Kobe sounds off on need for change post-Ferguson

Kobe Bryant on Ferguson: Until the legal system changes ‘it’s going to keep on happening’

      
 

 

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Kobe Bryant to teammate: ‘Get the f— out of my way’ (VIDEO)

The Los Angeles Lakers were tied with the Denver Nuggets, 86-86, with just 15.1 seconds remaining in Sunday’s game. The Lakers had the ball, and everyone and their mother knew who was going to take the final shot.
But Kobe Bryant wanted to make sure he and his teammates were on the same page.
In the huddle before the play, it sure looked like Bryant turned to one of his teammates—possibly Jeremy Lin—and said “Get the …

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Did Kobe Tell Teammates to Get out of the Way Before Last Shot of Regulation?

When the game is on the line, everyone on the Los Angeles Lakers not named Kobe Bryant might as well just take a seat on the bench, because the Black Mamba is going to be the one taking the shot.

That was never more clear than during Sunday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

With the game tied 86-86 with just 15.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, it appeared as though Bryant told his teammates to get out of the way and just let him do his thing.

Warning: Video may contain NSFW language.

Bryant missed the shot, but there’s no doubt that the next time the Lakers need a big shot, he’s going to be the one taking it.

The Lakers fell in overtime, 101-94.

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Kobe Bryant Poised to Be Least Valuable Scoring Champion in NBA History

Don’t make the mistake of thinking scoring is everything that matters in the NBA.

Sure, teams win by putting up more points than the opposition, but determining value on the basis of points per game alone is a recipe for disaster. Efficiency matters, as does the manner in which the points were accumulated.

There’s a process that typically leads to the ball going in the basket, after all, and it’s quite important to make sure those around you are scoring as well.

Beyond that, defense has to come into play, as it’s literally half the battle—for most good teams, at least.

A player who throws up gaudy scoring figures night in and night out can be valuable, but he doesn’t necessarily have to qualify as such. During the 2014-15 season, Kobe Bryant has essentially been the poster boy for that concept, leading the NBA in scoring but providing little value to the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, he’s poised to become the least valuable scoring champion in the history of the Association, assuming his numbers remain steady throughout the year and he doesn’t suddenly change his playing style.

He also actually has to win the scoring title for that to become a reality, as that’s by no means a guarantee.

At this stage of the season, Bryant is 0.4 points per game ahead of Anthony Davis and two clear of LeBron James and the rest of the field. But there’s been no indication that Bryant is going to slow down, so let’s run with this as a terrific example of why scoring can’t be equated with value in every situation.

Thanks to the archives of Basketball-Reference.com, we have data on scoring champions going all the way back to 1952, when Paul Arizin won the title for the Philadelphia Warriors by averaging 25.4 points per game. Since then, only a single winner of the 64 (including Bryant this year), has put up a worse player efficiency rating than the current Lakers 2-guard:

Not exactly a great start for Bryant.

Elvin Hayes is the only scoring champion with a worse score in this category, and that’s a bit misleading. Not only was the San Diego Rocket a rookie when he paced the league in points, but he also didn’t have the luxury of steals and blocks counting in his favor.

Even as a rookie, Hayes was a rim-protecting force, though that doesn’t show up in his numbers here.

The closest comparison to Bryant actually comes from “Pistol” Pete Maravich, who recklessly gunned his way to a scoring title in 1977 while playing hero ball for the sub-.500 New Orleans Jazz.

While the shooting guard still provided his team with some value and contributed in other areas, he played with the same mentality that currently drives Bryant to log so many shots.

PER is by no means a perfect stat, but it does a nice job encapsulating overall value in one number. The league-average mark is always exactly 15, and anything above 20 tends to be a great score.

When a player submits a 30-plus PER, he’s putting together one of the best seasons in NBA historyassuming he’s playing enough minutes to matter and operating in a large role.

Wilt Chamberlain’s 31.8 PER in 1963 remains the gold standard, both for scoring champions and players in general. Of the 64 seasons we’re looking at, 26.5 is the average mark throughout the recorded portion of the Association’s history.

Another way of looking at value in a single number involves using win shares. That stat shows an approximation of how many wins a player has added to his team as an individual over the course of a season.

Of course, Bryant is at a severe disadvantage here, as he hasn’t played anything close to a full campaign. To account for that, we’ll prorate his 0.1 win shares to a full 82-game season, giving him 0.6 projected win shares in 2014-15.

How does that stack up?

Yikes. That’s not good for Bryant, who is far and away the least valuable scoring champion according to win shares. And that’s true if you look at win shares per 48 minutes as well, essentially taking playing time and sheer volume out of the equation.

