Los Angeles Lakers: role

Missing the Lennon and McCartney of basketball

May, 20, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky

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Kobe and Pau haven't created the same basketball "music" this season.

"Pau's got to be more assertive. He's the guy out there that we need. When he's getting the ball he's looking to pass. He's got to be aggressive. He's got to shoot the ball. He's got to drive the ball to the basket and he will in the next game ... He's just looking to swing the ball too much, he's just got to shoot it. We played pretty much the same way the entire game. The second half what they did was front Andrew (Bynum), so when they front Andrew and in the fourth quarter they crowd me, the other guys have to be more aggressive, simple as that." - Kobe Bryant

"It's hard to say. Obviously we want the ball in Kobe's hands, but it doesn't necessarily need to be so early in the shot clock. I think it should get there later in the shot clock when the ball has moved and changed sides of the floor. Instead of being there from the beginning and then they kind of collapse and everybody's kind of sitting and it makes it hard for us, sometimes." - Pau Gasol

Above are two very different thoughts expressed by the Lakers' stars when asked about the stagnant fourth quarter offense that, along with simultaneously porous defense, eventually resulted in a blown lead and 3-1 deficit heading to Oklahoma City. Upon hearing these remarks, fans and media are typically inclined to debate "who's right" in an effort to determine which Laker was most "at fault" for the loss. But for me, what was most compelling about these comments was the stark reality exposed.

Kobe and Pau aren't on the same page. At all.

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Can Andrew Bynum have the "more" he wants?

December, 1, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
When last we saw Andrew Bynum, he was addressing the media during his exit interview. After his apology to Dallas' J.J. Barea for a dirty flagrant foul, he expressed thoughts on his role in the offense: Namely, it needs to be bigger.

Between Drew's steady improvement, Mike Brown's stated plans to replicate the Duncan/Robinson Spurs and Kobe Bryant's regular reminders of the order in which teammates "eat," consternation over how the post-triangle offense is a given. And not without valid reasons. The division of touches between seven footers and one of the all-time great scorers has been a dicey topic for years. The Mamba is admittedly dead set on "shutting up those MF's saying I'm done," and he led the league in usage rate last season as it is. In the meantime, Bynum isn't afraid to speak up when he thinks the game isn't played inside-out enough. A full blown "Kobe-Shaq II" is probably a long shot, but tension between the shooting guard and the center isn't out of the question.

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Is there room on the Lakers for Andrew Bynum to stake his claim?

Still, sexy a storyline as this undoubtedly is, the number of shots allotted for Bynum is actually just a microcosm of the bigger issue: He wants more... period.

This is plainly obvious in the way Drew relished his role -- and recognition -- as last year's unofficial defensive captain over a 17-1 stretch when the Lakers looked unbeatable. In the way he's become a more vocal presence with the media, typically offering the least sugarcoated opinions. In the way he's now less willing to be seen as the kid among veterans.

Bottom line, Bynum wants more on his plate, along with a bigger stake in the Lakers' success moving forward.

In theory, this is exactly what you'd want from a highly skilled youngster theoretically tabbed as the next franchise player. In reality, it's not so simple.

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Kobe Bryant
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.1
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.5
BlocksE. Davis 1.1