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Layups: Simmons on the Lakers

Posted by Neil Paine on June 16, 2009

Apropos of our little Kobe debate in the comments of another post, ESPN.com's own Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, has written a piece that I think perfectly sums up my feelings on Kobe, the Lakers, and the entire experience that the media gave us in these playoffs (especially during the Finals):

"Announcers and studio guys speak in sound bites. They have to be ready to say something interesting as soon as the host looks at them and says, 'What do you think?' For instance, Jon Barry told us after Sunday night's game that Kobe is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that any of us will ever see.

Ever?

I haven't even turned 40 years old. I have half my life left, if not more. You're telling me I won't see another hyper-competitive, super-athletic 2-guard average 30-plus a game and win an NBA title? (Hell, I just saw it three years ago with Dwyane Wade -- a performance that, by the way, surpassed Kobe's effort this month.) I found the constant stream of Kobe-related hyperbole to be a little off-putting; it was like hearing a buddy self-consciously mention how cool his girlfriend was so many times that it made you wonder, 'Wait, is something going on here? It's almost like he's trying to convince himself every time he brings it up.' (emphasis mine)

For two solid months, my readers kept asking why the media played up tired Kobe-related storylines at the expense of anything else that might have been interesting. (By the Finals, even a two-minute 'Check out Adam Morrison on the Lakers bench, what an insane fall for the No. 3 pick of the 2006 draft, this has to be bittersweet' discussion would have been better than hearing how NOBODY UNDERSTANDS HOW GREAT KOBE BRYANT IS for the 350th time.) The simple answer is that the networks gravitate toward angles they think casual viewers like my mom or your 82-year-old uncle want to hear. The complicated answer is that you can't explain all the reasons why the 2009 Lakers were better than the 2008 Lakers in one sentence. Fortunately, that's why I'm here.

They had the second-best player in the league (Kobe), the second-best center (Pau Gasol), a talented forward with a unique set of skills (Lamar Odom), a breakout swingman (Trevor Ariza), a terrific leader and character guy at point (Derek Fisher), and that's about it. They caught three breaks from February on -- Kevin Garnett's knee injury killing Boston's season, Cleveland stupidly opting not to move Wally Szczerbiak's expiring contract for one more piece, and Yao Ming breaking his foot in Round 2 -- and cruised from there. You would not call them great, just very good. I would compare them to the 2003 Spurs, 2005 Spurs or 2006 Heat -- the cream of a flawed crop of contenders.

Did they deserve to win the title? Of course. But they didn't win because Kobe 'really wanted this' and 'trusted his teammates' and 'finally figured it out' and all that revisionist crap."

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46 Responses to “Layups: Simmons on the Lakers”

  1. TRad Says:

    Neil, with all due respect. If you want to make an argument which could convince Lakers fans - don't use Simmons writings. Just don't.

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    I'm not specifically aiming my posts at Lakers fans any more than fans of the league's other 29 teams. I just think Simmons did a good job expressing the exact same feelings I had as I watched Game 5 of the Finals, and I thought it was worthy of a link, especially in light of our little debate in the other thread.

  3. Lawrence Says:

    Thanks for this link Neil. Simmons is one of the best writers on ESPN, knowledgeable, informed, and accurate. Good stuff.

  4. Ryan Says:

    It's a good thing we don't ever hear Lebron getting overhyped by the media. Whatever happened to Daniel Gibson? You know that undersized rookie that Lebron turned into an elite player in the playoffs a couple of years ago. It must be hard to write stories about Lebron's magical ability to make his teammates better when they shoot sub .400 from the field nowadays.

  5. Lawrence Says:

    Ryan, LBJ is overhyped by the media, same as Kobe.

