Los Angeles Lakers: Is Kobe Bryant Still Good Enough to Be the Team Leader?

Kobe Bryant had a bit of a down year by his standards for the Los Angeles Lakers. At 33 years old with more than 50,000 minutes played, it's not surprising. After being bounced by the Oklahoma City Thunder in this year's NBA playoffs, the question that lingers is whether Bryant is still good enough to be the leader of his team.


The good

Bryant still plays at an elite level and deserves the accolades he receives. He earned first-team All-NBA and second-team All-Defensive awards this year to go along with his All-Star Game appearance. He finished fourth in MVP voting and lost out on the scoring title by a 10th of a point.

In a year where rest was at a premium, Bryant was a warrior as he played 38.5 minutes per game. Those weren't ordinary minutes, either. He took it upon himself to provide the offense for his team and he took more shots per game than any year since 2005-06.

In a league with a bright spotlight in a city that's as glamorous as they get, Bryant handles himself well. Sure, he may get short with the media from time to time, but it's generally understandable as he's a competitor who busts his butt every night and doesn't want to answer questions that may insinuate otherwise.


The bad

We can only guess what happens behind closed doors, but publicly Bryant hasn't been vocal enough in situations where it would have done a lot of good. For example, during the playoffs Andrew Bynum was seen sulking outside of the team huddle and seemed disinterested throughout. A leader would have gotten in his ear right then and there.

Another situation was when Metta World Peace got suspended for his elbow to James Harden. Bryant was very politically correct and downplayed the incident. While that is very media-savvy and safe, it wasn't really helpful. He could have said what we were all thinking: "Metta put his personal agenda first and really put our te...

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