Is there a more selfish player in the NBA than Kobe Bryant? I recently wrote that I believe that Kobe would rather lose in these playoffs than allow Pau Gasol to walk away with the glory of leading the Lakers. Watching last night’s game simply confirmed that for me. Just look at last night’s stat line: Kobe 10-29 for 24 points; Gasol 7-12 for 17 points. Who should have the ball in their hands for the Lakers? Who should be shooting the most shots? Kobe’s selfishness and greed for glory is a sickening spectacle, playing alongside a player of Gasol’s greatness.
A great deal of the fault for this lies with Big Chief Triangle, who is one of the worst game coaches in the NBA. First, because by never calling the Lakers’ plays he facilitates Kobe’s dysfunction.
But also, because by never calling the plays he is facilitating his own dysfunction. The Lakers have in their arsenal one of the most potent plays in the league, a play that is all but completely unstoppable. It is pick and roll with Kobe and Gasol. This play worked with almost 100% efficiency against the Boston Celtics in the Lakers’ blown championship series. It has worked with almost 100% efficiency against the Thunder. And why shouldn’t it work? Both players are completely dominant, as adept at ball-handling and passing as they are at finishing. Both players would score in the thirties if this were the featured play of the Lakers.
And yet the Lakers virtually never run it. Why?
Because if they did, Phil Jackson would no longer be Big Chief Triangle.