  6. Jordan Says:

    Neil,

    The fact that you are a "Stats" guy and you are using Bill freaking Simmons to emote your feelings about Kobe Bryant, just shows you don't have a clue about what you're talking about. Simmons HATES stats. The only reason the two of you are in agreement is that you both hate or dislike Kobe

    Lawrence, Simmons is a gifted writer, I'll give you that. But he's like the Lil Wayne of sports writers. He puts together a lot of clever and witty things to say and mixes genres of ideas together into one entertaining melting pot of fun, but at the end of it all, he's really just vomiting up pop culture and his own biased opinions under the guise of sports journalism. Nothing solid or concrete anywhere to be found. I mean, really read that article of his. What does he say? He starts off talking about Kobe not changing, but then says that he has ascended to the level of the other basketball gods. Huh?

    I mean, there's no way he can watch every episode of the Wire along with Temptation Island and every other show he somehow alludes to in every one of his columns, write a freaking book and still watch every Boston Celtics game along with all the other major basketball games, let alone Red Sox games (during the NBA season), all while having small children and a wife to keep happy.

    News flash. Bill Simmons makes ish up. He's good at it. But a lot of it is make-believe or half truths. He'll see a game and based on that game, his emotional state at the time and his own hazy recollections, he'll make grand sweeping, all-encompassing "definitive" statements.

    He says, "Kobe always wanted people to feel that way about him..."

    Yeah, as if, from his Lazy-E boy, he can tell what Kobe is thinking.

    Ha, Simmons hasn't even ever met Kobe. And he's got season tix to the Clippers and lives in Los Angeles, and works for ESPN.

  7. Neil Paine Says:

    So lemme get this straight, you're saying that it's impossible for a stats guy and someone who hates stats (which Simmons doesn't, FYI -- he even spoke at the MIT conference on statistics in sports) to have the same feelings on any topic? That seems... well, like a really ignorant statement to make.

  8. Jordan Says:

    And for the record, read something other than ESPN and you'll discover that every story Simmons thinks should have been written, HAS been already. Except for the dumb Bulls angle, which, rightfully is a non-issue. Last year the Lakers were the greatest team ever because the C's beat them. This year? They're just meh. And they just faced "meh" competition. All cuz Simmons says.

    Here:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke-lakers15-2009jun15,0,5776479.column

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/06/ted-green-lakers-respond-to-all-of-their-critics.html

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bryant-ariza-gasol-2464110-lakers-jackson

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=At870t99apQUdcogXDPK4E68vLYF?slug=aw-phil061509&prov=yhoo&type=lgn

    Here's a bunch of others if you're interested.

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2009/06/lakers-nba-title.html#more

  9. Jordan Says:

    No, what I'm saying is that Simmons is the most biased anti-Kobe, Laker-hating writer alive that people actually read. He's a Boston Celtics fan for chrissakes. For a stats guy who is trying to make a case via stats, to use Simmons to "Perfectly sum up his feelings on Kobe, the Lakers and the entire experience that the media gave us in these playoffs (especially during the Finals)" that my friend is no way to win an argument.

    THAT'S ignorance.

  10. Jordan Says:

    P.S. Simmons most certainly does hate "advanced stats". He went to that conference to play devil's advocate. If you don't know about Simmons beef with Hollinger or even Daryl Morey to a certain degree, then again, you need to be informed. Simmons thinks stats today are too limited, even the "advanced" ones. He made up a whole bunch of stats he'd like to see including something he termed "the nitty gritties" or hustle stats.

  11. Ryan Says:

    You can have an opinion and it might even be valid, but to cite Bill Simmons is akin to citing Karl Rove's opinion of Barack Obama. Simmons has zero credibility when it comes to Kobe Bryant.

  12. Neil Paine Says:

    Dude, who's still arguing? I already made my case via stats in the other thread, and it was open and shut, the argument's over... This link was funny to me because I read it and it basically mirrored the exact feelings that I expressed yesterday.

