See, I believe that with every failure comes a lesson.
I can only hope the Lakers franchise believes the same.
With two preseason defeats under their belt, two remarkably meaningful preseason defeats, the Lakers are poised and ready for the shortened season.
That is, if they make one vital decision, a decision that has to begin with Kobe Bryant.
Bryant was unable to play in Wednesday’s loss to the LA Clippers due to a torn ligament in his wrist, which wasn’t as bad as I imagined considering we all got to see him sporting what I assume to be a Dolce & Gabbana ensemble on the Lakers bench.
But more important than that stone cold outfit was the fact that Bryant has always been considered a student of the game. And if he was living up to that reputation Wednesday, he took notice of what should be the Lakers new curriculum.
Today’s lesson: Feeding the big man.
Me admitting that the offensive focus of the team should be shifted towards the 24-year old center and away from the 33-year old legend is equivalent to David Stern admitting he just might have botched the Chris Paul trade situation.
That’s how stubborn I am when it comes to Kobe.
But it’s time to step aside, for the sake of the Lakers and for the sake of his career.
Bynum can be a force inside the key if he gets the ball.
That’s a big ‘if.’
Kobe might be the greatest scoring force the league has ever seen, but along with that accolade comes the harsh reality that scoring opportunities for his teammates don’t arrive as often as I’m sure they would prefer.
Nature of the beast.
However, Bynum has proven himself to be a different type of beast as well.
When motivated, Bynum dominates the boards and is the best offensive center in the league now that Yao Ming has retired. Some might say Dwight Howard, but that would make some completely wrong.
Howard is by far the most athletic center in the game, but does athleticism necessary denote skill?
Bynum actually has post moves. It’s not just brute strength and jumping ability.
I mean, even Shaq had moves.
The future of the franchise is with Bynum, who should not be traded for Howard. He’s younger than Howard, more competitive than Howard, and more of a natural center than Howard.
But the world won’t see that if Kobe doesn’t defer the reigns.
Does Kobe care more about the franchise or more about himself?
I will choose not to answer on the grounds that I may spew blasphemous statements in the eyes of Laker fans.
But wouldn’t it be worth it for Bryant to give it a shot?
If Bynum became the first option, followed by Pau Gasol, would the game not be easier for Bryant? Wouldn’t it be ideal for Bynum to average 22 points, which isn’t a stretch for him, Gasol to average 22, and Kobe to average…22?
If Bryant would relieve himself of the pressure to be “Kobe” and allowed his big guys to do a lot of the work for him, his career would be elongated and he would have the opportunity to lay claim to all of the records he so desperately and secretly pines to own.
It pains me to say this, but the Kobe I used to know never got hurt. The fact that he has had injury after injury after injury for the past few seasons shows me that this is not vintage Kobe.
This is a king that needs to crown a successor.
What I have seen from Bynum, especially Wednesday night, is a guy that feens to be a superstar. I saw a guy that dominated another young, athletic center in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.
I saw a baller.
I hope Kobe’s sideline seat allowed him to see the same.
He’d do us all a favor by taking notes.