And Kobe let some of this frustration spill out during a recent scrimmage with his teammates. During a curse-filled rant that was full of trash talking, Bryant repeatedly yelled that the Lakers were “soft like Charmin.” (see below)
He also yelled at GM Mike Kupchak, claiming that “These (expletives) aren’t doing (expletive) for me.” Kobe got on the team’s now-backup point guard Jeremy Lin, challenging him to shoot while adding, “I talked his (expletive) right into that bull—-. I talked his (expletive) right into that bull—-.”
The rants and trash talking weren’t all deemed negative since Bryant was apparently trying to “challenge” his teammates. This is especially true of Nick Young, who seemed to raise his intensity during the scrimmage to compete with Kobe.
“It’s great, especially to see him out there practicing with us…still being a part of the team and trying to get us going,” Young told Lakers Nation. “I think we need that, instead of him just sitting out. He’s gotta play every night but we still need him out on the practice court still helping us out.”
Young is alluding to the fact that Bryant doesn’t practice with the team very often due to his 18 seasons in the NBA. And Kobe explained why he sits out so many practices following the scrimmage:
“It’s balance right. You know at this stage of my career it’s tough to get out there. You know my body’s just not ready, I can’t do it. We have to try and pick our spots a little bit. Hopefully the guys can kind of carry the energy of this practice a little bit. As often as I can get out there and do what I did today I’m all for it. Man I had so much fun being out there. Just a level of excitement to be able to play and compete in practice. I’ve always enjoyed practices more than the games actually.”
The point that Bryant hits on regarding players being able to “carry the energy” to other practices is one that head coach Byron Scott also discussed. “He just brings a different level – it’s not saying that when he’s not there that our level isn’t high,” Scott said. “But when he’s there our level is totally higher. You know he just brings a different element that we don’t have anybody else who can bring that type of element.”
After a season marred by injury, Bryant has come back to play in all 22 of the Lakers’ contests so far this year. He’s averaging 25.5 PPG, which is second in the league behind James Harden (26.4 PPG). Kobe also leads the team in assists with 4.9 APG and averages 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
Unfortunately, he’s also taking 22.4 shots per game and hitting just 39% of these. Young, the team’s second-leading scorer with 14.6 PPG, is even worse from the field, shooting 38.5%. Overall the team is hitting 44.0% of their shots.
While the shooting may not be great for the Lakers, Kobe wants to make sure the intensity is there. And he’s willing to go off on rants to make it happen, as he recently showed. Will it result in more wins. Well if you’re into LA Lakers betting, keep in mind that they have a tough upcoming schedule, including @San Antonio (Dec 12), @Minnesota (Dec 14), @ Indiana (Dec 15) and vs. Oklahoma City (Dec 19).