  13. Neil Paine Says:

    There's no beef between BS and either of those guys, it's all in good fun. Simmons is not a "true believer" yet, but he has said that's only because of the limitations of the current numbers (the numbers he's aware of, that is -- I don't think he has even heard of some of the most advanced stats out there). He's a smart guy, and he's not anti-stats on baseball, so there's no reason to think he won't eventually come around in basketball as well when the time is right.

  14. Jordan Says:

    Beef was too strong a word. But, yeah, he doesn't believe in them yet. And baseball stats is a totally different thing. Baseball can be sufficiently quantified, if not exactly, through the use of numbers. It's a methodical game. Basketball is nothing like baseball and that's why I love it so much.

  15. Roger(LA) Says:

    Firstly, being a Laker fan since '75, and having an ear for Kobe since '95, I can say what LA won't. "Hate Kobe the person but also hate to play against him." Hate him for his sexual stupidity and being blind to the TEAM concept when we had Shaq.(Still hurts man)Love his Ball History. A highschooler picked 13th that has played in over 300 more games than Jordan.(Rings aside, we're talkin' ironman here. As a hyperactive guard that slashes to the hole a whole lot) Love the longevity he brings. Love/Hate that he has learned to finally start playing with the wit of Mike after 13 years. Most importantly, Love that Boston thinks they can compare. We have the same team from last year minus 1. They are still rebuilding the bench. Moore & Marbury?!? Really?!? Cut the crap Paine. LA is sooo tired of listening to the crying by the rest of the league. Unfair this, Gasol helped them that. Speak on what McHale did for Boston with KG. We prayed for a Boston rematch just so they could see how it feels to not have your starting center and wingman healthy. No Bynum or Ariza last year, forgot? Celt's showed that they are nothing without PJ Brown & Posey. I think Orlando showed us that. Keep waiting on another ring Boston, LeBron showed how quickly fatigue sets in when you're the go to guy. No bench means no Finals, Boston.

  16. Boss Says:

    Simmons also said....

    I'm all for appreciating Kobe's greatness; it's just that my colleagues sold the wrong angle. Since he squashed the Chicago deal, Kobe has won MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP awards; he played in two straight Finals and won a title; he starred on an Olympic gold medal team, took over as its alpha dog down the stretch and handled business in what was shaping up to be Spain's version of the 1980 USA-USSR hockey game; and most amazingly, he played in the maximum 164 regular-season games and 44 playoff games without getting a summer break because of the Olympics. And he did it despite turning 30 in August 2008 and passing the usually dangerous 1,000-game mark last season.

    You know what? We just witnessed one of the great two-year stretches in the history of professional basketball if the determining factors were durability, consistency, individual success, team success, statistical excellence and degree of difficulty.

  17. Boss Says:

    But, you can't possibly take anything says about Kobe, the Lakers, or the Yankees seriously. Don't try it because you'll make a fool out of yourself in the process unless you are a true fan of Boston sports.

  18. Gerrit Says:

    Neil,

    Any chance to get some Statistical +/- scores for the finals?

    On the topic of Simmons, in the article he implies that with a healthy Garnett the Celtics would have won. Does SPM agree with this?
    What about this year's Lakers against last year's Celtics? Which team does SPM favor?

    Gerrit

  19. Matt Says:

    Jordan #10: I'm not sure that Simmons has a true "beef" with Hollinger, but Daryl Morey is one of Bill's friends... and sure he played "devil's advocate" or whatever, but by what he's written, I think he seems very interested in "advanced stats". Anyways...

    Being a Laker fan, I don't always agree with Simmons (obviously) but I do enjoy his stuff. However, this article is weird in some ways, and I feel like Bill contradicts himself. For instance, in the excerpt you posted, Bill says that D-Wade's performance in 2006 was better than Kobe's, for your information. But Simmons has been using Wade's 20+ FT per game Finals as fodder for humor ever since he won the title. "Ladies and gentlemen, your Miami Salvatores!"
    Then, at the end of the article, he says that Kobe just completed one of the greatest two-year stretches in NBA history ever. What's going on?

