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Andrew Bynum, not Kobe Bryant, needs the ball more

Andrew Bynum is the most efficient weapon in the playoffs, and he's going up against a team that is particularly unsuited to stopping him.

So why isn't he getting the ball more when the game is on the line? In LakerLand, that job belongs to Kobe Bryant.

But should it?
Patrick Smith's profile photoAkyla Collins's profile photoM. L. Hunt's profile photoLaleh Rodriguez's profile photo
I been said this since the beginning of the year...
Its up to Kobe if this happens or not.. Heat over lakers in the finals
kobe should get it..more experience, more versatile, more ways too score, better chance of scoring. not anything against bynum,
Kobe is the reason Bynum scores so easily. Bynum is not yet on the level of a Shaq, someone you can just dump it into and he'll dominate no matter the defense.

So far in the playoffs, when the defense has focused on Bynum, he has correctly given up the ball. When the defense focuses on Kobe, he gets the other teammates involved. The Lakers are playing just fine on offense. They need a more consistent effort on defense.
I'm not a Laker fan. From what I see, and I know its only the Nuggets, the role that Bynum is playing has the Lakers looking good. Everyone is playing a part in the success of the team. The question should be when Metta comes back does the machine keeps running
If u give Bynum the ball how r u going to ever know that he will make a good offense player if u really don't even care about him. U really just focus on the star o the team and wishes he makes every shot. I've learned more experience with kobe and he's the one who brings that team on the top list. If the lakers lost kobe then there phenomenal team will bring the scoreboard down and I personally would just watch the team he is recently on. I'm a BIG fan of Kobe and I've been watching him for years. Ik that the needs the ball more than Bynum. Besides all of his team mates pass him the ball anyway so why is the NBA making a big deal of this stupid thing anyway? They just want some news flying around the world I guess.
+Adam C Blodgett #stunninglyObvious indeed.

I'm not saying Kobe isn't extremely valuable, even at this stage of his career, and that they shouldn't put the ball in his hands down the stretch. But clearly Bynum needs to get the ball more, especially earlier in the games (to set up the rest of the offense by forcing the opponent's team defense to continually look inside) and especially against this opponent (which doesn't have good post defenders).
It really doesn't matter if he gets it early, middle, or at the end of a game. Bynum needs to step up out of the play and get open and probably he'll get the ball.
K.J. Ye
Its not nba that puts this question in perspective. It is espn
DUMB ARTICLE.....Lakers Haters
Clearly a troll article. Desperate for hits.
I think the laker coaches and players no more about their own team than people that put out stuff like this, I mean Bynum probably even knows it.
In this case I think the reporters are right. Bynum had plenty of good looks at the basket where he had his defenders sealed in the paint in game 3, but no one would feed him the ball. Bynum has proven himself to be an elite center so I don't see why he isn't getting more touches, especially against the Nuggets.
This article is ridiculous! How many games has Bynum won for LA? Very few not saying he isn't capable but he's not consistent. Against the Nuggets(or any team) its proven he doesn't pass out of double teams well, and sometimes its takes too long for him to make a move against a smaller defender. Then there's a maturity issue when he gets hot he can make dumb decisions. We've seen this enough to know why Kobe will be the alpha dog for the entire playoffs.
Am I so envy that dumb writer get paid......I need that job to make Lakers look good for the article...
Not consistent? He's the most consistent player on the Lakers. Bynum gets a double-double almost every game. If that's not consistent then I don't know what is.
Consistency on the stat charts,and for game-on-the-line shot consistency are different things though.
Thanks James that's exactly the point I'm making when I talk about him being inconsistent. Also, case in point look at the OKC game a couple of weeks ago as well as tonight's game in Denver. Bynum was NOT on the court in critical minutes of the game.
I think Kobe should get the ball more because he is one of the players who gets the most average points per game and because he does much better in the 4th quarter because he makes comebacks. Kobe is a dangerous weapon in the playoffs more than Bynum.
The stats I've seen say that Bynum is one of the more dependable crunchtime scorers in the league -- he hits something over 70% of his shots in the fourth quarter. On the other hand though, Bynum is sometimes slow to move the ball when he's double-teamed. He needs to do a better job of this.

Kobe makes some big shots but also misses shots too, especially when he goes into Superman mode and hogs the ball. Sometimes it seems like he doesn't trust his teammates, and in some situations he has a tendency to hold the ball too late and thus be forced to take bad shots against the clock.

In the game last night, Kobe forced up several bad, against-the-clock shots in a row in the latter half of the 4th quarter. Coming down the stretch, however, he began to anticipate the late double team and pass out of it to open teammates (particularly Blake and Sessions).

