With Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant leading the way, there is some energy and some forward momentum. But the changes that D’Antoni has instituted should not stop now.
One more big change needs to be made. Or so it seems to me.
Dwight Howard – whether your feelings for him are love, hate or indifferent – has got to get engaged, get happy, and become the best player on this team. (If not the “best”, at least he has to become the focus.)
This becomes more clear with every passing game. The progress that Howard has made in his play over the last few seasons is coming undone. Fouls and free-throw shooting are once again the his story and a mild nightmare for his team.
That’s not the way it has to be. Kobe Bryant can make up his mind to help Dwight Howard dominate the NBA. He did it with Pau Gasol, for a while. He can do it with Howard.
The change is a matter of mind-set. Howard has the skills to dominate if given a bit of a boost. Kobe can be that boost.
This will be more than an ego-scrape, possibly, for the Black Mamba, but it’ll be worth stepping back from the spotlight for Kobe if it means he gets to stand in the lime-light of history with a sixth ring.