  20. steve norris Says:

    to neil, for you to be all about the stats you have kobe ranked #10 in HOF probability. he is 30 years old. you look at player efficency while most people look at the real stat: WINS and LOSSES. you have to put personal feelings aside when speaking about someones craft. it just seems to me kobe will never get the love that he deserves. if they lost the finals we would say he couldnt do it. only mj has accomplished more at his position. nuff said.

  21. Ryan Says:

    Checkmate

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2009/06/16/deconstructing-kobe/#comments

  22. Mike G Says:

    If Simmons said this -
    "...They had the second-best player in the league (Kobe), the second-best center (Pau Gasol), ..."
    - he must love Kobe and the Lakers.

    I didn't know Kobe was better than Wade, or Paul; or that Gasol was better than Yao.

  23. Tsunami Says:

    @ #16 (Boss)

    Yeah Simmons definitely contradicted himself. If you read his game 5 diary he had this to say:

    "1:02: Kobe clangs another horrendous shot (a contested 28-foot 3-pointer). Orlando gets the rebound. Quick recap of Kobe's fourth quarter, because he's going to win the Finals MVP and it can't be forgotten how bad he was from the second half of Game 3 (3-for-14) through the one-minute mark of Game 4 (9-for-26 to this point): Turnover; contested jumper (make); contested jumper (miss); contested drive (miss); contested jumper (make); contested drive (blocked), wide-open 3 (miss); contested drive (bad pass, recovered by L.A.); contested drive (draws blocking foul); contested 3 (miss).

    We saw him do it in the 2004 and 2008 Finals; we're seeing it now. As soon as he can smell that trophy, he goes into Get Out of My Way, Let Me Do It Mode.

    2004 Finals (five games): 113 FGA, 25 FTA, 38.0 FG percent
    2008 Finals (six games): 131 FGA, 49 FTA, 40.5 FG percent
    2009 Finals (four games): 112 FGA, 36 FTA, 42.9 FG percent

    What's really strange: Nobody has ever won an NBA title with a best player in Get Out Of My Way, Let Me Do It Mode if he didn't play well. It's just never happened. So basically, I don't know what to make of the 2009 Finals. It has nothing in common with anything that has ever happened before. My theory: because of the economy, nobody improved their team at the trading deadline and strengthened whatever holes they had, so we just ended up with a bunch of flawed contenders. Just one of those years."

    He's definitely not a fan of all the force-fed "Kobe is the ultimate team player" crap that LA fans and certain media types try to make us eat. But he also respects Kobe's abilities.

    It almost seems like he started writing this piece, much like Neil, and then started regretting it soon after - because he saw all the "you're just a kobe-hater" or "you're just a sore-loser" emails he was going to get. So he figured he'd point out what it is that makes Kobe great (consistency and durability) and add all this hyperbole to it about how it's the greatest thing we've seen in sports if viewed from that angle.

    And you're right, I don't understand the D-Wade stuff. He has led the charge against D-Wade's finals performance on the fact that he was helped so much by officials - and now he wants to say that D-Wade has had a much more jordan-esque finals than Kobe (which is true)

  24. Paul Verrin Says:

    @ # 20 (steve norris)

    your third to last sentence makes an excellent point. before the finals people were selling the idea that this finals would prove if kobe could win the big one as the best player on his team. Now this seemed silly to me. I dont know if kobe has ever been the best player in the league in any given year, but he has been top 5 for like the last 6 years. Are we really not sure that a guy like that could be the best player on a championship team? We really need it to happen to answer that question? Of course he could win one. The only real questions are How good does the rest of his team have to be? and What kinds of skills must they have?

    As to your WINS and LOSSES comment, you are basically saying that kobe's value as a player is in a very large part contingent on Lakers getting gasol for nothing, ariza exploding in the playoffs and odom's improved health this year. this outlook is foolish and since it actually undermines arguments as to the quality of kobe the individual player, I naturally dont like it.

