Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe

2011-12 Lakers Report Card: Kobe Bryant

June, 4, 2012
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
The paradox that is Kobe Bryant was on full display during the 2011-12 season.

Should he be celebrated for the second-highest scoring average in the league as a 33-year-old playing in his 16th NBA season?

Or should he be criticized for shooting 43 percent (his lowest since his second year in the league) and averaging 4.6 assists per game (his lowest since 2005-06) while posting the highest usage rate (35.7) in the league?


What grade would you give Kobe Bryant?


Discuss (Total votes: 8,276)

As Kobe often says when asked whether a low-scoring Lakers night is the fault of the Lakers' offense or a credit to the opponent's defense, "Probably a little bit of both."

Were the Lakers empowered by having Bryant push them to the third-best record in the West despite coach Mike Brown being in his first season with L.A., the team trading its longtime point guard at the deadline, and the season seeming to never escape the shadow of the failed Chris Paul deal?

Or were the Lakers sometimes hampered by Bryant trying to hold on to the player he once was, instead of evolving to fit the roster that surrounded him at this point in his career?

Probably a little bit of both.

Was Kobe all about No. 24 instead of about the other 13 guys on the roster when he was scoring 40-plus points in four straight games in January?

Or was he just doing what one of the top five scorers in NBA history is supposed to do, helping along an anemic offense by putting the team on his back until it found its offensive stride under Brown?

Probably a little bit of both.

Should fans be impressed that Bryant’s six 40-point games (between the regular season and playoffs) in 2011-12 were twice as many as league MVP LeBron James’ three and two more than NBA scoring title winner Kevin Durant’s four?

Or should fans point to the Lakers’ 3-3 record in those six games and say that when Bryant plays "hero ball," the team isn't as efficient as when he dials it back a bit?

Probably a little bit of both.

And that’s the tension that runs through any thoughts about the Lakers’ future championship chances, too.

Does the logical person observing this team believe that Bryant’s salary next season ($27.8 million) will make him grossly overpaid and hinder the Lakers’ chances of reaching the title?

Can the romantic person -- who has observed Bryant’s drive, will and work ethic over the course of his career -- have any doubt that Kobe will figure out somehow, some way, to tie Michael Jordan with six rings before he retires?

You’d have to say that both the logical one and the romantic would admit they feel a little bit of what the other feels.


27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 30.3 percent on 3-pointers in 38.5 minutes over 58 games played.


In the grand scheme of things, Bryant’s biggest accomplishment undoubtedly was passing former teammate Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The rest of the top five? Kareem-Abdul Jabbar. Karl Malone. Jordan. Wilt Chamberlain. Pretty heady stuff.

The fact that he passed O’Neal back in his old stomping grounds of Philadelphia made for a “This is your life”-type moment for Bryant.

That’s the big-picture stuff.

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New ESPN Los Angeles Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast

December, 23, 2009
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Andy and Brian discuss the X-Mas Day showdown with the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst, who offers thoughts on Shaq, LeBron vs. Ron Ron and the puppets. Plus, we discover a subtle way for Lakers fans to heckle LeBron!.

" Podcast Listen
The name of the show just rolls off your tongue, huh? It's times like these where we're glad our parents decided not to hyphenate names upon getting married.

Anyway, as some of you may know Brian and I have been part of ESPN's podcasting roster (or as we do it, "podKasting," with a "K") for quite some time. The launch of ESPN Los Angeles and the Land O' Lakers blog, won't change things one bit, except we'll be doing so more frequently. So we're excited about that and hope the Laker Nation feels the same. And with that, I present the first show in the new ESPN Los Angeles era!!!

The show focuses mostly around a discussion with the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst, Cavs' beat writer and interview subject extraordinaire. With the Christmas game less than 48 hours in the distance, we break down some important matchups, talk about the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James "rivalry," and why the team hasn't gotten off to the same dominant start as last season. One reason? To be honest, the problem lies at least partially with Shaquille O'Neal, and as a few excerpts below demonstrate, Windhorst is equally honest in evaluating this stage of the big fella's career:

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0