therealdeal wrote:I'm saying yes. If we didn't have Kobe playing huge minutes this season we wouldn't have won games. Chill we're in the 8th seed for Christ's sake even WITH Kobe playing huge minutes. If he didn't play like that this season, do you think we could have done better? Do you think we'd even be in the 8th spot if he didn't play the way he did?
Where was last night's performance? It was in the other player's hearts. They didn't give that kind of effort consistently when Kobe was healthy. D'Antoni isn't the one playing the game, he isn't the one who can force Steve Blake to shoot better from the field. He's not the one who can force Pau to get 17 rebounds. Only Steve and Pau can do that.
It's funny because I don't completely disagree with you and I think it really is a chicken/egg issue. All I can do is lay out the evidence for my case, so I'll do that.
Yes, we are in 8th largely due to Kobe's heroics. But as a team, we're actually pretty decent without Kobe. I believe we're at least 3-0 (all against playoff teams) in Kobe's absence.
There were stretches where we absolutely needed Kobe to take over and play large minutes. The Portland game recently being one example. The game in New Orleans a month ago.
Where I disagree is that this was the only way. I saw what the team brought in 3 games without Kobe and that to me means they were taking the easy road because they have Bailout Bryant. It's a shame, his own teammates get caught up in watching his mastery.
And I will say part of the reason is there is no alpha male coach. D'Antoni may not be Mike Brown but he is still a yes man. He doesn't grasp the team by it's proverbial jersey and demand greatness. He gets frustrated like helicopter dad but most importantly doesn't have the acumen or mentality acuity to really get the best out of his players -- especially on the defensive end. There's no need to discuss his tenure in New York, and in Phoenix there was Nash. Nash truly was one of those players that could make everything better. D'Antoni couldn't bring the best out of his players. That's a coach falling short IMO. He's just as in awe of Kobe as us.
The point I am getting at is that this team DID have the ability to play with effort and hustle on the defensive end. However, they chose to take the easy way out. They chose to play haphazardly at points and rely on Kobe and not their defense or talents. The easy way. Sure, players are to blame, but it's the coaches job to run the show. D'Antoni seemed completely content with the Kobe show. Not the smartest brand of basketball, but boy was it fun to watch. Too bad we're paying part of the price for that now.