  25. steve norris Says:

    to paul maybe so but thats the way it is. in pro sports you are measured by how good you are and then its how many times you get a ring. sad but true. if jordan wins no rings how do we look at him then. he would be in that karl malone,chuck, nique, and ewing room. just seems that wins and losses end arguments. i know wilt is better than russell but russ has the rings so what can you say? if kobe lost this year we would say it was his fault so i say give him credit when he deserves it. theres only one hall of famer on the 09 lakers and thats bryant. not two jordan/pipp or three showtime/big three twice or four or six like russell celtics. i say bryant got it done and i know,. eating crow is tough. i still hear people gripe cause kobe won. a basketball god is among us. only duncan and shaq won more in his era. to bryants credit jordan never played aginst a team that won 68 games in a season in the finals. boston was a great team last season, a all time great team. twenty years from now that team will be mentioned with this la team cause of that game 6. but i feel what you are saying. im just giving the realness of it

  26. Raj Says:

    steve, paul's right. the wins and losses angle is the same one that winds up with people saying bob horry belongs in the hall of fame (and to take your claim to its furthest extension, that horry is the best player not on the 60s celtics). basketball is a team with 5 guys on the court who all have to contribute for a team to win consistently. russell won 11 rings in part because he was great but also because he played with 3-4 HOFers at the same time. same goes for jordan with pippen, bird with mchale and parish, magic and kareem, etc.

  27. Paul Verrin Says:

    what does "eating crow" mean?

  28. Anon Says:

    @ Steve Norris

    Bryant gets full credit for his play this season, and no one is disputing that. But it seems like you're suggesting he did it by himself or with little help, which is false. You don't have to win championships with Hall-of-Famers around you necessarily, if the REST OF THE TEAM is still loaded with talent (which the '09 Lakers definitely were) you can get the job done. I personally find the notion ranking of players by rings a bit off-putting. People need to remember that basketball is above all a TEAM sport, and the NBA has had some truly great players in history play at a championship-caliber level but not win any titles because they simply did not get enough support from their surrounding cast. I think that this skewed public perception of "ring count" is a problem that basketball has moreso than any other sport, and it needs to be addressed.

    @ Paul Verrin

    "I dont know if kobe has ever been the best player in the league in any given year, but he has been top 5 for like the last 6 years. Are we really not sure that a guy like that could be the best player on a championship team?"

    Terrific point.

  29. Paul Verrin Says:

    @ steve norris

    if it were a commonly held belief that drinking a quart of salt water every day has the effect of doubling your net income, it would be true that people believe it (i.e. it would have "realness" as you say) but it would still be unbelievably idiotic. your argument is like this, except for the fact that you admit it is flawed and still hold it anyways, because for now it synchs up with what you want to believe.

    oh, and I just looked up "eating crow." do you even read what people say or are you in fact a robot? look at the last sentence of #24. does that look like the utterance of a person who does not like kobe? I am legitimately happy the lakers won the title, and after chris paul kobe is my favorite player to watch. I think I should be allowed to hold this view while also maintaining that kobe is better than drexler or wilkins, but he is closer to those guys than he is to MJ. I think I should be allowed to revere kobe while also saying he is not one of the 3 best players in the world now. I think I should be allowed to love watching kobe play even while saying he has never really shown he can dominate ALL aspects of the game, efficiently, for a full season. I am pretty weary of people telling others that they hate a player or a person because the crown they put on that players head is a little smaller than the one you choose to.

  30. Caleb Says:

    "you look at player efficency while most people look at the real stat: WINS and LOSSES."

    Since Basketball is a TEAM sport... team wins and losses is perhaps the WORST possible way to judge and individual player.

  31. Caleb Says:

    And I have to say that its ridiculous that Neil's post got so many people riled up. Summing ut up, all he said was "Kobe is a great player, but his greatness is overstated by those who presented the finals to us." What's wrong/offensive about this? Nothing.

