Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant Fans Are in Denial over MVP Status

It's one thing to actually be a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers—the team. Those falling in this category see a club that remains competitive but in disarray, an organization struggling to reconcile its iconic championship identity with a new era ostensibly led by center Andrew Bynum.

Kobe Bryant fans are a different breed altogether. 

The first distinguishing characteristic is an egregious disregard for efficiency. In a city where it's acceptable to be 15 minutes late to just about anything, maybe we shouldn't be surprised. 

Nevertheless, Bryant is inefficient even by Los Angeles standards. A career 45 percent shooter, Kobe is shooting at an even 43 percent after spending most of the season closer to 42. In his best seasons, Bryant averaged closer to 46 or even 47 percent.

Beyond the arc, he's making just 30 of every 100 attempts.

Excuses abound, to be sure: "He has to take so many shots because his team is so bad," or "Half of his shots are terrible shots, because he's forced to bail his team out of lost-cause possessions."

There's a tiny bit of truth to these claims, but as nostalgic delusion is oft to do, these nuggets of truth are exaggerated into grand narratives designed to rationalize the end of an epic dynasty.

In his 3-21 performance against the New Orleans Hornets, Bryant was 0-7 in the first half—four of those shots were three-pointers. This is symptomatic of a past-prime player doing what so many is his situation tend to do: settle for the outside shot.

Of course, those viewing events through purple-and-gold tinted glasses may be quick to remind us that Kobe ended up hitting a game winner. Congratulations must be in order... right?

When you have three All-Star caliber players on your team and arguably the best low-post duo in the NBA, there shouldn't even be a game-winning shot against the lowly New Orleans Hornets. Every first-half poss...

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