Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kobe's Shameless Self-Promotion

"I rank this right up there with some of the biggest road wins we've had since I've been a Laker. Because in the past, we always had guys that had a lot of experience. Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Ron Harper, they've all been through this before. For our guys, this is brand new."

To me, this comment reveals that Kobe is very much aware that he is badly losing "the best baller in the world" debate to LeBron James. Part of the rationale for the emerging consensus on Lebron's supriority is that LeBron's and Kobe's teams have similar records but Kobe is doing it with another superstar (Pau Gasol), a borderline all-star (Lamar Odom), a future all-star (Andrew Bynum) and a strong bench, whereas LeBron is doing it with guys who have no business being on a championship contender.

By contrasting his current team with the Lakers' past teams, Kobe is trying to make his current roster look weaker than it is. If one accepts Kobe's premise that his supporting cast isn't that great because they have less experience than some of his past teams, then the inexorable conclusion is that Kobe must be doing something pretty special to have them winning so many playoff games. But alas, Kobe, we see right through you: Your supporting cast is the envy of the entire NBA, so please don't undervalue their skills.


Bhel Atlantic said...

Averring that tough playoff competition is "brand new" to Bryant's teammates is absurd; isn't this exactly the same group (well, except Shannon Brown) that went to the NBA Finals last June?

The disparity in the two teams' rosters also has deep implications for the free-agency decisions of both players coming up in 2010. James will look around and see only Mo Williams, Delonte West, and Anderson Varejao to roll with going forward; everyone else (Ilgauskas, Wallace, Pavlovic, Gibson) will be either a has-been or a never-was. Meanwhile, Bryant, who will be 32 years old twelve months hence, will have junior avatars including Bynum (22 years old), Gasol (30), Farmar (23), and Ariza (25) as fellow soldiers. Which team would you rather take for the next decade? Really, Delonte West?!

Bhel Atlantic said...

I would adjust my outlook for James's free agency decision if Cleveland could contemporaneously convince another youthful star (Bosh, Stoudemire, Joe Johnson seem like the likeliest possibilities; it's hard to imagine Dwyane Wade going to Cleveland to be a second fiddle) to sign there as a free agent.

H.O.S.S. said...

Good point, Bhel. I should have put that in the original post -- this is almost the exact same team that went to the finals last year. If I were Gasol, I would be pissed. Kobe has implied that Gasol is a Delonte West-caliber sidekick.