  32. steven c Says:

    ryan (post 21), points to a lengthy piece on forum blue and gold (i know, a lakers site!)
    which demolishes simmonds' arguments, and therefore the arguments above. let's add a couple of points
    1. we are obsessed with rankings, however inappropriate. comparing mj's whole career to kb's, unfinished is relatively pointless. comparing kb's career to lbj's even more so. i'm a laker fan and if you asked me would take lbj in a straight swap right now...because he's a lot younger!
    let's merely add that all kb's teammates in beijing seemed to have picked something up from him and seemed to appreciate his assistance! strange for someone so unlikeable, isn't it?
    a random point, that really has nothing to do with this discussion. ya think kobe's looking forward to a little rest after the last two seasons? 100+ games in 07-08 (excluding preseason) then training for and playing in the olympics, then preseason and another 100+ games! likewise to the other olympians who went deep into the playoffs.

  33. Caleb Says:

    "theres only one hall of famer on the 09 lakers and thats bryant"

    Hmm.. I wouldn't be so quick to say that. Gasol still has a lot of career left and at the end of it we may very well be considering it a Hall of Fame career. Maybe not, but just something to keep in mind. And don't forget Gasol's international credentials... not sure how much the Hall takes that into account but Gasol is a world championship MVP.

    Sorry for not condensing all my comments into a single post.

  34. AhmedF Says:

    Gasol is definitely on path to the HOF - sorry, his post-play (considering how few touches he gets) + his underrated defense have been fantastic.

  35. KC Says:

    Ok here's the deal from one Laker fan who just got back from the parade -

    The Sports Guy gets a pass on his articles because everyone knows where he stands when it comes to his sports teams. I expect him to hate the Lakers. I hate the Celtics. That's just how it is; we are enemies in the sports world. I read his articles all the time but I know, he knows, and everyone who reads his articles knows where he stands on Kobe and the Lakers. And I understand because he is from Boston. I feel the same way about the Celtics.

    I had to read between the lines in Simmon's articles (a talent similar to him reading Kobe's scowl) to conclude that he was giving his respect to Kobe and the Lakers.

    But everyone should understand that Simmon's is the only ESPN writer who gets this pass. He gets it because of the above mentioned reasons and because he does write so emotionally that its obvious where he's coming from. A lot of other writers on there (HOLLINGER) really try to hide their angle and take veiled shots at certain players and organizations. They definitely do not get the pass (look at the comments fill up a hollinger article).

    Neil, I like you, thanks for responding to us trolls. Ultimately though, it's our day in the sun and our summer to enjoy this championship.

    Final Note -

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2009/06/16/deconstructing-kobe/#comments

    I love LA

  36. KC Says:

    By the way I'm looking forward to a lot of BBR this summer...

    Neil -

    I'm glad you can write what you want about Kobe and the Lakers and about the NBA in general. It's good to get the discussion going - it gives me and my buddies something to talk about at the bar (some of my buddies are not kobe fans like me). Your use of statistics is good; your articles are good and your insight is good. It's much better than a lot of trash out there (i'm sooooooooooo tired of reading fanhouse and BDL)

    If you haven't noticed Laker fans are crazy. Like Really Crazy. I get kicked out of bars and establishments all the time when the Laker's win or lose. Don't take it personally Neil, we still like you, but you have to understand - when someone puts down your crazy uncle or family you stand up for them and yell back. The Laker's franchise, team and fans are our family - even the crazy ones. I love the crazy one's because I am a crazy one.

    We are not deranged, delusional or irrational. We are passionate, emotional and loyal. Laker nation is a big, welcoming, diverse and fierce crowd with more tradition than the Royal Family of Britain. Purple and Gold runs through generations in this city and lifts up the community in an inspirational way.

