Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Only 22 Points???

Something is rotten in the county of Los Angeles. It seems that Kobe Bryant has lost control of the Lakers, as he was outscored by teammate Brian Cook last night, 28-24. As a direct result, the Lakers toppled at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, 102-87.

Mr. Cook needs to step back and realize his role on this team: spectator. Last time the Lakers played Dallas, Black Mamba erupted for 63 points in three quarters, more than the entire Dallas team to that point. And, of course, the Lakers emerged victorious, despite Kobe riding the pine for the fourth.

The stage was set for Kobe to pull an encore on Tuesday night. Sure, Dallas is probably the hottest team in the NBA at this point, but Kobe has a penchant for exploiting shaky defensive teams. But instead of letting Kobe run wild, Cook hogged the ball all game, lobbing up 16 shots to Kobe’s mere 22. Only 22 shots? Come on, fellows. If the Lakers are going to win, Kobe needs to be chucking at least 35 a game. That way, when he shoots 22 percent, he’ll still score a good 30, 35 points.

Cook also recorded zero assists to Kobe’s four, which is further cause for concern. If Kobe had four assists, it simply means that he was passing when he should have been shooting. Cook had zero, which means he was shooting when he should have been passing. Combine the two, and it’s a sure recipe for a blowout.

You know who gets his role on the Lakers? Kwame Brown. He launched only one shot in his 14 minutes on Tuesday night, and managed to nab four rebounds (.30 per minute compared to Cook’s .09). To boot, none of them were offensive, mainly because he knows that with Kobe on the floor, there’s no need for offensive rebounding. Just let Kobe shoot, and you just run around the floor pretending to run a play. That’s the Lakers M.O., and I’m glad that at least one guy can stick to the game plan.

So how does Phil Jackson adequately solve this problem? Well, for starters, I think it would only be appropriate to bench Cook for the next game and throw a youngster like Andrew Bynum out in his place. He’s so eager for playing time that he won’t explore his selfish desires to throw up shots. That’s Kobe’s job. Just feed him the ball and let him play.