Bottom line is that the Lakers are a much better team offensively when they feed the post especially early in games, and when Kobe doesn't feel like he has to take every shot going down the stretch.
steve blake is clutch. blake is finally getting there.
Kobe brings the ball up the court, or catches very simple entry passes in end of game situations. You can almost guarantee that he won't get the ball ripped and that he'll make the pass if he sees absolutely everyone collapsing on him (well, maybe not, but still, more likely that Bynum to). Bynum needs the ball dumped into him 10 ft from the rim, a decidedly more difficult pass to make, might not pass out of a double/triple team, and might get the ball ripped. If Bynum misses, there is much less of a chance, with two/three defenders on him that you get an offensive putback (ala Artest last year?) than if he's standing under the hoop with one guy between him and the loose board-putback. Plays in the last minute obviously rely on a lot more than shooting percentage, so be wary, stat monkies, of over simplifying this debate.
Kobe is not a ball hog!!!! He has the ball most of the time because no one is open.
+Patrick Smith I am a Kobe fan; I admire his will to win and willingness to put the team on his shoulders when it comes down to it (as compared to, ahem, certain other MVP-level wing players).

And of course if you have a Bryant level talent, going down the stretch you want to start your sets with the ball in his hands.

But sometimes Kobe goes into hero mode and makes bad plays, pure and simple.

The problem is what Kobe does when teams run at him, especially if they trap him when the clock gets down under 12 or so. There are times in the game when the team is stagnant for whatever reason, and someone's gotta take the shot, and Kobe is the best person for that shot. But that's earlier in the game. You cannot afford to do that in crunchtime. In crunchtime, you have to get the entire team involved because if it becomes clear that Kobe's going to take the shot teams will defense for it until the Lakers figure out how to move the ball out of it.It is sometimes in these situations that Kobe is hesitant to move the ball and takes the hero shot, either because he's waited too long to move the ball or because he honestly at that time doesn't have faith in his teammates to make the open shot.

In the stretch run of the game yesterday, you saw Bad Kobe and Good Kobe. Beginning around say 5:00 or so, there were two or three straight possessions in which the Lakers ran a high iso, and Kobe pounded the ball down to about :10 on the clock and then didn't move it, ended up either turning it over or taking a bad shot. Bad Kobe.

Fortunately Denver didn't do much to capitalize -- they were able to get even but didn't get ahead (on that long 2 Galinari shot from the left wing where his foot was on the line).

After that, though, the Lakers switched from a 1-2-2 iso with Kobe on top and began running screens for him at the elbow, and on these plays he was able to pass out of the double and get open wing shots from Sessions and Blake.Good Kobe.

If the Lakers went down into the post to either their 4 or 5 even once down the stretch, that would force the defense to collapse. To do this in a situation where you're trying to run clock, you have to start the play earlier, and you have to have faith that the big will pass back out effectively if the defense collapses and he doesn't have a good matchup. Sometimes it seems like Kobe lacks faith that the ball will come back out if it should in these situations, and that's maybe why it doesn't go in.

But the Lakers have to take advantage of this if they are going to go far in these playoffs. Kobe is no longer a player that can take every key shot going down the stretch in a whole series. He doesn't have the lift or the first step to do this at will anymore, and because he so often tries to overpower double- and triple-teams in these situations, he quite frankly doesn't draw quite as many calls in this sort of situation any more, nor should he.

Maybe it's just that the Lakers don't have a Horry or a Fisher out on the wing anymore, a guy everyone has faith in to take the open 20-footer, in crunchtime, with the clock heading toward :00.

But the team is going to have to develop players who can fill that role for the Lakers to go deep. You saw it last night -- if Blake doesn't step up, they may not win that game.
+Akyla Collins Not sure I agree. Not to be too much of a stat-head, but Kobe had one of the highest usage rates in the league this year, and his offensive efficiency was among the lowest for high-volume shooters. To me, high-volume shooting + low efficiency + high usage rate == ball hog.

That isn't to say that the team doesn't need him to be a ball-hog, at least to some extent. But if you look at the Lakers' record, you'll see they are much more successful in games where Kobe doesn't dominate the basketball to an extreme extent. I don't think the Lakers have ever lost a game in which Bynum took more shots than Kobe, and I'd be very surprised if they lost any games in the last couple seasons in which anyone else on the team took more shots than Kobe.
+Adam C Blodgett The numbers don't lie, but neither do the playoff results. Regular season != playoffs, and to my thinking, playoff performances are what make players' reputations.

James is certainly a great player, the league's best-all around talent, and one of the purest physical specimens I've ever seen in any sport. And on any given Wednesday night in February, I'd certainly take him as a closer for my team.

But given his performances in his teams' final series in the last two playoff years, I simply cannot consider him a great closer. His play in the Celtics series in 2010 was not superstar-caliber. His play against the Mavs last year was very, very good -- I actually think he had a better series than most people seem to -- but his seeming inability/lack of desire to dominate the games at times his teams needed someone to take over says much about him as a player in my view, at least at this point of his development.