    In this economy could you ever find another city wherein a collection of private citizens puts 2 MILLION DOLLARS together in a day to fund a 4 hour celebration for everyone? It's a beautiful thing really, a beautiful celebration for this beautiful city of angels.

  37. Gils_Keloids Says:

    "# Lawrence Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for this link Neil. Simmons is one of the best writers on ESPN, knowledgeable, informed, and accurate. Good stuff."

    Best Writer on ESPN? Check.

    Knowledgeable? Sure.

    Informed? Why not.

    Accurate? Errrr. Not quite. Just see Forum Blue and Gold's latest listing of the times Simmon's has been dead wrong (which he usually brushes off with "the lesson as always ... I'm an idiot).

    Simmons writing is for entertainment purposes only!

  38. Lawrence Says:

    Hey, not sure why my post got deleted. But Gils, every writer who expresses OPINIONS can be wrong, Simmons is not exactly unique there. He is undoubtedly a basketball expert when it comes to the history of the game and statistics. He hit the nail right on the head in this latest article as far as I'm concerned. Obviously lakers fans will not like it, but that's irrelevant, since they are inherently biased.

  39. Roland Says:

    Neil, it would be very interesting if we could get PER, Ortg, Drtg, etc. for Kobe and Jordan in the finals.

  40. steve norris Says:

    i know kobe didnt do it by himself but last year i guess he lost it by himself right? everyone knows horry is a role player.if gasol is a HOFer than the a-train should have steam rolled in already. i love you guys!

  41. Walter Says:

    We still don't have any comments from Neil with regards to the Forum Blue and Gold article which completely owns any of Simmons B.S. (that is what he calls his 'report' after all).

  42. Paul Verrin Says:

    That forum article was really good. I am still amazed sometimes at how much better bloggers can be than sports writers. Just a well written, thoughtful piece. I was glad to see its stout defense of kobe's personality and his relationship with his teammates, which takes way too much flack from people (not just simmons).
    However, the Lebron part was just fatuous. Its like the guy did not even consider any other possibilities, which, you know, is sort of important when you make an argument. 1) Kobe does have a more diverse arsenal than lebron, but kobe didnt seem to post up enough to appreciably change the offensive efficiency of the lakers. his 3pt shooting was good, but not otherworldly, and orlando played kobe as closely as they played lebron, so I dont really see how one player opened things up more than the other. Sometimes its really simple: the lakers made open shots, cleveland did not.
    2) Pau Gasol. If you are looking for a laker who really opened things up, this is your man. Amazing playoffs. It seemed like every time he touched the ball something good happened. Maybe by their third championship the media will realize just how good he is.
    3) The Cavs actually scored enough to win, but their defense--especially at the 4 and 5-- was horrendous. This is really why they lost, and they should have been killed, its just lebron was so amazing it seemed like they were in it. They werent.

  43. Ty Says:

    The basketball blogosphere seems to be purposely not acknowledging that FBG post. It took Abbott a day to finally link to it. It's a shame really, because it's one of the best blog entries I've read. Simmons' article is crap because challenges the media's fawning over Kobe with his absurd and perverted observations and assumptions. The Celtic collective's M.O. is to discredit anything the Lakers/Kobe do. See Paul Piece's tweet. I may be wrong, but I don't remember journalists/bloggers who cover the Lakers discrediting the Celtics last year. Just the ESPN/RealGM/etc trolls, which Simmons is really just a glorified version of.

  44. AhmedF Says:

    Blamed Kobe for last year? If anything, Gasol and Odom got the most heat for disappearing last year.

    I have no clue what you are talking about Steve.

  45. Roland Says:

    #41 Roland, hah, no the Forum Blue and Gold joke of an article did not own anything. It cherry picked stats and contradicted itself multiple times. It was good for a laugh, but nothing else.

  46. Lawrence Says:

    Let us remember that Kobe's career average finals FG%, of 41.5% is equal to Jordan's WORST finals FG% in any one finals--96 sonics.
    Worst Jordan = Average Kobe.