warriorsstepup wrote:Maybe Vegi wrote:In the regular season, I suppose you could argue the drop off wouldn't be that significant. In the regular season...
Yet, the playoffs are a completely different conversation. And that's really the only manner in which it matters discussing Kobe's importance. Kobe is perhaps the most battle-tested playoff performer in the NBA. He is absolutely the most fearless...the truest of assassins. He scares the hell out of other teams...so much so that just his very presence changes the outcomes of close games. When all the focus goes to stopping Bryant, it creates opportunties for everyone else (hello, Derek Fisher, Legend of the Clutch). Yet, it's his manic obsession to win...an intangible quality to be sure, but not something easily replaced. Take him off that team....replace him with Monta.....who is the leader on that roster that is going to refuse to accept defeat? It's not Gasol, not Odom, not Artest, not Bynum.
Monta is talented as all get out, but he's got but two playoff series under his belt, and he definitely didn't acquit himself too well in either. And yes, I know that was a while ago. But he hasn't demonstrated anything since then in the regular season to show that he can be counted on to be that one who takes the team on his back and shows them the way. While Kobe can absolutely be selfish to a fault, you can't argue that when he is on, he can destroy a team all by himself. That's why players like him are worth their weight in gold, and why they (and their teammates) are usually wearing rings on their fingers at the end of the season.
EDIT: let me explain it another way. if you put Monta on the Lakers, Pau Gasol is still their best player. when Pau Gasol is your best player, you are never going to win a title. No knock on Gasol, he's a VERY GOOD player....but that's just the way it is. Sure wish the Dubs had him, though...
I agree with your assessment of Kobe as being an assassin, a battle tested vet who opens the floor for the rest of his team-mates, an elite player with only Lebron accompanying at the top.
But Kobe had threatened to leave by demanding a trade from the Lakers in 2007. After Shaq was traded to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler Brain Grant and a first rounder, the year after Lakers missed the play-offs, and eliminated in the first rounds the 2 following seasons, while Shaq goes and wins a championship with Wade and the Heat.
Kobe had threatened to be traded because he felt the Lakers were trying to rebuild and he was not having none of that, the results missing the playoffs and the getting eliminated from them really put a hurt on his ego.
So while Kobe is infact top 3 players easily it proved he could not carry the load and carry his team without proper help.
well nobody is arguing that Kobe can win a title all by himself. he can't. nobody can. same goes for the rest of the game's greats: if you surround them with the right pieces (good talent alone isn't enough), they can do it. you brought up Wade and the Heat: with a decent Shaq, they won a championship. since then, they've been mediocre at best. when your supporting cast is good enough, then you provide the platform for players like Wade, Kobe, and a very select few to do what they do best: take their games to a higher level, on the biggest of stages, when it matters most.
besides, i think the question here is essentially, could the Lakers be contenders for the title with Monta Ellis instead Kobe Bryant. i don't think there is a single player, coach or GM in the league who would honestly say yes.