As with any Kobe topic on PSD, I believe talking about gun control or abortion rights would be less volatile. So here are my caveats:
- I have a balanced view of Kobe, & admire him as a generational awesome Laker.
- Ive loved the Lakers for over 25 years.
- I love basketball & am kinda smart about it.
Lets just get it out there:
The question for me isnt "are the Lakers a better team without Kobe", its more "are the Lakers players better without Kobe".
A subtle but important difference there, especially since we have so much talent within the starters.
Ive believed for a long time that Kobe is like the overly demanding boss at work. He tells you what to do, often before you get a chance to do it. That often deflates people & they feel dominated. The opposite of that, it setting aggressive goals & pushing people, but letting THEM figure out HOW to get there. Let them OWN that part of it & figure it out & encourage the hell out of them while holding a stern/hard goal.
But you cant really stand up to him. He IS the best. He DOES work the hardest. He has insane tradeoffs you'd never make, ie: staying at the office to 8PM each night while also having a family. So what can you do? You find a role under him & toe the line & push for the best outcome.
He is so good that you dont leave work, because you get used to it & nothing beats winning in a great company. It covers a lot of other sins & things could always be worse.
But you never really know what your leadership / potential is because you are always being told what to do, & not being forced to really figure that part out for yourself. You are getting both a quarterly plan, an annual plan & daily deliverables put upon you.
Pau is certainly not the type to thrive in that environment.
Dwight & Nash neither.
Frankly no one does well with that.
So: theres like 5years of anger & resentment in a lot of these guys & a lot of wanting to prove themselves sans Kobe.
Thats why I think we actually have a chance.
Anyone can have the grudge, but we also have the proven talent behind it.