Now, he's still young and this may change, but I need to see it. So far so good for this year, but it's only been the Knicks, who aren't a very good team.
+M. L. Hunt Agreed. That was meant more as a referendum on the Clutch Kobe mythology than it was on the triumph of LBJ in the post season. LeBron still has a lot to prove in the most important moments, and Kobe's already got his hardware. But irks me when we forget that Kobe didn't start winning rings again until Pau showed up. Kobe can't do it by himself, as much as he'd like to. He needs to learn to distribute and direct. If he does, he'll find the game much easier...but then there'd be less limelight to go around.
I thoroughly appreciate your thoughtful reply +M. L. Hunt . You are correct, and I couldn't agree with you more in terms of the importance of Kobe having a long term outlook and developing trust with others, but at this point in the playoffs, do you trust anyone else? The crux of my argument was that statistics such as FG% don't accurately capture how 'clutch' a player is, or the myriad of other non-FG% factors that go into a successful last minute possession. To say that Bynum has shot 70% in the 4th quarter and thus should be getting a lionshare of the late game touches, is to negate a) the incredibly small sample size of Bynum playing in the 4th quarter b) the fact that Bynum probably isn't having plays run for him on half of the possessions and likely benefits from open looks or put backs right around the basket and c) defenses are keying on Kobe. If the percentage chance that Bynum converts a play that was being run for him was 70% to Kobe's 40%, then it would be a much different situation, but that is not FG%. The thing about Kobe that makes him a good bet in these situations to get off a good look is his near limitless arsenal of moves. I would argue, though you are free to debate, that Bynum isn't a sure thing to get a decent look at the basket and needs to improve a number of aspects of his game before having the ball run through his hands in crunch time.

It's useful in this situation to think of 'what's the worst that can happen' scenarios. For the sake of this argument, let's keep things grounded in reality and the players current demonstrated skill sets. What's the worst thing that can happen if Bryant has the ball in his hands? A last minute uber-forced look over fading away over three defenders, a shot that Kob still gets off, that probably hits some area of the rim.

What's the worst thing that can happen when Bynum gets the ball? Well, he might just up and punt the ball.

Allsimsayin is FG% isn't a good enough argument for me to buy Bynum>Kobe... Numbers never lie, when computed accurately and when they adequately represent the question you are asking. In this case, the question is "who should get the ball in crunch time?", not "who shoots the best field goal percentage in the last 5 minutes of a game?". I can see how this metric is probably the 'best' out there right now to measure 'clutchness', but it isn't enough for me. IMO, there are a lot of cognitive factors that go into being 'clutch' that are 'immeasurable'. We all know Kobe is shooting that last shot like he shoots all his other shots. He's not going to get rattled, he's not going to be thinking about his legacy, or about how he's going to use this possession to leverage for possessions in the future. He's thinking about nothing at all, and that's what you want. Bynum, time spent 'getting his Zen on' nonetheless, just isn't there yet. Though he desperately needs the reps to work through all of the issues highlighted above about making the right play at the right time, the 2012 playoffs isn't the time for that.

If one was to wonder why LBJ has failed to come through in the clutch, you'd be better served to look at his eyes than his field goal percentage. Take one look at his eyes after important plays, they're up in the crowd, they're on the monitor, they're looking at his teammates for glances of approval/disapproval. He's not in the zone. He's in his own head. Though totally unrelated to our argument, the LBJ point serves to highlight the importance of cognitive factors in pressure situations. I just sorted 82games clutch spreadsheet by FG% and a very interesting find popped out. Lebron and Dirk are sitting side by side at .386. Who would you rather take your last shot? My answer would certainly not be 'it doesn't matter'. Just look to the Finals last year.
+Patrick Smith All good points. I don't disagree with anything you said. 'Clutch' is in a certain sense an ineffable, know-it-when-you-see-it sort of attribute. That Dirk/LeBron clutch statistic you cite illustrates this perfectly. Certainly, to my thinking, Kobe has demonstrated it throughout his career as well.

That said, I still think that on this current team, Kobe has a tendency to play hero-ball more often than perhaps he should. It's understandable up to a point -- like he said about Sessions and Blake in the Denver game 4, he'd gotten them looks earlier in the game and they'd missed the shots.

But at this stage of the season, only teams that are playing well as teams with most if not all of the guys in the rotation contributing are going to make it through to the end. Kobe clearly and desperately wants another ring or two and has a rather short window in which to get them. But I don't think he will get them by being the hero. This is a Lakers team with a rather narrow range of game style in which it can compete successfully with the best teams, and it has to get contributions from players other than Kobe, even at crunchtime. Kobe is going to have to trust his teammates, even if his instincts tell him not to, if the Lakers are going to be successful.

But then, at the end of the day in the last Denver game, Kobe did the plays that set up the clinching shots for his teammates, just like he has better players like Horry and Fisher in the past. I guess that's what's important.

I just worry that if/when things don't go well, he's going to succumb to the temptation not to continue doing so. I don't think he's still a player that can put a team on his back and win a series, so I don't want this to happen.
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