Which Kobe Bryant Do the LA Lakers Need the Most?

The Los Angeles Lakers need Kobe Bryant’s talent, but one can only speculate with respect to which version they need.

The Lakers’ all-time leading scorer has seen many transformations to his game throughout his career in an effort to adapt to the scheme and personnel of his team. The iteration that most have become accustomed to is the scoring one.

Bryant has climbed up the league’s all-time scoring ladder because of his seemingly unstoppable ability to insert the ball in the basket. Given that Los Angeles struggled to efficiently put points on the board during Bryant’s absence, his return is a more-than-welcomed addition.

Indeed, while the 2-guard was rehabbing his ruptured Achilles and getting himself into shape to rejoin his teammates, the Purple and Gold had a bottom-third league offense.

Hence, the return of an elite scorer certainly benefits the Lakers, but not in the way that many think. Mike D’Antoni has desperately needed solid point guard play during the season and has not gotten it.

Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar have been sidelined for long stretches through the first quarter of 2013-14, and consequently, Steve Blake has been the team’s maestro. Blake has played well in the role, but he is nowhere near elite.

He is good at setting up his teammates and running the offense, but he simply does not have the necessary skills to break down defenders and create high-percentage looks, especially late in the shot clock.

Watch below what happens when that specific situation arises:

Also, Blake lacks the ability to create favorable settings for others simply by his presence. Great floor generals typically force teams to defend them with at least two players, which lead to easy scores. Blake is not that type of player.

His career-high shooting figure is 43.8 percent, and he accomplished this during the 2005-06 cam...

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