The Golden State Warriors are really, really good, and the Los Angeles Lakers are really, really bad.
On a night when the Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start a season 16-0, the Lakers confirmed that this is the worst roster in their franchise’s rich history.
While expectations were low coming into the season, many expected Kobe Bryant to at least mentor their young core of talent. Unfortunately for Lakers Nation, longtime superstar Kobe has dragged down the unit more than help right the ship.
Bryant has had a rough start to the season, but his struggles hit a new low in the blowout loss at Oracle Arena. Kobe scored four points on 1-for-14 shooting, and finished with a plus-minus differential of -20. Air-balls, poor defense and visible frustration summed up Kobe’s night, as the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer looks like a shell of his former self.
For as bad as Bryant has looked on the hardwood, his comments off the court are equally troubling. Never one to doubt himself, Kobe continues to double-down on the idea that he can still play at an elite level. While any game film, eye test or set of analytics would suggest otherwise, Kobe continues to blame his teammates, coaches and game-plans for their 2-12 start.
After the loss, Kobe told reporters, “I could have scored 80 tonight, [and] it wouldn’t have made a damn difference.” Based on the first 14 games, there’s a better chance of Metta World Peace scoring 80 in a game than Kobe.
And that’s what is most troubling in Laker Land – everyone is aware of Kobe’s decline… except Kobe. It is the proud, stubborn, overconfident mindset that has brought Los Angeles 5 championships in the past two decades, but one now holding back a franchise in unfamiliar territory.
Kobe isn’t genetically programmed to be the mentor to D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle that Lakers’ management envisioned. As a liability on defense and offense (for the first time in his career), the future has never been clearer.
Out of respect for his own legacy, the 2015-2016 NBA season needs to be Kobe’s last.
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