Brandon Bass Knows How to Impress the Mamba: ‘Arguably the Best’

Despite diminished skills and advancing age, Kobe Bryant remains the most important figure in the Los Angeles Lakers organization.

And Brandon Bass knows it.

The Lakers' new power forward buttered up his de facto boss with some kind (and altogether ridiculous) praise in comments to Terrance Harris of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

We have arguably the best player in the game still. When (Bryant) is healthy he is a monster still. If he is healthy he's right up there with the best players in the league, that's LeBron or whoever the best players in the league are. When Kobe is healthy, 19 years in the game he is still elite.

If this is an attempt to get on Bryant's good side, it's excusable. Bryant got into his teammates plenty last year, taking digs at Jeremy Lin in practice and berating his entire team (and general manager) in a well-publicized tirade (NSFW time, kids):

Anybody would want to avoid that, so maybe Bass deserves a little slack.

If he genuinely believes Bryant is arguably the best player in the league, well...he's not in for a very long argument.

In 35 games last year, Bryant attempted an average of 20.4 shots per contest and posted an effective field-goal percentage of 41.1 percent. According to, he has the lowest efficiency paired with that much volume of any player during the past 40 years (though Allen Iverson comes awfully close).

Bryant's not making up for historically poor shooting on the defensive end, either. When guarded by Bryant last year, opponents shot the ball more accurately than their normal averages from every area of the floor.

Substandard defense is not new for Bryant. Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote an open letter begging No. 24 to put forth a little effort on D over two years ago:

Bryant, as the whole Internet (including this corner of it) ...

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