Kobe Bryant is in London right now representing the USA in the Olympics but it hasn’t kept him from thinking about the NBA and what his Los Angeles Lakers can get better at next year.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Kobe and head coach Mike Brown have discussed in detail the possibility of the Lakers switching their offense to the Princeton style next season.
“It’s a great offense,” Kobe told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s exactly what we need. It takes us back to being able to play by making reads and reacting to defenses. It takes a great deal of communication, but that’s where we’re at our best: Reading and reacting as opposed to just coming down and calling sets. Calling sets make you vulnerable.”
The Lakers will look different next season with or without Dwight Howard. They traded for Steve Nash shortly after the season ended which will throw an entirely new variable into the Lakers and Kobe.
Kobe has never played with a point guard quite like Nash before, one who is so talented and has dominated the ball so much in his career. Both Kobe and Nash will be due to adjust now playing together and this new offense may play a big part in that.
The Princeton offense, which is considered a close relative to the Triangle offense Phil Jackson ran with the Lakers, will allow for more versatility from more players. Someone like Pau Gasol will be a perfect fit in it as he is such a great passer for a big man and skilled in so many ways.
As Kobe continues to age, now 33, he will continue to look for more ways to gain an edge on the competition. The great players always do this. They don’t just keep deteriorating as time goes on, they keep fighting during their athletic decline and often will rise back up in forms we haven’t seen before.
Kobe embracing an offense that won’t feature him as much as an isolation monster is an example of this. It’s really just what the Lakers need from him too.
The Lakers were bounced in the second round of the playoffs this past season in five games by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder and Miami Heat met in the NBA Finals in what was a glimpse into what the future of the NBA will look like. The Lakers realize they need to change some to keep up with these young guns.
The Lakers have vaulted probably to the second-best team in the Western Conference for this coming season. The Thunder are still considered the class of the conference but adding Nash has moved L.A. ahead of the Spurs, probably unfairly.
There is still a great chance L.A. will trade for Dwight Howard before the season begins too which will make them that much more potent of a title contender.
The Thunder got over what some would consider a big hump beating the Lakers, the team that has dominated the Western Conference for so long, in a series a few months back. The Lakers aren’t rolling over and dying though.
The Thunder will be considered the favorites in the West this coming season but there will be a lot of work to do to repeat and make it to the NBA Finals again.