To put things in further perspective, the average win shares and win shares per 48 minutes for all scoring champions in NBA history are 14.87 and 0.228, respectively.

But that’s not all the data we have access to. Since 1974, we have the ability to look at box score data, which leads to offensive box plus/minus (OBPM), box plus/minus (BPM) and value over replacement player (VORP).

Basketball-Reference.com has a good explanation of these stats, though you should read on your own for more detail if you so desire:

BPM is presented intuitively, representing points per 100 possessions for which the player was on the court. For example, a player with a +4.3 BPM is said to have contributed 4.3 more points than an average player over 100 possessions, based on measurable statistical output from game box scores. The calculation makes heavy use of context dependent box score stats like USG%, TS%, STL% and others (as well as the statistical interactions between these components)…Note that there is a separate calculation for the offensive component of a player’s BPM, which yields both OBPM (Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and DBPM (Defensive Box Plus/Minus).

Further, BPM is scaled so that -2.0 represents a theoretical “replacement level” – thus, this concept is easily extended to permit calculations of one player’s value over that theoretical threshold – that formula is [BPM - (-2.0)] * (% of minutes played), which is VORP, and interpreted as per 100 team possessions.

Essentially, OBPM shows how much more value a player provided over 100 possessions on offense than a league-average contributor. BPM does the same, but for both sides of the ball.

VORP is similar to BPM, but it’s calculated against a replacement-level player—someone you could just pick up out of free agency at any point in time.

None of them make Bryant look good.

You can see that displayed in the following graph, which shows data in all three categories for any scoring champion with a bottom-10 finish. That way, we can compare the future Hall of Famer to all relevant players.

Again, that’s not good news for Bryant.

He’s the worst of the bunch in all three categories, and he’s actually the only scoring champion in NBA history with a negative BPM. That’s thanks to the awful defense he’s playing, one that has left the Lakers allowing 13.9 more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor.

To drive home the point, let’s not just look at the old days of basketball history. Instead, let’s just compare Bryant in all of the aforementioned statistics to the other players populating the top 10 in the scoring race during the 2014-15 season.

Win shares will still be prorated to account for the entire season, thus further underscoring the differences between these players’ values.

It’s still not a pretty picture for the Laker.

Only Blake Griffin has had comparable levels of limited value for the Los Angeles Clippers. The rest of the candidates blow him out of the water, though Carmelo Anthony hasn’t exactly been providing the New York Knicks with too much outside his scoring.

As for Griffin, he’s largely in a similar situation to Bryant, although there’s plenty more hope he’ll turn things around as the year progresses.

The Clippers power forward has regressed significantly in 2014-15, shooting inefficiently, failing to make much of an impact on the boards and struggling on defense during his second year under Doc Rivers.

It’s hard to compare players between positions, but the narratives are rather similar for those twoeven if Griffin’s youth indicates they’ll diverge soon enough.

Kobe’s going to get his shots, he’s going to get his attempts, and we know that,” Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw told The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) after his team beat the Lakers in overtime and Bryant went 10-of-24 from the field for 27 points. “We just wanted to make him work hard for everything that he gets, and work hard on the defensive end so that he doesn’t just have a night off at that end and can spend all of his energy just on the offensive side.”

That’s been the strategy for just about every team thus far, as the vast majority of NBA organizations realize that they aren’t going to be beaten by an oft-shooting 2-guard who isn’t providing much value in any other area of the game.

Being a prolific outside shooter in the NBA requires an almost comical amount of optimism,” Benjamin Hoffman recently wrote for The New York Times. ”A player has to accept that more than half of his shots will miss but has to retain the confidence to thrust the ball toward the rim every time he has the chance.”

Every scorer in NBA history has had to deal with thateven the ones who have done most of their damage right around the basket. But at least most of them have provided value in other areas as well.

What Bryant is doing in 2014-15 is fun. It’s thrilling to see a 36-year-old on the heels of two major injuries gunning for scoring titles and doing everything he can to carry a struggling offense.

But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s valuable.

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Kobe Bryant Tries to Be Hero, Air-Balls Deep 3 with 6 Seconds Left on Shot Clock

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has dealt with some serious injuries over the past couple of seasons, but his confidence has clearly not taken a hit.

With plenty of time left on the shot clock against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, Kobe decided to pull up for a three-pointer from 35 feet away. Not surprisingly, the shot was just a bit short.

Kobe finished with 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting as the Lakers went on to lose, 140-106, moving to 3-10 on the year.

