L.A. Lakers Still Need to Be Kobe Bryant’s Team, Not a Collection of Equals

Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers. The rest of the team, superstars included, are his minions.

Or at least, that's the motif this household-name party in Hollywood must assume from now on.

To answer your question, I'm not kidding. I'm as serious as the death stare Kobe himself gave Mike Brown less than two months ago.

Dwight Howard commands a lot of attention, Pau Gasol is back and Steve Nash is about to follow, but the Lakers aren't a convocation of equals. Not as long as Bryant is donning purple and gold.

I won't go as far to compare Los Angeles' offensive regime to a dictatorship. It's just the opposite actually. Mike D'Antoni's uptempo system is democratic, predicated on selfless ball-movment and a green light to hoist up any shot you deem a good one.

But for the sake of this team, the Lakers must exercise their democratic right and elect to put the ball in Bryant's hands. Because that's how they're going to win.

I'm not saying we must disregard the gravity of Nash's return, because we shouldn't. He stands to transform this team into the powerhouse it was supposed to be—by riding the coattails of Bryant.

Kobe is the lone member of the Lakers who is having a career year. He's averaging 29.5 points per game, four points above his career-mark, and is shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from three, both career-highs.

That's nothing short of incredible. It's also nothing short of the reason why the Lakers are riding a tumultuous three-game winning streak.

Don't pay attention to Los Angeles' 4-11 record when Bryant scores 30-plus points. Chastising him for scoring within that stretch doesn't make much sense, because he was and remains the only consistent scorer this team has.

And the Lakers shouldn't shy away from that notion; they should embrace it. Even when Nash comes back.

Take Los Angeles' near-loss at th...

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