Kobe Bryant’s Embrace of Distributor Role Will Prolong Career

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks clearly never met Kobe Bryant.

Throughout his illustrious career, Bryant has been known as an elite scorer. He’s never been shy with his willingness to shoot, and his points-per-game average has always been among the best that the NBA has to offer.

But as the 2012-13 season has progressed, we’ve seen the 34-year-old establish himself as a true facilitator for the first time in his career. It has added a new dynamic to his impressive playmaking ability, and it’s given his fans hope that he can adjust his role as his playing days continue.

How long Bryant sticks to this newfound mentality has yet to be determined, but if he can maintain his responsibility as a passer, it will extend his career, as his body will take less of a physical toll along the way to retirement.


On the Court

Bryant has been more banged-up throughout his career than he would ever let on. He constantly has some sort of nagging injury, yet you’d never know it by the way he produces on the court night in and night out.

Still, anybody who takes on the kind of scoring role he has becomes a target for defenses, and as he loses his athleticism, his body will become more susceptible to injury.  

There’s no denying that attacking the paint and drawing double-teams fatigues even the league’s best players. When Bryant is looking to pass, he relies far less on his physical tools and turns to the basketball IQ that he has embedded in his genes.

We all know that the Lakers play better as a team when Bryant is facilitating. ESPN made that clear when it released this stat on Feb. 5 (via Twitter):

Since then, the Lakers have played two games; the team lost in blowout fashion when he recorded zero assists against the Boston Celtics, and they beat the Charlotte Bobcats when he recorded eight.

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