[Uproxx]

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Kobe won’t take paycut, hints at retiring after contract ends

Kobe Bryant’s days as an NBA player might be numbered.
The Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard hinted that he wouldn’t play past his last contract — which expires after next season — when he criticized hometown discounts saying they were a “big coup” for owners.

Kobe insinuates that he won’t be playing beyond his current contract.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) November 21, 2014
“It’s the popular thing to do,” Bryant said, via ESPN.com. “The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don’t, then you get criticized for it.”
Kobe received some backlash from Lakers fans last year when he signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension, making him the NBA’s highest paid player as a 36-year-old coming off a major injury.
Bryant also was asked about Dirk Nowitzki, who took a hometown discount by signing a contract for three y

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Kobe Bryant Scoffs at Hometown Discounts as a ‘Coup’ Against Players

Kobe Bryant isn’t about to pat Dirk Nowitzki on the back.

More pointedly, Bryant won’t ever placate NBA owners by accepting a hometown discount or below-market contract.

“It’s the popular thing to do,” Bryant said of player pay cuts ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Friday night matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, per ESPNDallas.com’s Tim McMahon. “The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don’t, then you get criticized for it.”

Hometown discounts and pay cuts have become mighty popular in recent years.

The Miami Heat’s Big Three took (slight) pay cuts to join forces in 2010; Nowitzki accepted a three-year, $25 million deal to remain in Dallas, despite fielding max-contract offers from the Lakers and Houston Rockets, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein; and Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says contract-extension talks between fourth-year guard Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls broke down because the former wouldn’t acquiesce to the latter’s request for a hometown discount.

Bryant himself has also been widely criticized for the two-year, $48.5 million extension he signed with the Lakers last season. Some have painted him as selfish and greedy for not taking less so that the Lakers could enjoy more financial flexibility moving forward.

“So did I take a discount? Yeah,” Bryant said. “Did I take as big a discount as some of you fans would want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah.”

The 36-year-old has a point here. The Lakers could have still added a superstar this past summer, and they’ll have enough cap space to sign one this upcoming offseason while footing the bill for Bryant, per ShamSports.

Criticism of his deal often fails to recognize the business side of player-team relationships as well.

Owners aren’t selling teams at a discount. The NBA also signed a nine-year, $24 billion television deal with ESPN and Turner Sports. If the league isn’t selling itself short financially, why would the players?

Michele Roberts, the NBA Players Association’s executive director, has made it her mission to address player salaries since assuming her post. She firmly lands in Bryant’s camp, as someone who isn’t for capping earning potential or, for that matter, having players take discounts.

“Why don’t we have the owners play half the games?” Roberts said when arguing her case to ESPN The Magazine‘s Pablo S. Torre. ”There would be no money if not for the players.”

Besides some of the NBA’s superstars being irreplaceable from a branding standpoint, players like Bryant also have to ask themselves: What will this pay cut actually do for my team?

Like NBA writer Andrew Ungvari points out, discounted deals don’t always translate into success:

There is no guarantee a smaller contract attracts additional talent. To believe the Lakers would have landed a superstar free agent over the summer had Bryant taken less is dangerously presumptuous.

In the end, the only party promised to gain anything from player cuts is ownership. Not only do they save money, but what they do with those savings is up to them.

Complicated still, perception tends to be on their side. People aren’t congratulating Carmelo Anthony for taking a nine-figure deal from the New York Knicks; they’re wondering why he didn’t accept less to chase championships with the Bulls or Rockets.

But how many of you readers would take less money so your bosses could save a few dollars?

Exactly.

That doesn’t mean Bryant terming the concept of pay cuts a “coup” for owners is irrefutably accurate. More money is at play here than most places. At the same time, the money is relative to the field, and Bryant’s comments are a reminder that the NBA is more than a sporting entity.

It’s a business.

And because it’s a business, this will remain a problem. The players will fight for their money; the owners will contend for theirs. Fans, meanwhile, can only hope they’re not the ones forced to pay dearly for this issue—the price being a future lockout.

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Kobe Bryant dishes on trash talk with Dwight Howard

To say that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an acrimonious relationship when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates wouldn’t do justice to the rumored schism between the NBA stars. The perceived animosity that pervaded their tenure together seemed to have carried over once Howard left the team and then came to a head…Read More
The post Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’

To say that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an acrimonious relationship when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates wouldn’t do justice to the rumored schism between the NBA stars. The perceived animosity that pervaded their tenure together seemed to have carried over once Howard left the team and then came to a head…Read More
The post Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Kobe, Lakers rally past Rockets for second win in a row

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points as Los Angeles took advantage of Dwight Howard’s absence.

      
 

 

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