Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol: Kobe Not the Team MVP Anymore?

The simple fact is that the talent of basketball players declines over time, everyone knows that. What everyone recently had been guessing about was when that decline would happen to Kobe Bryant.

Many people thought that decline would start last season; they were wrong.

Then with his offseason surgery and a consideration of the minutes he logged during his NBA career, people started talking about this year being his decline year. Although I don’t agree that he has declined in talent, I do see a different Kobe on the basketball floor.

This Kobe isn’t trying to prove that he’s worthy of a championship. Instead it just looks like he is desperately trying to maintain his status in this league.

This offseason, the Lakers picked up major talent upgrades in Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. Then, to add the cherry on top, Shannon Brown decided to have a breakout year. These three players coming off the bench could arguably be starters for several teams in the NBA. The Lakers are this deep in the bench rotation and Andrew Bynum hasn’t even returned it.

But what surprises me is that even though the Lakers are this deep, Bryant is jacking up unnecessary shots and creating silly plays.

It’s almost as if he is playing to prove something when there is nothing to prove.

He’s managing 25.6 PPG with a shooting percentage of 43 percent—that’s two percent lower than his career average. With the exception of a few games, it’s not even like he is shooting a lot—though, there are always those exception games with Kobe.

He is averaging 20 shots a game, last year he averaged 21.5 shots per game yet. The season is still too young to look deeply into stats but they are a sign for things to come.

What Kobe obviously needs to change to be successful during this season and ultimately the rest of his career is his shot selection. He needs to realize th...

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